Monday, December 29, 2008
During the week covered by this review, we received 24 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, attitudes towards Christianity, anti-missionary activity, Christian Zionism, Christians in Israel, Christian and holy sites, Christian tourism, the Pope and the Vatican, and anti-Semitism.
Jerusalem Post, December 17, 2008
The Jerusalem Post (December 17) printed a letter from Howard Silverman of the UMJC in reponse to the paper's coverage of Jamie and Stacy Cowen's detention (see last week's Review): "Sir, - The Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations deplores the detention of Jamie and Stacy Cowen upon their arrival in Israel ('Messianic Jews detained at Ben-Gurion Airport,' December 15). As president of the UMJC, Cowen spearheaded humanitarian aid to Israel and participated in social causes for the betterment of the Jewish people. The UMJC continues to support these efforts and does not engage in any activity that is outside the bounds of Israeli law. In 2003, and most recently in the summer of 2008, the UMJC convened its annual conference in Israel, which the Jerusalem Post reported. We call upon the government of Israel to uphold the freedom of religion of all."
Attitudes toward Christianity
Kol Ha'Ir, December 19; Makor Rishon, December 21; Yediot Ahronot, December 22, 2008 Under the title "A Christmas legend," Kol Ha'Ir (December 19) ran a short column encouraging Israelis to partake in the Christmas festivities: "With all due respect to doughnuts, dreidels, and, of course, the wonderful lights of Hanukkah, we have to admit that Christmas represents no small attraction to Jews. Who amongst us did not grow up on dozens of series and American films in which the whole family decorates their Christmas tree with lights and colorful ornaments? Who was never jealous of the young kids, whose fathers or grandfathers crept into the living room through the chimney disguised as Santa Claus in a red-and-white suit and distributed longed-for presents wrapped in colorful, rustling paper? At midnight on December 24, the bells of churches all across the world will ring out, and festal and devout prayers will begin in Bethlehem and throughout Jerusalem. Even if you are a Jew who is settled in his religion, there's no reason for you not to join in and come to watch the devout masses which celebrate the birth of Yeshu." Interactive participation was recommended, in the form of a night tour conducted by the Reform-run Beit Shmuel on Christmas eve, which included a walk on the roofs of the city and through the alleys of the Christian Quarter in the Old City.The religious weekly Makor Rishon (December 21) also joined in the festive spirit, with the publication of an article entitled "Hannuchristmas." Noting, once again, the beloved films about Christmas, Nahum Mokiach summed up the atmosphere in "Jew York": "The two holidays, Hanukka and Christmas, mark the united and unifying gathering together of families. The Jews have ceremonies, the blessing over the lighting of the candles, and the eating of doughnuts and latkes (potato pancakes) together. The Christians have crowding together around the Christmas tree and the ceremony of opening the presents. This combination of the ceremonies of two parallel holidays shines a powerful ray of closeness and fellowship."Gili Sofer, reporting on Christmas eve in Nazareth, on the other hand, suggests that one could be forgiven for thinking oneself abroad on that night (Yediot Ahronot, December 22). At the same time, she also notes that "despite being a Christian holiday, Christmas is celebrated by Christians and Muslims alike" in Nazareth. Likewise, the Church of the Annunciation - the largest church in the Middle East - was "symbolically" built by an Israeli company (Solel Boneh), with the use of Muslim laborers and money from the Vatican.
Missionary and Anti-missionary Activity
Ha'Ir-Tel Aviv, December 19; HaModia, December 21; BeKehila, December 18; Yom L'Yom, December 18; HaShavua BiYerushalayim, December 18; Mishpacha, December 18, 2008
A brief notice in Ha'Ir-Tel Aviv (December 19) reported the distribution of a comic book in the streets of Tel Aviv last week depicting the apocalypse. The tract opens with the hero surviving a car accident, an event which is explained in terms of salvation through Yeshua since in him "God's wrath won't come upon us." "Thus, one after the other, all the central tenets of the Christian faith are presented ('Yeshua comes from heaven and sheds his blood in order to cleanse us from our sins'), accompanied by quotations from the sources." According to the article - entitled "Batman returns: Yeshua also returns (in up-to-date comics) and wipes the smile off the faces of all the jokers" - "the double-sided tract, which was disseminated on Tuesday (Dec. 16) on Rothschild Ave., in fact charges the 'Edomites' ('the nation of Christians') with responsibility for the financial crisis and the approaching apocalypse."The remainder of the articles all related to Yad L'Achim's "Million-name petition," an initiative recently inaugurated by the anti-missionary organization designed to effect changes in the current "missionary law." The petition "calls on the religious parties [in the Knesset] to exploit the momentum which has been created on the eve of the Knesset elections and include in the platform of each party a clear and unambiguous clause according to which the parties will act to insist that the missionary law be amended so as to halt all missionary preaching of whatever sort by any member of any religion towards any member of any other religion. The law will put a stop to missionary activity, which ironically and outrageously is presently permitted by Israeli law unless directed towards minors or in exchange for material benefits." The petition further calls on the relevant parties to make the adoption of this clause an unconditional prerequisite for their participation in any future coalition.
Yediot Netanya, December 19, 2008
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) has donated 250 shekels each to 1,750 elderly people in Netanya, for the purpose of helping them heat their homes this winter.
Christian and Holy Sites
Ma'ariv, December 19; Haaretz, December 18 (x 2), 22; Yediot Ahronot, December 21, 22, 2008
Ma'ariv (December 19) recommended a visit to the church which, according to Christian tradition, commemorates the house of Anna and Jehoiakin, "Yeshua's (Yeshu's) grandmother and grandfather." "Here, it transpires, Miriam, Yeshu's mother, was born to barren parents." The Byzantine church, which is almost completely preserved, is located close to Tzippori (Sepphoris) in central Galilee. "The courtyard and beautiful church are one of the points of the walking tour in the footsteps of the life of Yeshu, the project known as the 'Jesus trail' - a walking tour of around 60 km and 3-5 days' walk beginning in Nazareth and ending at the Mount of Beatitudes."In a column dedicated to "sites," Yediot Ahronot focused on "Christian Nazareth" this week (December 21, 22). The first column indicated that around 60,000 pilgrims are expected to visit the city in the week between Christmas and the civil New Year. It pictured Sister Sylvia of the Rosary Monastery, which will provide accommodation for several of the pilgrims. Sister Sylvia was born in Nazareth, served most of her "working" life dedicated to "the Christian savior" in monasteries in Jerusalem, and only returned to Nazareth six years ago. The second featured "Kiriakos, the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox community in the North, the second most important church figure following that of the Patriarch, who resides in Jerusalem." "'When I need to be, I'm a cook, when I need to be I'm the archbishop,' says Kiriakos as he fried fish in the Greek style."In a review of how the danger levels of the Sea of Galilee are determined, Eli Ashkenazi looked into the history of the discussion and noted that when the electicity company first began utilizing the lake, it encountered opposition from the "monks from the Italian and German monasteries" who protested against the "intervention in nature" as a "'desecration of the waters of the Sea of Galilee sacred to all the Christians in the world'" (Haaretz, December 22).According to a report in the same paper (Haaretz December 18, Hebrew and English editions), the Israeli government is "mulling [a] proposal to repair Muslim holy sites for [the] first time since [the] establishment of [the] state." "After the 1948 war the Israeli government took possession of much of the property left belonging to the Arab population, which either fled or was expelled from their homes during the war and in its immediate aftermath. Unlike Muslim sites, sites holy to Christianity remained in the hands of the churches after the 1948 war and were not seized by the state due to international pressure." Now, mosques as well as synagogues and churches may be renovated by the government across the country.
Haaretz, December 17, 18; Jerusalem Post, December 16, 2008
In one of the worst traffic accidents in Israeli history, 24 Russian tour operators were killed and another 25 injured almost immediately following their arrival in Eilat (Haaretz, December 18). Among those in hospital was Vladislaw Gomglev. In stable condition, he remarked to reporters that he still hadn't seen the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and would therefore need to return to Israel again to do so.Tourism is on the increase, both for pilgrims and holidaymakers, according to a report in Haaretz (December 17). The Italian government has approved regular Eurofly flights between Milan and Israel. El Al is also renewing its regular flights to and from St. Petersburg, while Arkia will begin flights to and from Azerbaijan, Kiev, and Bakku, and Sun Dor will bring Portuguese pilgrims from Lisbon. "Arkia and Sun Dor are building on religious tourism - Jews who will fly to Kiev and Christians who will arrive from Portugal."Bethlehem is also benefiting from the increase in the tourist trade. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post (December 16), "After eight bleak years, Jesus' birthplace finally has a Christmas season to cheer about . . . With calm gradually returning to the West Bank, Bethlehem has again become a magnet for Christian pilgrims . . . Palestinian officials say 1.3 million tourists have visited the West Bank this year, nearly double last year's level. The total for 2008 could rise to 1.6 million. The tourism boom has created 12,000 new jobs, said Palestinian information Minister Riad Malki . . . Officials say 40 percent of the city's 32,000 residents are Christian, down from 90 percent in the 1950s. The rest are Muslims. Christmas decorations are being put up, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a major player in the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Manger Square . . . Bethlehem is being turned into a showcase for Palestinian security forces, who have been gradually expanding areas under their control. Some 1,500 Palestinian police officers will be deployed in Bethlehem during the holiday . . . Israeli security officials say they are working with their Palestinian counterparts to ensure easy access to Bethlehem."
