Thursday, January 29, 2009

Christianity in Israel Update

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz

Jews for Jesus is claiming 14 new Israeli converts for this month. And Israeli HOT Cable TV featured the head of the cult’s Israeli branch defending his activities as “democracy…freedom of expression, freedom of religion”, and “completely legal” in the State of Israel.

As Benny, the guest accommodation manager at Kibbutz Amiad – which was hosting Jews for Jesus - puts it, “We know how to take money, they know how to give money. It’s strictly business. It’s not as though Amiad is changing its religion.”

The World Evangelical Alliance plays "neutral"
The WEA - the largest evangelical body in the world released a neutral statement on the Gaza war: “The God who is near wants to bless the Jewish people but not at the expense of the Arab people and He wants to bless the Arab people but not at the expense of the Jewish people.”
The Messianic spin on the Gaza War
The Messianic publication Israel Today is reporting that “In their nearly unified support for military action, Israeli Messianic leaders did not forget Jesus' command to also love Israel's enemies (Matthew 5:44). “Howard Bass, pastor of the Messianic Nachalat Yeshua congregation in Israel’s southern city of Beersheva, voiced his support for Israel’s campaign against Hamas Gaza, but qualified this by stating that, ‘… Israel continues to resist turning back to the God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua, the Son of God, who alone gives peace, security, healing’. "

The North American Evangelical Lutheran Church is “not taking sides” (ha!)
(Choice excerpts):
"That is not about keeping Israel safe from suicide bombers," said Bishop James Justman, head of the East Central Synod of Wisconsin. "That is to crush the spirit of people who have been on the land for a long time. I'm not taking sides in general because it's such a big mess and reminds me of the sadness when there are so many layers of hatred and violence and bad things that have happened. But there are so many stories like that, but this one stands out to me. Here's this grizzled old guy still in his house … and he's surrounded by angry settlers."
"But as I observed where the wall is and how it's being used, I would say now it's a strategic measure of apartheid."
Evangelists and Islamists join forces in “Humanitarian Aid” Efforts
A friend from Texas, who has been busy organizing pro-Israel rallies, expressed shock that a “huge anti-Israel, Gaza solidarity fundraising event took place last weekend at the local Islamic center. Co-hosting the event was THE AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY”. She is searching for the “inflammatory ad” promoting the event which appeared in the local paper.

Meanwhile, I went online and discovered that The American Bible Society and Middle Eastern Bible Societies have joined together to Bring Humanitarian Aid for Gaza Conflict Victims. This humanitarian aid project is a joint effort between the American Bible Society (ABS), Palestinian Bible Society (PBS), the Bible Society in Israel (BSI), and the Arab-Israeli Bible Society (AIBS).
And you can bet that very active proselytizing in Israel is a part of this venture.

In what I can only call “a proportional response”, the Arab Palestinian Christian Development Director of the societies felt the need "to express the love of Jesus Christ to both sides", and he recently visited a hospital in Beersheva “to offer prayers and words of blessing” to wounded Israeli soldiers.
"In conjunction with PBS, BSI and AIBS, the American Bible Society will help to provide 100,000 Psalms Scripture portions in South Israel and 100,000 Scripture booklets in Arabic languages for Palestinians and Israelis."
Under the circumstances, Israeli politician Effie Eitam may want to try and get that PR shot of him at the American Bible Society's Bible Library taken offline (that image is prominently displayed on several Bible Society related links)
Close Calls for Christians in Sderot
Evangelical Earl Cox got knocked off his feet by a Kassam , and Yechiel Eckstein had a remarkable photo op with an incoming missile. It was also reported that Jordan Sekulow – son of Jay Sekulow of Jews for Jesus and ACLJ fame – had a close call with an incoming projectile
Warren Witnesses at Presidential InvocationEvangelical Pastor Rick Warren concluded the invocation at President Obama's inauguration in an exclusively evangelical way. He used the opportunity to "witness" to the many millions watching the ceremony: "I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus, Jesus (hay-SOOS), who taught us to pray, Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name...." Some critics note that Warren turned the invocation into an explicitly Christian prayer, and that his reference to Jesus as Yeshua was a gesture towards so called "messianic Jews". Time Magazine notes that for the sixth straight presidential inauguration, rabbis would not have a place on the dais. Since 1985, only Evangelical Protestants have played a part in the presidential swearing-in ceremony.

On the other hand….

Did Lookstein Overlook Halacha?
The JTA reports that The Rabbinical Coucil of America – charged a prominent member of violating its rules by participating in the National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral on the morning after Barack Obama's inauguration.
“The long-standing policy of the Rabbinical Council of America, in accordance with Jewish law, is that participation in a prayer service held in the sanctuary of a church is prohibited," the RCA said in a statement.
The RCA said that Rabbi Haskel Lookstein’s participation “was problematic both because the service was held in the sanctuary of a church, which Orthodox Jews are prohibited from entering, and because it was an interfaith prayer service, which the RCA discourages for fear that such participation could allow missionaries to legitimize their argument that Jews can indeed embrace Jesus.”

