ELDERLY HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR IS DECLARED A MISSIONARY BY ORTHODOX
Itton Yerushalayim, Jan.24 1997
David Bar Meir, a 71 year old resident of Mea Shearim, has been branded a missionary and a pervert by orthodox elements who went so far as to hang posters calling on the public to beat and stone him. The problems arose when a school moved into the building where he lives, and started pressuring him to move. When he didn’t comply, the administration spread rumors that he was disturbing the students and giving them missionary material. His response to this was to spray-paint messages such as “Decent behavior comes before Torah” on the school walls. The results of this conflict include the loss of Bar Meir’s job and his being expelled from the local synagogue.
MESSIANIC JEWS ACTIVE AMONG YOUTH IN CARMEL AREA
Yediot Haifa, Jan.24 1997
Messianic Jewish groups have been taking their evangelistic campaigns to the streets, movie theaters and clubs where Haifa’s young people hang out. They hand out tracts which mention heroes of Israel’s past who gave their lives for the country, and then describe Jesus’ giving his life for all mankind. Municipal and religious authorities are equally upset by the activity, saying that by seeking to influence minors the missionaries are in flagrant violation of the law.
POSTAL WORKER FIRED FOR DESTROYING MISSIONARY MATERIAL
Hadashot Mishpaha, Jan.16 1997
In the latest fallout from the mass mailing of the Shalom booklet, a postal worker in the Tel-Aviv area who refused to deliver the material has lost his job. At the time of the mailing, the government stated that current law requires the uninterrupted delivery of these booklets. The post man in question, following the Halachic rulings handed down at the time, destroyed the booklets he was to deliver.
ISRAEL IS THE MISSION ORGANIZATIONS’ TOP PRIORITY
HaModia & Yom L’Yom, Feb.6 1997
These articles cover a report published by Yad L’Achim which exposes the well-oiled propaganda machine of the missionaries. According to Yad L’Achim, the mission targeting Israel and Jews has unlimited resources and a budget of 100 million US$, compared to a missionary budget of only 50 million for the rest of the world. They also published a map of missionary activity in Israel, including that of evangelists disguised as orthodox Jews. The anti-missionary organization hopes that their report will increase public support for the proposed law which will make it illegal to witness and/or influence a person to change his religious affiliation.
CHLDREN OF FALASHMURA STUDY IN SEPERATE SCHOOL
Yediot Aharonot, Jan.26 1997
The Ministry of Education has placed the children of Falashmura immigrants from Ethiopia in a special school, where they are being taught the basics of Judaism. Activists from the Ethiopian community have called this “Apartheid” and demanded that the children be integrated into regular schools. The spokesman of the Education Ministry replied that this is only a temporary situation, and that the students would be transfered to different schools when ready. He could not, however, answer the question of why the children of foreign workers and expatriates are immediately placed in regular schools.
THE ‘RABBI’ WHO LOST HIS FAITH… AND FOUND JUDAISM
The Jerusalem Report, Jan.23 1997
Chuck Snow’s spiritual journey is well-chronicled in this article (which I would recommend reading! – ed.), including his salvation, rise to leadership in the Messianic movement, and eventual return to traditional Judaism. His outlook is refreshing in that he holds no bitterness against the Messianic movement and has refused to lend his expertise to anti-missionary groups, saying that “Messianic Judaism shouldn’t be legitimized, but we should treat individual messianists as fellow Jews. …We should be able to talk with messianists – not about theology but about their place in the Jewish community.” He is also troubled by the refusal of Israeli citizenship to Messianic Jews, as he believes that “Every Jew should have a place in Israel, regardless of what he believes.”
He credits his Messianic faith with teaching him that it is possible to be in love with God and to “turn every day into an experience of intimate relationship” with him, and, ironically, with helping him to become a Jew.
THE CHOSEN PEOPLE’S COUNTER ATTACK
Ha’Aretz, Jan.20 1997; reprinted from the New Republic, by Steven Glass
This article chronicles a day in the life of a Baptist missionary in Savannah, Ga., whose focus is on converting Jews. (Needless to say, the portrayal is not at all flattering…) The writer then introduces a Savannah Rabbi, who despite opposition from his flock, has decided to mount a campaign to win Baptists to Judaism. So far, according to the report, neither side has had much success.
THE HAMBURGER WARS: TO THE LAST CHEESEBURGER
Yediot Aharonot, Jan.24 1997
While not directly related to Messianic Judaism or Christianity, I found this article interesting. There is a “social” law on the books in Israel which stipulates that employees should have the weekend (Shabbat) off, guaranteeing them a day of rest. This law has always been ignored in the case of restaurants – until now. The Orthodox-run Ministry of Labor and Welfare is cracking down on businesses that stay open on Shabbat, using this law which makes it “illegal” for Jews to work on the Sabbath. In a recent raid on a branch of the MacDonald’s chain, teenage workers were lined up and forced to show their identity cards (which in Israel list your nationality or religion). The CEO of the chain in Israel plans to fight back, saying that secular Israelis have the right to work whenever they want. The manager of another chain has said that he will convert, if necessary, in order to keep doing business on Shabbat.
NEWSPAPERS USED IN THIS EDITION:
Itton Yerushalayim: Jerusalem weekly.
Yediot Haifa: Haifa weekly
Mishpaha/Hadashot Mishpaha: Jerusalem religious weekly.
Ha’Modia: Jerusalem religious daily. Very hostile to believers.
Yom L’Yom: Jerusalem religious/political weekly. Hostile to believers.
Yedi’ot Aharonot: National daily published in Tel-Aviv. Attitude to believers depends on the reporter.
The Jerusalem Report: English language bi-monthly published in Jerusalem, world-wide distribution. Politically centrist or left of center. Sensitive and objective towards believers.