The Pope and the Vatican
Yediot Ahronot, December 18; Jerusalem Post, December 18, 2008
In light of the upcoming papal visit in May, Bethlehem's mayor, Victor Batarseh, has announced that he has been informed by Vatican officials that Benedict XVI "will visit his town in May" (Jerusalem Post, December 18). According to a second report in Yediot Ahronot (December 18), the pontiff will also visit the Western Wall and the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. Following an initial meeting with President Shimon Peres, the pope will meet with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders at Notre Dame. The following day, he will meet with the chief rabbis and then go to the Temple Mount. In Bethlehem, he will visit the Church of the Nativity and hold a mass "in a nearby square. He is also due to visit Yad Vashem and to take part in a ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance."
Makor Rishon, December 19, 2008
An article in Makor Rishon (December 19) examining anti-Semitism in Norway was written by Manfred Gerstenfeld, author of a recently-published book on Scandinavia, Israel, and the Jews. Gerstenfeld opened with some of the "jokes" told by "comedian" Otto Jepersen, which were backed by the director of the TV channel on which they were aired: "I would also like to take the opportunity to remember all the billions of fleas and lice that lost their lives in German gas chambers, without having done anything wrong other than settling on persons of Jewish background." Jepersen also ended one of his performances by extending Christmas wishes to the Jews - and then apologized for his rudeness, having "forgotten" that the Jews had killed Jesus. Gerstenfeld attributed such phenomena to the rise in institutionalized Norwegian anti-Semitism, "hidden behind a front of criticism of Israel due to its policies in Judea and Samaria."
HaZofeh, December 19, 2008
Baruch Kahane reviewed Shahar Peled's book Formulators/Shredders of Identities (Pardes; Hebrew) in HaZofeh (December 19). Peled argues that the whole discipline of "Jewish Studies" was "created as part of the Christian Protestant fight against Judaism." These "scientists" (in Hebrew, the discipline is known as "Jewish Sciences") "have their own way of destroying - shredding, in Peled's words - Judaism as a force capable of withstanding Christianity and presenting itself as an alternative to it. Their method is to turn Judaism into an 'object of research' and to examine each claim that it makes as though it were a scientific object like any other, such as a rare germ or sub-atomic particle. From the moment that this 'objective' method was introduced we cease relating to Judaism as a partner for dialogue, and in effect cease relating to it altogether . . . We have here an outward appearance of heeding and paying attention, even of deep study, but without any relation to the truth being expressed - not even in order to contradict what is being said. Judaism is simply not related to as having any significance." Moreover, Peled insists that this process forms "a decisive chapter in Christian efforts to usurp Jewish history for itself. From its inception, as is well known, Christianity saw itself as the 'True Israel' - the 'Israel of the spirit.' Protestantism gave birth to a new version of this attempt. Its thinkers aspired to uncover the primary sources of the Christian idea in order to overcome the distortions produced during the long period in which Christianity had been dominated by the Catholic pope. In their opinion, the distortions of Judaism would also be 'uncovered.'" The "science of Judaism" created in the wake of the emergence of Protestantism provided Jews with the possibility of identifying with their Christian colleagues without abandoning their own identity - at least on a "scientific" level. This came at the expense, however, of losing the "soul" of Judaism: "Why should anyone be interested in studying the Bible if all it is is ancient literature and a collection of superstitions which may, perhaps, have impressed the people of antiquity?" Peled's conclusion is that the only people who now truly understand Judaism form part of the religious community.
Copyright 2008, Caspari Media Review.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Mishpaha, September 11, 18; Yediot
Yerushalayim, September 19; HaMahaneh HeHaredi, September 18; BeKehila,
September 18; Yom L'Yom, August 28, 2008 Mishpaha (September 11) ran last week's story of the "missionary" whose conversion attempts Yad L'Achim is endeavoring to foil (see last week's Review).
According to a report published in BeKehila (September 18), Yediot Yerushalayim, (September 19), Mishpaha (September 18), and HaMahaneh HeHaredi (September 18), two "missionary" families, in Bat Yam and Jerusalem, have sent their children to religious kindergartens this year. Neria Arbov is a "well known missionary figure who stars in Yad L'Achim's publicity," whose decision to send his son to a religious kindergarten is being seen as an "embarrassing provocation" by other parents, while Seth ben Haim and John Theodor are a "couple of Gentile missionaries who serve as the heads of missionary congregations in Jerusalem; one of them is married to a Christian woman and the other to a Jewish apostate . . . Seth ben Haim wears misleading religious garb, including a yarmulke and fringes, and was even recently thrown out of the synagogue in which he was ostensibly a member. According to BeKehila, "the parents object, justly, that the missionary children influence their children and that they themselves are forced to deal with the questions the latter ask about 'that man' and so forth." Despite their protests to the Jerusalem municipality, however, the latter "isn't hastening to respond to their request." Shalom Dov Lipshitz, Yad L'Achim's director, said in regard to the incident: "'Here is further proof that the missionaries do not balk at using any means, including the exploitation of small children, in order to integrate themselves into the religious public and thus gain legitimacy as religious Jews, thereby continuing to deceive innocent Jews and persuade them to convert.'" According to Yediot Yerushalayim, a local, non-religious paper, "the Messianic Jewish stream accepts Yeshu as 'the son of God' and considers the New Testament and the Bible as Scripture. According to the parents in the kindergarten, they have nothing against the members of this stream but they refuse to expose their children to a Christian program. 'These are very nice people, and I've got no problem with them,' said the parent of a girl in the kindergarten." This report also quoted a response from the Ministry of Education, whose guidelines state that non-Jewish children cannot be registered at state-religious schools, to the effect that, in all other respects, "'The registration of pupils at educational facilities in Jerusalem complies with the guidelines of the Ministry of Education, and the Messianic students fulfill all the conditions.'"
Ma'ariv, September 26, 2008In a piece entitled "Bible Now," Dubi Zakkai looked at Moshav Yad HaShmonah, run by Messianic believers. "They were eight, eight Jews who crossed the border into Finland. The time: the Second World War, and the Germans had already established their concentration camps. These eight miserable Jews were delivered up to the Nazis' live claws by the Finnish government. Many Finnish citizens were appalled by the act. In the 1970s, a group of golden-haired Finns arrived in our country in order to atone for this handing over, to settle in the land, and to help build the young state of Israel. And thus, after the bureaucratic problems so characteristic of our country, they received a small plot of land on the edge of the Judaean hills on which to build a small village, a testimony to the eight Jews who were sent to the concentration camps, Yad HaShmonah." Starting off with stone houses, a cargo of Finnish wood subsequently arrived to house the children born to the original group, and on the basis of which its residents established a furniture factory and then a guest house. "Over the years, a group of Jews who believe in the Tanakh and the New Testament joined the foreign pioneers." In 2000, the moshav established a "biblical garden" which also includes an ancient synagogue transferred from the Golan with the aid of the Israel Antiquities Authority and several ancient wine and olive presses. "Around these the industrious Finns have planted biblical plants."Anti-missionary Activity
HaModia, September 23; HaTzofeh, September 26, 2008 These two papers carried last week's report about Messianic children being sent to religious kindergartens (see previous Review). HaTzofeh (September 26) provided additional information concerning Seth ben Haim, John Theodor, and Neria Arbov: ". . . the ben Haim family, the father, Seth, a Jewish apostate [mumar] married to a Christian, heads a missionary organization called 'Nashuva' [Let us return/repent], while in the Theodor family, the mother is a Jewish apostate and the father a Christian. Evidence exists from the residents of the neighborhood that the families hold missionary activities in their homes every Friday night [erev Shabbat]. . . . 'Arbov is the head of a congregation which meets in his house on Friday and Saturday evenings. This is to all intents and purposes a Messianic congregation, despite Arbov's misleading external appearance. Outwardly, he looks like an Orthodox Jew: he wears a yarmulke and fringes, but photographic evidence exists that he is engaged in missionary activities.'" The article promised that the paper would publish an investigation into the activities of the mission next week.
Haaretz, September 23, 24, 2008In a piece dedicated to the state of poverty - or, in the more politically correct terms used, "families suffering from a lack of financial security" - in Israel, Avirama Golan looked at the ways in which people are giving aid to those in need as the holidays approach, suggesting that some of the charities involved are partially funded by evangelical Christians.A surprise examination of the bomb shelters in three northern cities hit by rockets in the Second Lebanese War revealed that many are still not fit for use (Haaretz, September 23). Eli Ashkenazi lamented this fact not only in light of the danger but also from the perspective of the Christian donors who had contributed huge amounts of money for the renovation of these very shelters: "'The contributors from the IFCJ, mostly Christian supporters of Israel, who give up what they could have in order to help the residents of Israel, invested 40 million shekels . . . to give the residents of the north basic protection
Christians in Israel
Haaretz, September 26, 2008 According to a report in Haaretz (September 26), "the same spirit of mission which originally brought them to the country" also inspired a group of Templars to construct a wine press now preserved in south Tel Aviv. "They dreamt of establishing here a community which would adopt for itself a simple way of life and the sincere faith of early Christianity, as well as hastening Yeshu's return." The press was filled with grapes from the same settlement and other Templar settlements across the country, and the wine "exported" to Germany. With the Templars' expulsion during WWII, the site was taken over by the British - and when they left, it became the location of the Hagana's airplane construction. Now, the site has been taken over by Nike: "The sports clothing firm has restored to the site something of the Templars' religious-mystic spirit in putting on an exhibition whose theme is the 'icon' . . . The final room was dedicated to the central element in the transformation of a person . . . into an icon: In it stood a poster on which was written: 'If it weren't for the first flocks of believers who followed after him, Yeshu would have remained the son of an anonymous carpenter.' Next to this stood a large round mirror on which was inscribed 'YOU.'"