Rabbi Tzvi Hersch Weinreb, the executive vice president of the Orthodox Union sited the late Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik’s position that Orthodox rabbis “should not engage in theological debate or participate in interfaith services.”

But Rabbi Lookstein has responded in a letter to his colleagues at the RCA. An excerpt follows:
“It is well known that many Chief Rabbis of England have gone into Westminster Abby when summoned there by the King or Queen, and many other great rabbis have done the same to represent our community. The Chief Rabbis of Israel have engaged in similar activities, and, most recently, the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen was involved in similar activities. In fact, he attended the funeral of the late Pope, John Paul II.”
Rabbis may be going to church, but do we really want Jesus in the Temple?...

Women on the Walls held a “prophetic summons” in Jerusalem in early January.
The Promotion: O women, herald of good tidings, Say to Zion: “Accept from us the joyful announcement of the resurrection of Messiah! O Jerusalem, rejoice, and leap for joy! For you have seen the King, coming out of the tomb, and Behold, He comes now as the Fair Bridegroom!"
Christine Darg of Exploits Ministries, Covenant Alliances and the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, led the evangelic road show .
Too bad Rabbi Glick, the director of the Temple Institute was caught on a feature video participating in a rather bizarre ceremony with Darg, who has at the bottom of her homepage:
EXPLOITS DECLARES THE MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST TO A GLOBAL AUDIENCE THROUGH MINISTRY AND MEDIA, BASED ON THE PATTERN OF ACTS 1:8-'You shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.'
Exploits Ministries online financial statements for the Year 2007 identify them as “ a missionary society with a Biblical mandate to take the Gospel to the Bible lands… “ with a …”commitment to take the Good News of Jesus Christ back to the Bible Lands where the Gospel began, to
both Jew and Arab…”

And then of course there are these choice audio and video quotes:

“ Even though many people are afraid to share the gospel here, I tell you I have never had any problem...we were giving away beautiful posters to the Israeli soldiers at checkpoints ... The Russian Jews are the most open Jewish people group to the gospel on the face of the earth at this moment. The Russians today were begging us for New Testaments … "----Christine Darg ,Exploits Ministries, Covenant Alliances, in partnership with the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus

“It’s heartbreaking…that Jewish souls will be lost to eternity unless they come to know him [Jesus] as their Jewish Messiah. As both Christians and Messianic believers we have a responsibility to correct what’s been done in the past….Today we can give back the Jewish people their own Jewish bible - one that explains in a Jewish context that Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel who loves them in a very special way. I encourage you to sponsor a chapter of the much needed bible so that you can show the love of Yeshua to the Jewish people here in Israel…” ---Peter Darg, Exploits Ministries and Covenant Alliances in partnership with the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus

Perhaps Rabbi Glick was unaware that Christine and her husband Peter personally engage in activities which directly target Jews for conversion.
But a few months back, I and a group of other concerned activists met with the Director of the International Department of the Temple Institute, Rabbi Chaim Richman, and discussed the missionary problem in Israel. At the time Rabbi Richman expressed outrage and assured us that the he was on top of the situation.
Perhaps the Temple Institute got thrown off track by Christine and Peter Darg’s active partnership with Covenant Alliances, and the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus - who state as their policy
“We at the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus as well, do not hide our refusal to cooperate with Christians active in missionary work amongst Jews”. (Benny Elon in the JPost).
For more on Covenant Alliances and the Knesset Caucus read here and here.

What is an Evangelical? Are they more than just “Israel’s best friends”? An exclusive commentary at World Net Daily answers that for us.

In this new era of Christian-Jewish reconciliation, this report just wouldn’t be complete without including mention of the Vatican’s recent activities. But words just don’t do these injustices justice. So a simple listing with links will have to suffice
· The Pope reinstates Holocaust-denying bishop and Chief Rabbinate cuts ties .
· Bishop Richard Williamson in his own perverted words (must watch video interview)
· Cardinal Renato Martino, the head of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace and a former Holy See envoy to the United Nations, compared Gaza to a "big concentration camp"
· Pope Benedict recently restored the Tridentine rite - a prayer for the conversion of Jews - resulting in a boycott of a key Vatican event by the Chief Rabbi of Venice, who has accused Pope Benedict of wiping out 50 years of dialogue.
· The Vatican continues its efforts to whitewash the record of Pope Pius Xll ("Hitler's Pope") so that they can proceed with the beautification process without Jewish sensitivities getting in the way.
· Vatican negotiators in Israel reportedly appear eager to finalize negotiations on fiscal and property matters prior to the pope's upcoming visit to the Holy Land. It should be noted that there are ongoing attempts by the Vatican to acquire property on the Diaspora Yeshiva Campus - including the Upper Room above The Traditional Tomb of King David.

