MAC MEDIA CAMPAIGN
The Messianic Action Committee has begun placing ads in the country’s major newspapers: The Jerusalem Post, Ma’ariv and Ha’Aretz. The first ad reproduced here appeared in all three papers on Sept.29, and the second in the Hebrew papers on Oct.31 and in the Post on Nov.5 1997.
Concerning the Bill for Religious Censorship
In defense of a bill for religious censorship in Israel, Knesset members and others have described the Messianic Jewish community in Israel as traitors who work for the destruction of the Jewish people, emissaries of malevolent foreign forces. We do not recognize ourselves in these dark descriptions.
We Messianic Jews are Jewish and love to be so. We celebrate all the Jewish feasts with relish and willingly identify with our people – their history of suffering and triumph, their present struggle and their great hopes. We love the Tenach and read it with religious fervor. We are Jews and intend to remain such, regardless of the fervency of some in the nation who seek to deny us the right to do so.
Our faith is as sincere as is the unbelief of our detractors. We believe as we do, because we have been convinced to do so by the Tenach. We pay taxes and serve in the IDF with enthusiasm (which is more than can be said of some of our detractors). Of course we’re not perfect! At times we act in a manner unworthy of our faith in the Messiah. But we have chosen to live in Israel because we love our people and intend to be a part of their future in every sense. We believe that the resurrection of Jewish nationhood in its own land is a gracious act of God, and we want to have a part in that act.
Yes, we openly profess faith in Yeshua as the Messiah of Israel and we do not submit to the spiritual leadership of the rabbis. Yeshua is our Chief Rabbi, our Spiritual Leader. We accept the New Testament as the continuation of the Torah and of the words of the Prophets. These opinions are born out of conviction and an honest appraisal of the Tenach.
We call upon our nation to consider seriously the truth of our claims. This is not conversion to another religion (hamarat dat) but the courage to stop, assess and reconsider one’s religious opinion (dey-ah-datit). Jews have always dared to swim against the stream and follow their honest convictions regardless of the consequences.
We call upon our nation to allow in Israel freedom of religious expression, and not to try to muzzle us by establishing a religious censorship. We will not allow ourselves to be silenced. By the grace of God, we will continue to believe and to speak as we do despite any sanctions, which threaten the democratic nature of our State.
A Jewish State – yes! But a State that is both Jewish and democratic, brave enough not to forbid others the right to express their opinions openly. A brave, Jewish and democratic State, not a State subject to the Halacha.
The Messianic Action Committee. POBox 75, Rishon LeTsion 75100, Israel
Who is the Messiah?
The Messiah our righteousness has turned from us, we have been smitten and there is none to justify us.
Our iniquities and the yoke of our transgressions takes he upon himself and he is smitten for our transgressions.
He lays on his own shoulder our sins to find forgiveness for our iniquities. By his stripes we are healed, that he might create an eternal new creation.
(From the Yom Kippur Musaf, Eshkol Publishing, Jerusalem. Compare Isaiah chapter 53.)
If our Jewish tradition attributes Isaiah chapter 53 to the Messiah – why should we claim otherwise?
Yeshua is Israel’s Messiah
The Messianic Congregational Action Committee
(The Committee working against the bill for religious censorship in Israel.)
Yated Ne’eman, Oct 1 1997
So far, I have received only one article responding to the first of these ads:
“In their ads, members of Messianic congregations in Israel attack the definition of their ‘faith’ as conversion and treason against the Jewish people, so hoping to stir up public opinion against the proposed law against missionary activity.
In response to these ads, the Lev L’Achim organization made the following statement: ‘One of the 13 articles of faith is ‘I believe fully in the coming of the Messiah, and even if he tarries I will await him daily,’ and a Jew who doesn’t believe this is an apostate who has converted to another religion.’”
The article goes on to say that Lev L’Achim will fight against those who betray their people and abuse democracy and the freedom of speech by evangelistic preaching. The organization has also asked their legal advisors to whether the ads themselves are a transgression of current anti-missionary law in Israel.
CHASE THEM OUT OF JERUSALEM
HaModia, Oct.9,27; Itton Yerushalayim, Oct.10 1997
In a meeting with owners of banquet halls, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Rabbi Haim Miller, warned them not to rent their premises to missionaries and various cults, the most dangerous of which are the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements. The Binyanei Ha’Uma Convention Center has come under attack for allowing the Christian Embassy to hold its annual Succot celebration there, especially since this year meetings were held on Friday night as well. And the Holiday Inn canceled a Messianic meeting after the rabbinate threatened to revoke their Kashrut license.
ARSONISTS WRECK MESSIANIC JEWS’ HALL
Ha’Aretz Oct.22; Jerusalem Post Oct.24 1997
The meeting hall of the Ohalei Rahamim congregation in a suburb of Haifa was severely damaged by a fire which was started with “a chemical agent.” The hall, which was also used as a distribution center for aid to immigrants, had been targeted in an unsuccessful arson attempt a few months ago. The congregation has also received numerous threats and has been harassed by anti-missionary groups opposed to its charitable activities.
CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED BY PA
The Jerusalem Post, Ha’Aretz, Yedi’ot Aharonot, Oct.24 1997
A report by the Israeli government states that the dwindling Christian community in Palestinian controlled areas is being harassed and persecuted by the PA. Churches and cemeteries have been vandalized and religious leaders are being pressured to become mouthpieces for Yasser Arafat and opponents of Israel. Moslem converts to Christianity are subject to imprisonment and torture for “insulting a (Moslem) religious leader” or spying. Some of these reports have been confirmed by church sources.
The PA official in charge of Christian affairs, however, said that reported acts of vandalism were “very minor accidents. Perhaps they are done by children.” Other PA officials called the Israeli report baseless and exaggerated.
The report also quotes population statistics that show that in the past 50 years Bethlehem has gone from being 80% Christian to 80% Moslem, and draws the conclusion that “There will soon be no Christians remaining in PA-controlled areas.”
WANTED BY YAD L’ACHIM
Kol Ha’Ir, Oct.10 1997
Following is a translation of the article, which is accompanied by a photo of the “Wanted” poster:
On large signs on public notice boards Yad L’Achim has publicized the names and photos of people who, claims the organization, are engaged in “soul hunting” for Christian groups. However, it is possible that this is simply a fund-raising gimmick.
The organization, which has been fighting Christian movements for many years, stepped up its activities by posting the names and photos of six people who are, according to the organization, central activists in the conversion of Jewish families. The photos appeared under the title: “The soul hunters continue their activities,” and were accompanied by the words “Missionaries, stop them.” Each photo had a Russian name as its caption; none of these names appear in the phone book. The posters also contain a call to donate to Yad L’Achim’s ransom fund. The organization’s chairman, Rabbi Shalom Lifshitz, said that the reason for posting this message is so “people will beware and not invite them (the missionaries) in.” Lifshitz is not worried about physical attacks on missionaries following the publicity. “A missionary has never been killed in Israel,” he explains. According to him, the request for donations was added to the poster by coincidence, and was not the motive behind it.
THE POLICE AREN’T INVESTIGATING MISSIONARIES WHO BREAK THE LAW!
Yom L’Yom, Oct.14 1997
“Public figures” have complained about the police’s lack of cooperation with orthodox youths who tried to stop missionaries at a rock music festival and other recent events. One such incident happened when orthodox youth complained to the police about missionary activity, only to be told not to “create a hostile atmosphere” and prevented from demonstrating. In Holon (a suburb of Tel-Aviv) four yeshiva students were questioned on suspicion of demonstrating against missionaries.
JESUS IS ALREADY HERE
Itton Tel-Aviv, Oct.15 1997
This 4 page article with photos describes the increasing hostility of orthodox anti-missionaries towards anything “Christian.” Unfortunately, the article, like the anti-missionaries, equates Messianic Jews with Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cults.
There are descriptions of attacks, mostly against new immigrants who have joined the Witnesses, as well as interviews with both Ya’acov Damkani and the head of Lev L’Achim’s “operational division.” Lev L’Achim believes that there are 7,000 Messianic Jews and 2,000 Witnesses in Israel today, while other orthodox sources fear that the total number is over 15,000. What they agree on is the accelerated growth of these groups, mainly among new immigrants.
Lev L’Achim also claims to have planted around 10 spies in Messianic congregations, some of whom have risen “to the top,” thus endangering their lives.
The bulk of the article is dedicated to the interview with Damkani, in which he is allowed not only to share his testimony, but also to tell about our faith and the Messianic community in Israel. He makes a clear case for our need of salvation through Yeshua, but also expresses love and compassion for the orthodox – even the anti-missionaries. He credits them with raising people’s interest in Messianic Judaism, simply by protesting against it so loudly. Damkani states that there are a few thousand Messianic Jews in Tel-Aviv alone, and that Lev L’Achim would be shocked if they knew the real numbers. He also sees a lot of growth in recent years, with more and more young people are searching for spiritual meaning and finding the Lord.
NEWSPAPERS USED IN THIS EDITION:
The Jerusalem Post: National English language daily, published in Jerusalem. Tends to the religious right, but careful and relatively fair towards believers (has a large Christian readership). Friendly towards right-wing political Christianity.
Ma’ariv: National daily, published in Tel-Aviv. Politically tends to the right, mostly objective towards believers (depends on the reporter).
Ha’Aretz: National daily, published in Tel-Aviv, mostly objective towards believers.
Yated Ne’eman: National religious/political daily published in Bnei Brak. Very hostile to believers.
Ha’Modia: Jerusalem religious daily. Very hostile to believers.
Itton Yerushalayim: Jerusalem weekly.
Yedi’ot Aharonot: National daily published in Tel-Aviv. Attitude to believers depends on the reporter.
Kol Ha’Ir: Jerusalem leftist weekly. Pro-Palestinian, anti-religious, objective towards believers.
Yom L’Yom: Jerusalem religious/political weekly. Hostile to believers.
Itton Tel-Aviv: Tel-Aviv weekly.