HaTzofeh, October 3; Yated Ne'eman, September 29, 2008 In the wake of the "scandal" of Messianic believers sending their children to religious kindergartens, HaTzofeh (October 3) carried an article on the subject as promised in the paper last week. Using false names for the parents interviewed, the latter uniformly expressed their surprise at discovering that people whom they had assumed to be "normal" - and Jewish -were in fact "Christians." When "Orit," for example, had Seth ben Haim's daughter over to visit with her daughter, who goes to the same kindergarten, she was astonished to find that when they sat down to eat, the visitor "asked all those sitting at the table to hold hands and to thank and to pray to Yeshu for the food he had given them. Orit didn't know what had hit her. She explained to the guest that they didn't behave that way in her house but gave thanks to God. The visitor wasn't fazed, however. She replied that if that was so, she wouldn't be able to eat with them. 'Afterwards,' says Orit, 'she changed her mind and asked to pray on her own.' In front of Orit and her daughter's amazed eyes, she thanked Yeshu for the food and only then began to eat. 'Until that moment, it hadn't crossed my mind that the family was Christian,' says Orit. 'Our daughters go the same kindergarten in the neighborhood and from our perspective, the parents, all the children come from the same background, more or less. This family also appeared to be religious Jews in every way. They're a nice family who up until then had made a positive impression. I even remember that I met them once at the mall and the son was wearing a yarmulke and fringes. There wasn't any way to tell that they were a missionary family.'" According to the piece, the parents should have known from the kindergarten that there was a problem, since Seth's daughter would consistently correct her teachers when they said that the children should give thanks to God, saying that they should instead give thanks to "Yeshu." Surprisingly, although the teachers knew, they apparently failed to inform the parents.The parents' objections stemmed primarily from their overwhelming - and intractable - conviction that Messianic families who send their children to religious kindergartens and schools have only one reason for doing so: to "win souls." From their perspective, using young children to achieve this aim is despicable behavior. From a legal point of view, they were able to turn to the Ministry of Education in order to have the children removed due to a law on the statute books which prohibits non-Jews attending religious schools. (In the case of the ben Haims and Arbovs, since neither mothers are Jewish, the children are also not Jewish according to halakhah.) They are also disturbed by the fact that young children do not have the intellectual tools to deal with religious issues. Thus, for example, Einat's son came home from kindergarten and asked why they didn't believe in Yeshu: "'He told me that N. had said that Yeshu lives in everyone's heart and we must give thanks to him. A four-year-old, when you come to him with such things, can't accept religious answers with intellectual tools. He didn't stop with his questions, and eventually we explained it to him in terms he managed to understand - that when N. came back with her messages again in kindergarten, my son told her that Yeshu was an ordinary Jew who went mad and in any case he died many years ago. His answer to N. was in line with the answer he got at home. For a child who comes from a completely different religion it was difficult to deal with what our son told her and she burst out in tears . . . I don't need my four-year-old son asking me why we aren't Christians or coming and telling me that his friend in kindergarten tells him that Yeshu was a righteous man and that he also wants to be like Yeshu.'" Einat was also concerned for Seth's own daughter: "'. . . to put your child into a kindergarten whose purpose is entirely different from your faith at home, is a sort of emotional abuse.'" It was difficult to understand precisely what "exposed" the Messianic families as "Christian" in the eyes of those who felt that they had been deceived: "'They integrate themselves into the community in which they live and they hunt people . . . But we see and hear them. On one Friday evening recently we heard the sound of Christian singing from one of their homes. We could clearly see that there were dozens of people there. They held hands and sang.'" As long as it was known that Seth ben Haim was a pastor at King of Kings Assembly - and thus openly a "Christian" - people didn't mind. When he established his own ministry, however, it "'gradually became a clandestine group.'" Some of the motives attributed to Messianic Jews are also very reminiscent of Christian Zionist axioms: "'You have to remember that the motivation which lies behind this missionary activity is ideology. The missionaries see the conversion of as many people as possible as their purpose in life. Their faith decrees that the more Jews who convert to Christianity the quicker the time of Yeshu of Nazareth's revelation as the messiah will come.'"The remainder of the article was devoted to Yehuda Deri's response to the "missionary phenomenon," in which he detailed the various activities he is engaged in fighting against in Beersheva.In the wake of the attempt on Prof. Zev Sternhell's life in a fashion similar to that of the attack that injured Amiel Ortiz - a bomb planted outside his door - the public has urged a proper investigation. Since Sternhell's comments were anti-right-wing, it has been mooted that those responsible were settlers. In an article investigating the matter (Yated Ne'eman, September 29), the author suggested that the explosive device which detonated at a police post in Ali in 2006, a similar one near the monastery in Beit Jamal in 2007, the explosion of a small device in the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem a month later, and that which severely injured Ortiz, were all the work of the same group responsible for the attack against Sternhell.
Makor Rishon, October 3, 2008 In an interview with Prof. Avraham Grossman, author of a book on Rashi, the latter's relations to Christianity were briefly covered. "His third task, which became more central over the years, was the polemic with Christianity. At the end of the eleventh century, the church was growing in strength (following the 'Walk to Canossa'). Popular monks, a growing phenomenon, passed through the villages and the Christianity of the surroundings became more significant and more missionary. In his commentaries on Proverbs and Daniel, for example (in the manuscripts rather than the censored printed editions), a fierce polemic exists with Christianity. Rashi was one of the great disputers against Christianity. He saw many apostates in his life, many persecutions, and a lot of destructive anti-Jewish propaganda."
Jerusalem Post, October 6, 2008 According to the Jerusalem Post (October 6), "A wave of irate protest silenced a Jews for Jesus radio campaign last week on a local radio station in the North. It took just a few hours for Kol Rega, which broadcasts to the Galilee and northern valleys, to cave in to pressure from listeners who phoned in to demand that the Jews for Jesus campaign be taken off the air . . . The slogan of the radio campaign is 'Yeshu [a derogatory form of Jesus] equals Yeshua [accent on penultimate syllable] equals yeshua [accent on last syllable].'" The ad is intended to inform listeners that "Jesus is equivalent to redemption" and concludes with the question, "Confused? Call for more information." Contacted for his response, Dan Sered, "head of Jews for Jesus in Israel," said, "'All we are trying to do is share our faith. We just want to provide Israelis with an opportunity to know that Jesus died for our sins and rose on the third day. Most Israelis have never gotten the chance to hear about Jesus . . . Jews who believe Jesus is the messiah are a minority in Israel, but so are the Orthodox. Why should they be allowed to prevent secular Israelis from hearing Jesus's message of love and peace?'" The radio ad was part of a wider publicity campaign which included full-page ads in the daily national papers Ma'ariv and Israel HaYom, while JFJ members also distributed literature in Nahariyah, Kiryat Shmona, and the Haifa area. Response to the campaign took a more violent turn in Kiryat Shmona, where the air was removed from a car tire. According to the city's Chief Rabbi, Tzfania Drori, "'That is probably one of the mildest reactions imaginable in response to aggressive missionary activity pursued by these Jews for Yeshu. I believe we have a right to prevent these people from entering our town and promulgating New Testaments and missionary literature; it is tantamount to a woman performing a striptease in the middle of a public place.'" [Editor's note: the explanations in square brackets above are in the original text.]
Haaretz, October 7, 10 (Hebrew and English editions), 2008 The lives of monks and tourists alike, as well as the church itself and other nearby structures, are in being put in danger by a dispute between the Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox churches over responsibility for the Deir-al-Sultan monastery on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Haaretz, October 7). While Ethiopian clergy inhabit the site, the Copts claim ownership of the property. The Israeli Interior Ministry's offer to pay for the necessary renovations is going to waste because it is conditional upon an internal church resolution of the matter. In a letter to the Interior Ministry, Archbishop Matthias recently stated: "'This condition is completely unacceptable to us, since we do not recognize any right of the Coptic church in the area in question. It is inconceivable that the implementation of emergency repairs would be conditioned on the consent of the Coptic church. Indeed, there is disagreement between us and the Coptic church regarding the rights at the site in question, but that is precisely the reason we are turning to the Israeli authorities, as a neutral factor, to carry out the necessary repairs.'" In a second article, titled "Saving Christianity from Itself," the same paper (October 10) suggested, "Due to the risk to the lives of the monks and visitors and the danger to one of the world's holiest sites, the government must not neglect the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It must exercise its authority to maintain public safety and repair the building, taking great care not to intervene or take a stand in the fundamental dispute between the churches." The report indicated that at least two precedents exist for such intervention.