What’s Rabbi Riskin gonna do?
In light of all of these old/new tribulations with the Church, one wonders if Rabbi Riskin and his “Orthodox Jewish center to theologically dialogue with Christians” is still planning to co-host, with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, a religious leaders mission to Israel this March.
And will David Nekrutman, executive director of Riskin’s interfaith center continue to cooperate with and encourage Vatican efforts to rehabilitate Pope Pius Xll?

Update: Messianic Attorney Pastor Calev Myers of the law offices of Yehuda Raveh kindly requested that I remove certain language in this specific post in reference to Mr. Cohen - which I have done.

Missionary alert: Aviad Cohen's singing Jesus in Jerusalem
"The World's Most Kosher MC" turned ________________ has made aliyah . Heads up Ministry of Interior as this guy has got to go. He is one_____________. But the Christian channels from CBN to TBN to GodTube just love him.You can read all about Aviad's messianic exploits on Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda Street.


Anonymous said...

I tried to talk sense into that kid (Aviad Cohen) 3 years ago, and at first he listened, and decided to take his website down, and then shortly there after, wrote me back an email that was very hateful, accusing a rabbi of "kidnapping him" and "hold him against his will".

He then told me I was a demon who followed the "devil rabbis", and that he no longer wanted to talk to me again.

I had talked to Rabbi Tovia Singer about the situation, and he told me to have Cohen call him, and at first Cohen was warm to the idea, and then later told me "shove it".

So, for whatever reason, this poor kid has some serious mental issues... he is a self-hating Jew who is more than willing to lie to achieve whatever goals his masters in the "messianic" movement want to accomplish. These so-called "messianics" are a cult through-and-through, and they should all be made to leave Eretz Yisrael.

They prey on secular and/or Torah-uneducated Jews (I know from first hand experience) and they admit behind close doors that if they lie, yet, bring a Jew to abandon Torah Judaism and pickup Christianity, then they feel this is well worth the costs. It's really sick.

Anonymous said...

Hi Conrade Tovya,
Thanks for your thoughts and the background info. I've heard very similar accounts

As you can gather from my recent update on this post, I was threatened with legal action.

So suffice to say that it appears from Aviad’s own writings that he is indeed dealing with an overwhelming number of demons. I just recently received a widely distributed correspondence in which he declares, “The Jewish counter-missionaries are paid full time stalkers…Those people have serious demons that need to be cast out but they will not be able to cast out their demons unless they believe in Yeshua Messiah and are baptised.”
He goes on to speak about “Rabbinic Pharisaic Judaism demons”, “dark arts”,”Demon of Rebellion”, demons in general, the devil, the satan, witches, warlocks, the occult, witchcraft, etc..., etc…, and he quotes the new testament throughout. He even rants against “messianic Jews” at length.

This has been going on for several months now. Last September he sent out a rant against “Messianic Pharisaich Judasim” , “Jewish Mysticism (witchcraft)”, “the Zohar (Kabbalah witchcraft)” and “the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud (Pharisaic Jewish Witchcraft)”. It’s all very sad.

But my main concern is that Aviad Cohen is a missionary with an aggressive Christian agenda intent on bringing Jews to jesus, and he is currently in Israel as a purported new oleh. So I certainly think people should contact the Interior Ministry and inquire as to what’s going on.

Anonymous said...

Yes ma'am, I certainly agree with you...

As for the legal action, I wouldn't worry about it, because Hashem is our true judge, so nothing could ever happen without his consent anyway.

I've often said this, and I still mean it more than ever... the Chamas & H'zballah are certainly a threat to us, but NOTHING is a bigger threat to the Jewish people than our spiritual destruction. That's why it's each of our responsibility to help spread the truth of Torah to our fellow Jew.

Because a Jew who is armed with the knowledge of the true salvation that Hashem has readily offered since the beginning, would never even take Christianity seriously anyway, because that Jew would know that the whole concept of a sacrificial man is not only idolatry, but also not needed anyway.

Well, keep writing, I have been enjoying your blog for many, many years (actually since your first started) so please keep telling it like it is!

Ellen said...

Thanks for your support and wise words, Comrade Tovya.

Just one correction. This blog belongs to Batya from Shiloh. I'm Ellen from the Golan, and Batya has been kind enough to let me post here over the last couple of years So, please know that the vast majority of those great posts that you're enjoying belong to her.