Attitudes to Jesus and Christianity
HaZofeh, October 10; Modi'in, October 16; Ma'ariv, October 17, 2008 Menahem Ben, an ardent advocate for the beauty of the New Testament, is not as well pleased with Jesus' name as it is pronounced in Hebrew. Writing in Ma'ariv (October 17) in relation to the recent JFJ publicity campaign (see previous Review), he stated: "In the run-up to the Feast [of Tabernacles], a large advertisement appeared in the press on behalf of 'Jews who believe in Yeshu,' who are careful to define themselves as 'Jews who believe in Yeshua' and are insulted when people use the term 'Yeshu.' But with all my love for Christians, Messianic Jews, and the New Testament (even though I don't in any way believe that Yeshu is the Messiah), their claim that the word 'Yeshu' is an acronym for 'May his name and memory be blotted out' is groundless. It may be true that some Orthodox Jew coined some insulting term with regard to the name 'Yeshu,' but this is still his rightful, natural, and lovely name - and not the ridiculous term 'Yeshua' (which sounds to every Israeli ear like 'the wild Yeshua' [Ye(ho)shua ha-paru'a - a popular children's book]). Why don't you understand this?"
Moshe Feiglin of the Likud, founder of the "This is our land" and civil disobedience movements in Israel, recently came out strongly against any Israeli/Jewish relations with evangelical Christians. According to a report by Mordechai Sugerman in HaZofeh (October 10), Feiglin is convinced that Christianity poses a greater threat to Israel (people and land) than does Islam. As a result, he advocates cutting off all relations with Christian Zionist supporters. In his eyes, contacts with the evangelical community "allow Christianity to enter [Israel] and to dominate the Israeli experience." In Sugerman's words, "Feiglin's demand to cut off all contacts with the American Christian community and not to accept any funds from it effectively constitutes an attempt to widen the collective Israeli borders to include the [social] norm which categorizes friendship with Christian bodies or the receipt of funds from them as a form of illegitimate social behavior, part of his endeavor to classify such contact as contradictory to the Israeli ethos. He fears that the 'Christian conquest/occupation' is much more dangerous than the Muslim, because it is indirect. He even takes pains to point out that the Christian intention is to send millions of people to Israel to become citizens and 'to convert everyone.' This Christian sector will 'consume the children of Israel and take control of its [the state's] mind.'"Sugerman took issue with Feiglin's opinion, commenting that Feiglin finds it easy to refute baseless accusations when he cannot adduce a single example of Christian funding which is conditional upon anything which might justify his fears. He likewise accused Feiglin of irresponsibility in ignoring the Iranian and Hizbollah threat, further appealing to the example of Herzl, Haim Weizman, Haim Arlozorov, and Abba Hillel Silver, all of whom made great efforts to "come close to Christian circles in the Western world, because they understood the importance of their influence on policy makers in the United States and Europe in everything relating to relations with the Jews and the creation of the State of Israel."In a column titled "10 things you didn't know about Sukkot [the Feast of Tabernacles]," the local paper Modi'in (October 16) included the fact that "it is also celebrated by a Christian minority which has decided to start observing the biblical festivals again. As proof [of the necessity of doing so], they claim that Yeshu also celebrated Sukkot (John 7:10) [sic; in fact that reference was given as 7, 10:26]. The date on which they celebrate the festival is close to its Hebrew date and is called [the] 'Feast of Tabernacles' in English [the name was written here in English]."
Yated Ne'eman, October 12, 2008 Orthodox ire has been raised by the participation of Christian Zionists in the annual Sukkot Jerusalem March, primarily due to the fact that the group was due to wave flags carrying the image of the "Lion of Judah." Despite its biblical origins, according to Mina Fenton this symbol carries "prominent Christian theological significance." "The fact that the Christians intend to wave the flag with the lion removes all doubt, if there were any, about the purposes, intentions, and practical plans of the 'International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem,' which is the umbrella organization under whose auspices all the missionary organizations and various Messianic congregations operate.
Jerusalem Post, October 17, pp. 4, 18 (x 2); Haaretz, October 15, 19 (Hebrew and English editions); Yediot Yerushalayim, October 17; Israel HaYom, October 15, 2008 According to a report in the Jerusalem Post (October 17, p. 4), "Using the Feast of Tabernacles event in the capital, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem announced on Thursday that a growing list of prominent Christian ministries has joined the effort to indict Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad for incitement to genocide against Israel." The initiative was inaugurated by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs two years ago, and the ICEJ now joins politicians, ambassadors, and Nobel Laureates whose support has already been garnered. In addition to submitting the initiative to the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee, "a global petition signed by more than 55,000 Christians from over 120 countries was delivered by the ICEJ to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon last month."The same paper also carried an interview with the ICEJ's current director on the same day (October 17, p. 18), in which Michael Hedding asserted that the Embassy should not be considered a "radical" Christian Zionist group: "'This is a more Eurocentric ministry, and we believe in biblical Zionism, which recognizes that there are a lot of things playing out in Israel over which we have no influence,' he says. Hedding trusts that God will ultimately fulfill his promise to bestow the Land of Israel on Abraham's descendants, but that the Land of Israel goes well beyond Judea and Samaria . . . 'So while there may be a more complete fulfillment of this promise in the future, we will leave that to God.'" In Hedding's view, while the Embassy once inclined towards the "political, eschatological" form of Christian Zionism, under his leadership it now advocates the position that "'Israel is not a theocracy, it is a democracy. We believe that the people of Israel, through their elected representatives, have the right to make their own decisions on this country's future, and we have said that we will support the State of Israel wherever it chooses, or chooses not, to extend its sovereignty' . . . the rigid demand by many evangelicals that Israel hold onto every inch of territory 'is highly dangerous,' he says, 'because then Jews become pawns in your religious agenda.'"More practically, Christian Zionists have helped "save" Israeli tourism in the north this year (Haaretz, October 19 [Hebrew and English editions]). While the number of Israeli visitors is down 30% from last year, the number of evangelicals has risen 20%, with over 7,000 visiting the region. Local tourist officials opine that the rise is largely due to identification with Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations, although the improved security situation has also contributed to the growth. The numbers this year have even exceeded the peak figures of 2000. The evangelical camp was similarly responsible for filling 20,000 hotel rooms in Jerusalem over Sukkot, an influx expected to "infuse some $18-20 million into the local economy" (Jerusalem Post, October 17, p. 18). According to Haaretz (October 15), the Christian Feast of Tabernacles includes "a visit and stay at Kibbutz Ein Gedi, the Jerusalem March, prayers and lectures on religious topics." A brief report in Israel HaYom (October 15; see also Yediot Yerushalayim, October 17) noted that the pilgrims have come from over one hundred different countries to demonstrate solidarity with Israel against Iran's intention to become a nuclear power.
Christians in Israel
Yediot Haifa, October 17, 2008 A new party in Haifa, named the "Haifa Coalition," is putting forward a list of candidates for the local municipal elections which includes both Jews and Christians. The former are primarily pensioners, the latter environmental and neighborhood activists. The party is a lobby of the "Justice for the Elderly" group and is putting emphasis upon "full cooperation with the Christian sector in the city, which includes 24,000 residents, 12,000 of whom are eligible to vote." Christian candidates are placed third and fifth on the list - truly viable places; the latter spot is filled by the son of Archbishop Elias Chacour. If the party wins seats, it will demand that it be given the post of Deputy Mayor, thereby enabling more funds and assistance to be devoted to the Christian sector of the city.
Jerusalem Post, October 15; Yediot Haifa, October 17; Haaretz, October 10; A La Gush, September 25, 2008 A group of students studying Judaism at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow recently visited Israel in order to learn about the country close up and to discover in greater depth the "common roots" of Judaism and Christianity (A La Gush, September 25). The trip was initiated and accompanied by the Academic Center in Israel. In a visit to the Experimental High School in Jerusalem, which regularly sends its students to Poland, the Polish visitors explained that many Poles are now studying Judaism because of its great influence on Polish history and culture, and endeavored to explain "in every possible way" that Jewish history in Poland should not be studied solely through the lens of the Holocaust; you have go back a thousand years prior to the war.Isi Leibler commended Haifa Chief Rabbi She'ar Yashuv Cohen in an opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post (October 15) this week, praising him for "diplomatically but forcefully" raising the "most sensitive issue on the Catholic-Jewish agenda" when he spoke before the synod of Bishops at the Vatican (see previous Reviews). "Many Jews being honored as he was by the Church would have taken the less hazardous path of avoiding controversy. But Cohen has a track record of courageously expressing his views and refusing to bury his head in the sand. Clearly, he has no interest in meddling in the internal affairs of the Church. But he does have a sense of history and feels that for the record, even if Catholics proceed on the path to beatification [of Pius XII], Jews are obliged to make their voices heard on such a burning issue. Cohen also maintained that if our reconciliation with the Catholic Church is truly meaningful, it should understand the depth of our feelings on such a matter and not take offense or permit such expressions to inhibit ongoing good relations." In Leibler's view, "The achievement of constructive goals in our interfaith activities is frequently undermined by internal handicaps. Many Jewish lay representatives active in the field are ignorant of their own religious heritage and thus incapable of presenting an authentic Jewish position. On the other hand, some rabbis are insufficiently experienced with the world to be able to effectively participate in interfaith encounters. Another problem is that many lay Jewish activists are tempted to regard access to Christian or Muslim groups as an end in itself. They fail to appreciate that sharing platforms and obtaining photo opportunities can be counterproductive if it imposes an obligation to remain silent on 'sensitive' issues so as not to 'destabilize the relationship.'" A report in Yediot Haifa (October 17) also covered the same event. According to Haaretz (October 10), "An editorial in the Vatican newspaper defended Pius two days after the first Jew to address a Church synod . . . told the gathering that Jews 'cannot forgive and forget' Pius's silence. The Osservatore Romano called him a 'man of peace' who tried to do his best during one of the most violent periods in history."
Yediot HaGalil, October 24, 2008 "Yeshu, or at least his disciples, are walking around the streets of the cities of the Valley areas," reported a piece in Yediot HaGalil (October 24). According to the article, a campaign is underway in Upper Nazareth in the framework of which books entitled "Son of David," which tell the story of "Yeshu, 'the Gospel According to Matthew'" are being distributed, to the chagrin of the residents. The pamphlets are being disseminated by "Congregation Jerusalem - Beit Geula, which defines itself on the website [printed on the pamphlet] as Jews and Gentiles 'united in faith in God in light of what is written in Scripture and the New Testament. We worship together the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and believe that the Messiah promised in the Tanakh is Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God.'" According to the article, the website contains "questions and answers of a missionary nature" as well as a "statement of faith": "Among other things, the God of truth is described as One 'in whose unity are combined three entities: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and the three entities are equal to one another in their power, and have defined roles which complement one another in everything connected to the working out of redemption.' Salvation, according to the members of the congregation, is a divine initiative 'which is made possible through the mediation of the house [sic] of God; salvation isn't given to us on the basis of our works and depends exclusively on our faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah. It isn't given to those who do not truly and sincerely repent.' Likewise, the declaration states that 'the congregation of Yeshua the Messiah is a body distinct from Israel and does not constitute a substitute for the people of Israel.'" [Editor's note: The quotes appear to be taken verbatim from Beit Geula's website - apart from the "house of God," which in the original says "Son of God." This may merely be a typographical error rather than a deliberate distortion of the text.]
Jerusalem Post, October 16; Ma'ariv, October 16; Yediot Yerushalayim, October 24; Makor Rishon, October 16, pp. 8, 24, 2008 Under the headline, "35,000 make pilgrimage to Jerusalem March," the Jerusalem Post (October 16) noted the part played in the event by Christian supporters of Israel. "Citing different verses of scripture shared by Jews and Christians alike, organizers pointed out that Succot is the time when the nations of the world are supposed to come to Jerusalem and celebrate with the Jewish people. In that vein, biblical prophecy came alive on Wednesday, as the flags of countries from Norway to Kenya were seen blowing in the wind above the marchers. While the prophecy is supposed to be fulfilled in the Messianic era when the various nations will bring sacrifices to a rebuilt Temple, many of the participants said they felt blessed to be in Jerusalem in any case, and to have the ability to take part in such a powerful showing of camaraderie." This year, however, the march was also presented as a "'solidarity march to show that we stand with Israel, through thick and thin, against the Iranian threat.'" Amongst the Christian participants were ostensibly also many who claimed to be part of the lost tribes. A sidebar titled "The Holy Land in your living room" further provided information on a website which allows people to see the festivities even if they are unable to actually visit the country. "IPrayTV, an Internet Christian broadcast services company, launched its new Web site www.IPrayTV.com last week, offering live simultaneous video streaming of Holy Land sites . . . viewers can see the sites simultaneously, bringing Israel live to their living room across the globe." According to Mike Peros, the site's founder and CEO, "'The constant availability of live footage of places so dear to us will be a valuable tool for pastors and ministries around the world, and for anyone seeking to strengthen their connection with the Holy Land.'"The March was also covered with a picture and short caption in Makor Rishon (October 16, p. 24), under the headline "Rejoice, Jerusalem."While in Jerusalem for a conference, the "Community of worldwide Christian leaders" took the opportunity to bestow an honorary award on Ron Nahman, Mayor of Ariel, for his leadership and activities in the city, Samaria, and the state as a whole (Makor Rishon, October 16, p. 8).According to a piece in Ma'ariv (October 16), some settlers in the West Bank are "falsely" promoting the view that that the political situation in the territories is in fact a religious struggle - with the "encouragement of Jewish and Christian groups from abroad."Yediot Yerushalayim (October 24) devoted a lengthy article to the work of the "Temple Institute," which is dedicated to preparing the instruments, garments, and methods which will allow the rebuilt Temple to function properly. In stark contrast to those Orthodox (and others) who refuse to accept money from Christians for charitable purposes, the Temple Institute welcomes contributions from Gentiles with open arms: "The Institute enables everyone who wishes to take part in the building [of the Temple], even those who aren't Jewish. Glick [its director], who is in contact with interested parties across the globe, is not at all perturbed that the building is largely being supported by Gentiles. He flips through the Tanakh and cites verses which prove, according to him, that this is the proper way [for it to happen]. The paradoxical situation is thus created whereby members of other religions are working together on the basis of a common interest without being in agreement on the implications of their respective beliefs. Evangelical Christians, who believe that the strengthening of Israel will lead to the renewed birth [sic] of Yeshu and to the conversion of the Jews, also visit the Institute in great numbers."
Christians in Israel
Yediot Ahronot, October 16, 2008 Christians in Haifa continue to benefit from cooperation and coexistence with their neighbors in the city. In the market in Wadi Nisnas, "people are going for tri-existence. Christians, Muslims, and Jews enjoy a joint successful commercial business together, and there's no greater fun than strolling through the booths in the market on Shabbat morning."
Megiddon, September 30, 2008 What was originally a Christian house of prayer, now enclosed within Megiddo Prison, is being restored under the joint auspices of the local Megiddo Council and the Commercial Company for the Development of Megiddo. When the site was first excavated in 2003, an inscription was uncovered which reads "Akaptos, lover of God who contributed the altar to the god Jesus Christos, as a memorial," leading archaeologists to claim it as the earliest Christian structure in the world. In its decision to encourage development of the site as a tourist attraction, a group of MKs responsible for the development of the Negev and the Galilee determined that the site constitutes "'a tourist attraction and a gateway for pilgrims to the Galilee.'
Copyright 2008, Caspari Center.
The Media Review is an English-language synopsis of articles which were originally published in the Israeli press. The articles, most of which were written in Hebrew, focus on Messianic Jews and Christianity. The Media Review reports what was said in the press irrespective of its accuracy, and the information does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Caspari Center. On occasion the editor includes explanatory matter in brackets, preceeded by the words [Editor’s note:].
Saturday, October 18, 2008
"You know it's nice that the little children especially say welcome, welcome. They see our badges, they know these are xians from abroad and we you see the children are aware of who we are and what we are doing here. I think it speaks well of the next generation that there will be a whole nother level of friendship between us and that's very positive."
Another participant said
"We are an inheritance through Israel. We came to say peace be upon you. That it's not too late. The lord, the lion will roar from his mountain."
Not to late for what? To accept their "messiah"?
The xians pass out flags and candy to the children along the parade route but apparently, as you can see at the 4.33 mark, these children aren't deserving. Could it be because these are obviously chareidi children which the xians don't want to waste their candy on? They know that children who have a strong religious education aren't easy targets for them. Think I am crazy? Well the children who were dressed in a non-religous manner got candy as you can see at the 3.53 mark. This wouldn't have occurred to me if I hadn't seen with my own eyes a woman, passing out candy, push away a little chareidi boy when he came up to her with his hands out.
Sunday, October 19th
Morning Plenary & SeminarsICCJ - 9am-1pm
Registration/Doors Open - 8:30am-1pm
Grand Finale With Israeli Guests ICCJ- 7:30pm
Registration/Doors Open - 6pm-8pm
Hallel ChofshiICCJ - 10pm-11pm
As stated before the Chief Rabbis of Israel ruled last year that no Jew should attend as there is evidence of missionary activity as this event.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The ICEJ hosts and "Israeli night" at Binyanei HaUma. This is the one night their "feast" is open to the public. Israeli leaders speak on this night as if to the make the whole thing kosher.
Every night they have an hour of what they term "Hallel Chofshi" which is free worship. One guess as to whom they are worshipping. The headline on their website saysJoin us in Jerusalem as we worship the Lion of Judah.
The Chief Rabbis issued a ruling last year for Jews not to participate in the parade or the Israeli night at Binyanei HaUma. Here is what the ICEJ had to say about last years "Feast"
Feast Pilgrims Ready for Jerusalem March
By David Parsons
Despite rabbinic ban, record crowd for ICEJ gathering gets warm welcome. A record attendance of over 7,000 Christian pilgrims from 90 nations will take part in the annual Jerusalem March on Tuesday as the Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, spills out into the streets of the Israeli capital to a warm welcome.
The Israeli public appears to be largely ignoring a rabbinic ban on Jewish participation in the march, as 30,000 Israelis are expected to join the Christian pilgrims in a colorful parade through central Jerusalem, with tens of thousands of on-lookers.The ICEJ's week-long celebration kicked off last Thursday evening and - already Israel's largest annual tourist event - has drawn its biggest crowd ever this year.
The Christian celebration of Succot has received a warm reception from Israeli leaders and the public at large, in seeming defiance of the Chief Rabbinate's recent ruling that Jews should steer clear of the gathering.
After opening at the Dead Sea oasis of Ein Gedi, the Feast has moved
up to the Jerusalem convention center, where Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert delivered a video greeting on Saturday evening, while Tourism Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and MK Benny Elon, an Orthodox rabbi and head of the Knesset Christian Allies' Caucus, were on hand to also welcome the pilgrims to Jerusalem.
This year's "Israeli Night" is Motzei Shabbat and I beg all Jews to avoid it like the plague.
There are quotes by Israeli leaders from last year listed on the website. This is the one that appalled me the most.
Member of Knesset Benny Elon
Chairman of the Knesset Christian Allies' Caucus
"We thank you for being ambassadors of Israel. God gave us the miracle of this Land… We must fight for revival of the Land, the language and the customs. Go tell the world the right story and why we are here and teach them the Bible. We are here because there is a covenant between the God of Israel and us and it is an everlasting covenant! We love you. We need you. You are with us. Stay with us. Thank you very much!"
Which "right story" and which "bible" would that be? The xian story and bible say that G-d came to earth as a man born to a virgin and died as messiah and that now there is no difference between Jew and gentile. We are one now.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
(IsraelNN.com) 6,000 Christians "friends of Israel" are staying at the Kibbutz Ein Gedi guesthouse and in outdoor tents. Kibbutz members are preparing a huge barbecue for the convention,
More than 8,000 Christians have boosted the occupancy rate of the capital's hotels to nearly 95 percent for the seven-day Sukkot (Tabernacles) holiday that begins Monday night. The holiday period continues with the Shemini Atzeret-Simchat Torah celebration the day after the conclusion of Sukkot.
The "celebrations" are organized by two xian groups; the ICEJ, International Xian Embassy Jerusalem and the ICZC International Xian Zionist Center in Binyamina.
From the ICZC website
WEDNESDAY: OCTOBER 15, 2008
13:30: Picnic in the Gan Sachar Park
Participation in the grand Jerusalem March
FRIDAY: OCTOBER 17, 2008
11:00: Buses leave from the Regency Hotel for registered delegates.
Visit the Haas Promenade then proceed to the top of Mount of Olives to walk down preparing the way for the King in a worshipful procession.
SUNDAY: OCTOBER 19, 2008
08:15: Buses leave from the Regency Hotel for registered delegates
Visiting the Biblical City of Shilo, the place where the Ark of Covenant stood for about 369 years and where Samuel the Prophet was called by God.
Returning to the altar Beit El (Bethel) where Jacob saw the ladder reaching up to heaven in his dream.
MONDAY: OCTOBER 20, 2008Have you ever wondered why xians celebrate Sukkot? Most of the time they will just quote Zecharia 14:16 when asked. Although no one seems to point out that this verse is talking about those of our enemies who came to war against Yerushalayim and are allowed to survive to pay homage to Hashem.
07:30: Buses leave from the Regency Hotel to Mount Moriah, the Western Wall Plaza and Ir David, the city of David.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16)
Here are a few excerpts from ICZC
Why we celebrate the Feast
We have now entered the 21st century. And what was on my heart when we began to celebrate the Feast 20 years ago remains - the belief and inner anticipation that one day, during a celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, the double portion of the Holy Spirit will fall upon us all. This will be the former and latter rain, as the prophet Joel promised - also in relation to Israel - for these latter days...
First the physical, then the spiritual. God first formed Adam as a wholly physical man before breathing His Breath and Spirit into him to make him spirit. In this same way, Israel has been restored to the land of its fathers as a physical nation, as foretold in these, and many other, passages of Scripture. It is only after the flesh, sinews and bones have come together in a physical restoration of the nation that God instructs 'the son of man' to call on the breath to come from the four winds and breathe upon the dead body, that the nation may live. (See Ezekiel 37:9)
Paul too tells us that in God's economy, the physical often precedes the spiritual:
"However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural and afterwards the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust, the second Man is the Lord from heaven." (1 Corinthians 15:46,47)
It is this truth which is so wonderfully clarified in Ezekiel 37 concerning Israel's physical and spiritual rebirth: First the physical restoration - including the restoration to, and of, their land. Then the spiritual awakening, when the Breath of God's Spirit will blow upon these bones.
...In these days we hear of revivals in different parts of the world where God is pouring out His Holy Spirit in remarkable ways to get His Gentile body of believers ready both in quantity as well as quality. But this is only a foretaste and a foreshadowing of the mighty outpouring of His Holy Spirit over all the house of Israel as promised by His prophets. And this will happen one day during the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem.
As George Warnock explains in his booklet on the Feast of Tabernacles, this Feast is meant to be:
A feast of joy;
A feast of unity;
A feast of harvest;
A feast of restoration;
but also the Feast of the Messiah's (yashke) appearance.
All these are ample reasons for us to celebrate this Feast with great expectancy in our hearts.
So we see that the Feast of Tabernacles is meant to signify the restoration of the tabernacle of David - physical as well as spiritual-the unity of Gentile believers, the fullness of the Gentiles and the people of Israel, and the promised blessing of the former and latter rains coming down on one day during the Feast of Tabernacles. It is singularly the Feast of Messiah's appearance; His first and his second!
Jan Willem van der Hoeven
Director, International Christian Zionist Center
To clarify since I don't expect most of you to understand their "code words", they come to Jerusalem to celebrate Sukkot because they believe that some magical spiritual "rain" is going to fall from heaven and all the Jews will "see the light" and accept yshke as god and they also believe he will "return" to reign as King over Jerusalem during Sukkot.
Feast of Tabernacles 2007
The ICZC contains Joel Bell's Frontline Israel. You should remember his name from a previous post about the new World Likud Evangelical Department. These are the xians that believe they have an inheritance in the land of Israel and they want Israeli citizenship.
Here is a clip of their 2007 Feast
The beginning is a picture slideshow of participants mostly immodest women covered in mud. You can begin at the 1:27 mark for one of the feast night extravaganzas.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem was founded and is led by Robert Stearns and Jack Hayford. Jack Hayford is in the video on the first post on this blog. He helped with funding for King of Kings Prayer Tower and Pavillion in Binyan Clal. Robert Stearns runs an organization called Eagles Wings. One of the programs of his organization is Watchmen on the Walls. These "watchmen" were com-missioned Sunday at the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem event on Haas Promenade. The following quotes are from their website
Watchmen on the Wall Commissioning
After completing of the Watchmen on the Wall curriculum and prayer pilgrimage to Israel, participants are commissioned as Watchmen on the Wall, with official recognition from the State of Israel,the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem leadership, and Eagles' Wings. If participants travel on the Feast of Tabernacles trip, they will have the opportunity to be commissioned in a special ceremony in the city of Jerusalem.
To become a commissioned Watchmen on the Wall, you must complete the following...
Read the Watchmen on the Wall Training Manual and complete the assignments at the end of each chapter
Listen to the Watchmen on the Wall Teaching CDs, Volumes 1 and 2 OR Attend a Watchmen on the Wall Seminar
Watch the Obsession DVD OR the Relentless DVD
Answer four short essay questions
Make pilgrimage to Israel
There is a high level of spiritual authority conferred upon a Watchmen when Christian and Jewish religious leaders, as well as Israeli governmental leaders, officially commission a believer to be a Watchmen for Israel, Jerusalem, and the Jewish people. They may not feel any different when they pray, and they may not sound any different, but to both heaven and hell, their prayers will have more prayers of authority and more corporate weight behind them for breakthrough on behalf of Zion.
The actual commissioning service takes place in a strategic location, such as the rooftop of a Yeshiva overlooking the Western Wall or the Pavilion Prayer Tower in the heart of Jerusalem. Present at the ceremony are the Mayor of Jerusalem (or a key person from his office), members of the Israeli Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus, key leaders from Eagles’ Wings and the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, as well as representatives from forerunner ministries in the land who support Judeo-Christian efforts. Participants will hear first-hand from these various leaders the ratitude of the people they represent as they are officially commissioned as Watchmen. In response – before G-d and man - they repeat the solemn oath of the Watchman, and walk forward to receive a special Watchman pin and signed certificate from these gatekeepers, commemorating their spiritual promotion.
After being commissioned, there are many opportunities for those individuals to continue to apply what they have learned. Through initiatives such as the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, Christians United for Israel, and Watchmen teacher certification, Watchmen are able to take what they have learned and seen first-hand and become articulate ambassadors in their communities on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people.
Presented in cooperation with...
Ministry of Tourism
From the Watchmen training manual:
Since November of 2005, we have been working with members of the Israeli Government to officially commission anyone who successfully completes the Watchmen Training Program as an officially recognized “Watchman on the Walls” of Jerusalem. Both parts of the training, however, will be required before such a commissioning can be given.
Why? Just as an educator needs the experiential knowledge provided by “Student Teaching” to fully implement all of the teaching methodology, Watchmen need the vital knowledge gained by being in that unique “classroom” called Israel, to fully intercede with understanding and insight.
Secondly, the armies of both Heaven and Hell take quite seriously such spiritual authority conferred upon a believer by Christian Leaders and a nation’s government, and so must we. One can most effectively pray for Israel if one has actually been there.
In closing,we bless you for choosing to obey the divine trumpet call to the Church in this hour, to be “co-laborers with God”for His purposes and plans to manifest in this strategic place and people.
Why are our political and religious leaders involved in such a thing?
Friday, October 3, 2008
The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem is the pinnacle of xian idolatry in the Holy Land. It is a yearly event held in Jerusalem on the first Sunday of October. It is broadcast over the internet, television, phone and teleconferencing to the whole world. Many Israeli political and religious leaders participate in this event. Keep in mind that the xians believe that the only one who can bring peace to Jerusalem is yeshu, so they are actually praying for the "second coming".
This what they have to say about the event
"This October 5th, we will be joining our prayers with brothers and sisters in Christ from every tongue, tribe, and nation, throughout the 24-hour prayer teleconference for the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem. Through the ministry of Greater Calling, we can join together around the world to pray with one heart and one mind for Jerusalem. This is an exhilarating and powerful experience that you don’t want to miss!"
"Supported by over a thousand Christian leaders and with over 200,000 churches participating from 175 nations, the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem is a time for the world to bow in prayer for God’s purposes to come to pass in His Holy City.
We are just days away from a powerful moment, when millions of Christians in every nation across the planet will join in faith and unity to pray together for the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem. This massive prayer initiative, one of the largest in Church history, has now been reported and referenced by major news outlets around the world. The Jerusalem Celebration of the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem will be carried live into 192 nations on GOD TV. Literally, in every corner of the planet, churches are preparing to stand in agreement with Psalm 122, and with one another in hope, and pray for God's presence and peace to flood the streets of Jerusalem, and minister peace to all of her inhabitants, Jew and Arab alike."
"Begun in 2002 in meetings with leading political and religious leaders from Israel and the United States, this is now the largest prayer movement of its kind, with over 1000 key leaders within the Evangelical Christian world lending their active support."
It is scheduled to begin at 4pm Sunday.
As the only Christian television network to broadcast from Jerusalem, and in accordance with Psalm 122, GOD TV is committed to praying for peace and reconciliation in this region.
This weekend, make sure you’re tuned in to take part in the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem - LIVE from Jerusalem with Jack Hayford & Robert Stearns. Supported by over a thousand Christian leaders and with over 200,000 churches Participating from 175 nations, this Day of Prayer is a time for the world to Intercede for God’s purposes to come to pass in His Holy City.
We believe there’s an incredible week coming, when God is going to do something in you and through you unlike anything you’ve experienced!
Starting Monday, October 13, we will launch our Missions Week broadcasts from Jerusalem and Washington DC, to run in conjunction with the Feast of Tabernacles... the unique Jewish festival which celebrates the Lord’s supernatural provision...
During these live broadcasts, we will launch one of the most SIGNIFICANT OUTREACHES in GOD TV’s history... so don’t miss your date with destiny!
We will also be presenting you with an opportunity to make your personal mark on the Holy Land of Israel. You see, for every $25/£15 you sow into this Missions Week outreach, GOD TV will plant a tree in Israel in your name!
Precious One, this is no ordinary day and no ordinary challenge. Your gift will ensure that GOD TV continues to proclaim the life-giving, faith-building, destiny-altering TRANSFORMATION POWER OF GOD’S LOVE to a world in desperate need! And as you give toward our Missions Week campaign, you will be DRESSING THE LAND -- PREPARING THE WAY FOR CHRIST’S RETURN!
Friday, September 19, 2008
During the week covered by this review, we received 20 articles on the subjects of anti-missionary activity, Christian Zionism, Christians in Israel, the Pope and the Vatican, and interfaith activities. Of these:
7 dealt with anti-missionary activity 5 dealt with Christian Zionism 2 dealt with Christian tourism 2 dealt with Christians in Israel 2 dealt with the Pope and the Vatican 2 dealt with interfaith activities
This week's Review was a mixed bag of articles relating to anti-missionary activity, Christian Zionism, and the Pope and Vatican.
HaShavua BiYerushalayim, September 11; Kol Ha'Ir - Bnei Brak, September 3; BeKehila, September 11; HaModia, September 9, 11 (pp. 3, 4), 12, 2008
HaModia (September 11, p. 4) printed a brief report of Jewish objections to the "Berlin Declaration on the Uniqueness of Christ and Jewish Evangelism Today" issued by the World Evangelical Alliance (see September 9, 2008 Review).
HaModia (September 9) and Kol Ha'Ir - Bnei Brak (September 3) repeated the piece run in Yom L'Yom (September 4) regarding the legal action taken by Yad L'Achim following the investigative report published in Yediot Ahronot concerning the Messianic community in Israel (see September 9, 2008 Review).
The same paper (HaModia, September 11, p. 3) noted the report in Ma'ariv (September 2) concerning Dula ben Yehuda's burial (see September 9, 2008 Review). The author objected to the fact that Dula had been chosen to carry one of the torches lit on Independence Day - "for the glory of the State of Israel." The historian who discovered the facts concerning Dula's burial stated that he took pains not to publish them widely in order to prevent further attacks on Eliezer ben Yehuda by the Orthodox. This religious paper correspondingly lamented the fact that both Herzl and ben Yehuda - neither of whose secular Zionist endeavors endeared them to the Orthodox community - had "sacrificed their children to Christianity" because of their work. This was also true, he claimed, of many other Zionist leaders, who also failed to leave any Jewish offspring.
BeKehila (September 11), HaShavua BiYerushalayim (September 11), and HaModia (September 12) all carried a report concerning the attempt of a "missionary" to convert. The man, a "learned doctor, lecturer in international law . . . whose appearance broadcast complete seriousness . . . dressed in religious garb, including hat and suit, who displayed great Torah knowledge and expressed a convincing desire to take upon himself the yoke of the Torah and commandments, and not one item about him gave away the fact that was not kosher" was discovered by Yad L'Achim to be an "out and out missionary." When his efforts to convert were consequently stymied in Geneva, the man attempted to immigrate to Israel, making a "false declaration" to the Rabbinate about his true intentions. Here, too, he was turned away. "In characteristic missionary stubbornness, the missionary doctor [then] decided to turn to Rome . . . as refuge." Here, too, however, "the long arm of Yad L'Achim reached," and his request to convert was rejected in Italy as well. In consequence of this case, Yad L'Achim's director, Shalom Dov Lipshitz, has apparently appealed to batei din (conversion courts) worldwide with a suggestion for a "detailed and specific declarative formula which all those seeking to convert would be asked to sign . . . clarifying that without any shadow of a doubt they have shaken off all traces of the Christian faith and everything connected to it - a declaration utterly forbidden to Christian adherents. 'Even if this does not entail any absolute guarantee that there won't be any cases of deception, it will form a wall against the missionaries who are seeking to use the fact that they have converted, and the Israeli citizenship they receive as a result, in order to get their missionary activity accepted,' said Lipshitz."
Haaretz, September 9, 12 (Hebrew and English editions); Ma'ariv, September 15 (pp. 17, 18), 2008
According to a report in Haaretz (September 12, Hebrew and English editions), a group of 450 "members of tribal peoples" are "currently visiting Israel for a conference at the Nof Ginosar hotel. They come from countries as varied as the United States, New Zealand, Finland, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Canada, and several African nations. Most of them belong to evangelical churches and have a high regard for Judaism. They are seeking to maintain their evangelical faith while also trying to preserve their native heritage and culture, which European colonizers largely destroyed." As part of their visit - and apparently also their heritage - the group "held a special purification ceremony at Ginosar, in which they placed hot rocks inside a special cleansing tent and then entered the tent to purify their bodies through perspiration."
The ICFJ was in the news once again this week, again controversially. According to a piece in Ma'ariv (September 15, p. 18), the fact that a youth film project is being funded by the ICFJ may explain why one of the films, about the trials and tribulations of a young boy growing up in Ramleh, was constructed "as a Christian ethical classic: if you suffer, redemption will come." A further report on the same day (September 15, p. 17) alleged that while the organization has been accused of seeking to deepen its ties with "Christian missionary activity in Israel," "proof" of such support has now been provided "for the first time." The tax report which the IFCJ recently delivered to the IRS indicates that the organization donated $10,000 to "a Christian missionary organization by the name of 'King of Kings,' located in Jerusalem, which works to draw Jews to it in order to reveal Yeshu's teaching [torah] to them." The second missionary organization which received funds from the IFCJ was the "controversial American Christian sect 'Yeshu's Congregation' [kehilat Yeshu]," located in New Orleans. This group has been accused in the past of mental/emotional abuse of its members. According to Yechiel Eckstein, the IFCJ director, the connection with King of Kings was made solely in order to channel funds to a church in Bethlehem which had requested assistance to buy food and other basic necessities in the run-up to Christmas.
Likewise, an article published in the same paper on September 9, which examines the way in which charitable organizations formulate principles according to which they accept or reject contributions, included the IFCJ as a possible example of a case in which "red lights are lit" regarding the potential of "massive conversion to Christianity on the Day of Judgment." Despite such misgivings, the organization has "become an influential and sizable factor" in its charitable scope.
Haaretz, September 9 (Hebrew and English editions), 2008
The three million tourists expected to visit Israel next year will have access to a new "Pilgrim's Route" leading from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. "Along the way, they will be able to visit the site where the New Testament story of the Good Samaritan took place, the Qumran caves, and the site where, according to the New Testament, John the Baptist baptized Jesus . . . The Good Samaritan site is just off the highway leading from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. During the Byzantine era, a church was built at that spot . . . Archaeologists recently reconstructed the entire mosaic floor of the church. The baptismal site [Qasr al-Yehud], located near Jericho, is considered the third most important site for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, and is especially popular at Christmas and Easter. The site also has significance in Jewish tradition. It is thought to be the place where the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan . . ."
Christians in Israel
Calcalist, September 15; Ma'ariv, September 12, 2008
An article in the Calcalist (September 15), a paper devoted to economics, examined the flight of Christians from the country - a phenomenon to which Pope Paul VI already drew attention during his visit in 1964. At the end of the Ottoman Empire, the Christian communities constituted 13% of the local residents. This percentage now lies at 1.5% of the Palestinian population in the territories (including East Jerusalem). The current Christian flight is due to the present plight of the community. While Muslims suffer some of the same difficulties, Christians appear to find it easier to migrate since "every family, without exception, has relatives abroad, and many also have passports belonging to foreign states. They speak foreign languages and work in sought-after professions." The major reason for their flight given by those leaving is the sense of a lack of freedom: "If in the past the Christians in the country and rest of the region were Arab nationalist pioneers, today, when nationalism is fading and being replaced by Muslim religious fanaticism, they feel unwanted." Unlike Muslim emigrants, many of whom return once they have made some money, most of the Christians who leave do not return. Nor do they retain close ties with those left behind.
Yehonatan Gefen visited the Scottish church and hospice in Tiberias this week, and reported on the place and his stay (Ma'ariv, September 12). The premises were established by Dr. David Watt Torrance, a "vigorous Scottish doctor full of Christian vision." Despite the "serial opposition" he experienced from the Orthodox residents of the city, the good doctor stood his ground and remained with his cholera patients in 1902 when all the Orthodox fled the pestilence; he lost two wives and four children to such plagues. His only "missionary" activity was to show slides of holy places, although "in order to justify his Christian mission he sometimes gave brief sermons in the mornings; even these he kept short because the lines of patients outside the door were long." Gefen ended his musings on the hospice with the note that, "Today, 2008 years after the birth of Yeshu our brother, the waters of the Sea of Galilee are so shallow that even I could walk on the water and be pronounced a holy man. I won't do so because the last thing this view needs is a new religion. What we need is more love, and lots, lots more water."
The Pope and the Vatican
Jerusalem Post, September 12, 14, 2008
During a meeting with representatives of French Jewry, Benedict XVI "slammed anti-Semitism as theologically unjustifiable and tantamount to being 'anti-Christian'" according to a report in the Jerusalem Post (September 14). Benedict was quoted as saying: "'The Church is opposed to every form of anti-Semitism, which can never be theologically justified . . . to be anti-Semitic also signifies being anti-Christian . . . I feel the duty to pay heartfelt recognition to those who have died unjustly, and to those that have dedicated themselves to assure [sic] that the names of these victims may always be remembered. God does not forget.'" The Pope also met with French cultural leaders and leaders of the French Muslim community. According to a report in the same paper (September 12), the visit "grew out of the pope's desire to visit the Lourdes shrine."
Makor Rishon, September 12; Israel HaYom, September 10, 2008
In an unusual interview with two representatives from the International Council of Christians and Jews - one Jewish, one Christian - Elitzur Segal also examined the history of Jewish-Christian dialogue (Makor Rishon, September 12). "Jewish-Christian relations are unique and cannot be compared to any other relationship between 'partner' religions - not even to Islam, the other religion which grew out of Judaism. Christianity acknowledges the Hebrew Bible and the Oral Law as it has been handed down. On top of this recognition, however, it has also claimed for hundreds of years that since the appearance of the gospel of their messiah, Christianity has become the true Judaism - the 'Israel in the Spirit' - whereas Judaism itself is nothing but a ghost from the past, the 'Israel of the flesh.' This has formed Christianity's strong impetus over generations to convince Jews of the truth of Christianity, because as long as Judaism exists, it is a thorn in the side of the Christian daughter, who seeks to inherit." The "dialogues" of the Medieval Ages were forced conversations which ceased when the Jews no longer had to participate in them - i.e., when the State was established and Israel/Judaism became an independent, sovereign entity. The sea change occurred with Vatican II and the appointments of Paul VI and John XXIII, the latter being known for his positive role during the Holocaust. The ground-breaking Nostre Aetate document enabled "free dialogue between Jews and Christians because Christianity no longer saw Judaism as a target for conversion but as an equal partner with equal rights in the biblical (OT) covenant." To the question whether the ICCJ contains "missionary elements," its current President, Devora Weisman, replied: "'The organization is open to everyone. It must be understood, however, that, overall, the institutional Christian churches have given up missionizing amongst the Jews. They generally acknowledge the special covenant which we have with God. The people who are actively involved in mission today and cause problems are such groups as Jews for Jesus, certain evangelical groups, and other peripheral sects, which are marginalized within Christianity itself.'" With regard to the possibility or need of including Muslims in the Jewish-Christian dialogue, Weisman responded: "'It's still not clear. It looks as though there's still plenty of work to be done between Jews and Christians. Maybe in the area of Jewish-Muslim relations another organization needs to be created, and maybe an organization needs to be established to deal with dialogue between Christians, Jews, and Muslims.'" Asked whether Jews should be doing more to stop the flight of Christians from the region, Weisman suggested that the best thing to be done in this respect is to improve Israeli's attitude towards minorities.
Religious cooperation towards the release of Gilad Shalit unfortunately failed to come to fruition (Israel HaYom, September 10). The attempts of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders to formulate a letter to be sent to the kidnapped soldier on his birthday failed to overcome the barriers between the three religions. A former Foreign Ministry official initiated the endeavor, turning to the Christian Patriarchate in Europe, a well-known Muslim cleric, and the Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi, Jonah Metzger. Their communications towards the composition of the joint letter were foiled by the cleric's demand that a sentence be inserted calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners in jail in Israel. The purpose of the letter - which was designed to reach the hands of the head of the political division of Hamas - was "to exert pressure on Mashal and to demand that a Red Cross representative meet with Shalit."
Copyright 2008, Caspari Center.
Material reproduced from the Media Review must specify it as the source and that the copyright remains with Caspari Center.
Yad L'achim News
Big Brother Is Watching
Three missionaries tried to deceitfully convert to Judaism in religious courts around the world, only to be foiled by Yad L'Achim .
A few weeks ago, a distinguished-looking professor of international law showed up at Chabad house of Geneva headed by Rabbi Mendel Pewzner asking to convert to Judaism.
He made an excellent impression, dressed in a suit and hat and displaying broad knowledge of Judaism. Most importantly, he appeared very sincere in his desire to accept upon himself the yoke of Torah and mitzvos.
As the man began making inroads into the kehillah, attending services and being invited into homes, Rabbi Pewzner got an urgent message from Yad L'Achim in Israel: The newcomer was a missionary. Yad L'Achim backed up its charge with evidence that the man was a Mormon and active in missionary activity around the world.
Moreover, Yad L'Achim presented eye-witness testimony that during the very time that the man was in shul, in his religious Jewish garb, he was trying to convince tourists visiting the place to convert out of Judaism.
The final evidence, which left no doubt as to the man's intentions, was a statement attributed to him that he wanted to become a Jew because it would be easier for him to operate among Jews, since he could pass himself off as one of them.
While the kehillah, armed with this critical information, banished the man from its midst, the story doesn't end here. The jurist moved on to Israel and appeared before a beis din for conversion declaring his "sincere" desire to become a Jew. Yad L'Achim, which kept the impostor on its radar, was quick to present the members of the beis din with its evidence.
With a persistence that is characteristic of missionaries, the man moved on to Rome, where he turned to a local beis din for assistance. Yad L'Achim tripped him up again, presenting Rabbi Gad Eldad, a member of the conversion court in Rome, with the facts.
The learned law professor is not the first missionary to try to convert to Judaism to be able to infiltrate the Jewish community. Nor is he the first whose efforts were stymied by Yad L'Achim. A couple from Frankfurt, Germany, members of a missionary cult, recently began the process of conversion with the Rabbinical Council of America. But the council's beis din rejected their application after receiving incriminating information from Yad L'Achim.
Harav Shalom Dov Lifschitz, chairman of Yad L'Achim, revealed that he recently sent an urgent appeal to conversion courts around the world asking that applicants sign a statement disavowing their belief in Christianity before their application will be considered.
"It isn't foolproof, but it will put up a barrier because their religious beliefs forbid them from making such a declaration," he said. "We have to understand that there are missionaries who are seeking to convert to Judaism – and receive Israeli citizenship as a result – as a means of advancing their missionary efforts. Every step must be taken to stop them."