March 31 – 2002

Caspari Center Media Review……………………….. March 2002, #2


In the period of time covered by this review, we received 62 articles on the subject of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the mission. Of these:


  • 22 articles dealt with land issues
  • 17 articles dealt with missionary activity in the country
  • 5 articles dealt with Christian support of Israel
  • 3 articles dealt with the Greek Orthodox Church
  • 2 articles dealt with tourism in Israel


The remaining 13 articles were single articles dealing with matters of Jewish or Christian interest on their own merit.


New law accepts any Jewish conversion (Yom HaShishi, 1/03/02)

The Israeli high court of justice has passed a new law stating that any conversion to Judaism is to be accepted upon arrival to Israel. Whereas until this point, any one who wanted to be recognized as a Jew in Israel had to go through an orthodox conversion process in the country, it has now been decided that any documentation stating that the person is Jewish will be immediately accepted.


The ultra religious group Yad LeAchim expressed concern that the Messianic group (as well as other religious groups) in the country would find it easier to receive citizenship. This, however, will probably be prevented due to an earlier decision by the high court of justice saying that Messianic Jews are not considered Jews.


Other criticism of the new law is mostly due to reasons of security. There has been some concern as to how the law will affect questionable infiltration to the country, especially during these unstable times.


Yad LeAchim try to cancel Passover conference (HaModia 14/03/02, 24/03/02, 25/03/02)

A large Passover conference planned to take place in the “Kfar HaMacabia” near Ramat Gan, is under attack. The ultra orthodox group Yad LeAchim has sent letters to the management of the conference center, requesting that they cancel the event. Since the conference was already fully paid for and organized, the management refused the request. Yad LeAchim then proceeded to write letters to Ramat Gan’s local rabbis asking for their assistance. The rabbis then threatened to deny Kfar HaMacabia their Kashrut license.


Yad LeAchim also turned to the police and ordered them to investigate the conference, claiming that since the conference also included  activities for youth and children, Yad LeAchim hoped to find some proof of solicitation of minors.


Even with all these obstacles, the conference organizers plan to go ahead with the conference between the 30th of March and the 2nd of April.



Congregation of Ohalei Rachamim expelled from building (Chadshot Mishpacha, 28/03/02, HaShavua BiYerushalaim, 7/03/02)

Yad LeAchim has caused the expulsion of the Messianic congregation Ohalei Rachamim in Haifa from the building they were using. The facility is owned by the aid organization Na’amat, and was rented by Ohalei Rachamim for weekly meetings.


During one of these meetings, a Yad LeAchim activist came in order to spy on the activities of the congregation. After this, he reported back to his leaders, saying that the meeting had  missionary content. Yad LeAchim then asked Na’amat to expel the congregation, and were answered by a complete refusal. They then proceeded to organize the rest of the tenants in the building to protest against the congregation, leaving Na’amat with no choice other than to expel Ohalei Rachamim from the vicinity.


The Anglican school is changing management (Kol HaIr, 22/03/02)

CMJ (Christian Mission to the Jews) Israel, is about to change its director. The man due to replace the exiting Rev. Ray Lockhart, is the British Rev. Tony Higton, the CEO of CMJ international. Higton, in the framework of his job, is also to oversee the international Anglican school in Jerusalem, whose land has belonged to CMJ for 140 years. This is to take place at the same time that the school principle Chris Wright leaves his post.


The replacement of the principle has caused much agitation among the parents of the pupils at the school. The school, attended by Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist students,  is the only English speaking school in Jerusalem and is attended mostly by children of diplomats and journalists from all over the world. According to one of the mothers, the school has so far provided the students with high level education as well as the objective goal of teaching them to be good people, regardless of faith issues. But the new found concern of the parents has its roots in the statements of Higton, published lately, saying that “God is calling us to go to Jerusalem… Our first responsibility is to share the scriptures with the Jewish people.”


The Jewish parents, as is to be expected, fear that the school might lose its emphasis on education, and instead concentrate on the conversion of the students to Christianity. This concern was further deepened by the possible election of a documented missionary from Pakistan as candidate for the principles office.


The parents panic led to a meeting between Higton, the board of directors of the school, the two final candidates for the principle office, and 160 parents. In this meeting the parents attacked the candidate preferred by CMJ, because his beliefs and goals matched that of CMJ in regard to the Jews and Christianity.


Support of FSU Jews causes agitation (Hatzofe 25/03/02)

In this religious paper, there is criticism of the Messianic communities in the FSU. The article accuses the Messianic groups of missionary activity as well as bribing the Jewish community with promises of matzot and wine for the Passover holiday, and then trying to convert them.



Religious battles in Dizengoff square (Chadashot HaMishpacha, 14/02/02, 28/02/02)

These two articles, which appeared in a religious paper, tell the story of a religious activist belonging to the “Or Yahakut” center of the Vaslavi Chassidim. The activist came to Dizengoff square in Tel-Aviv to publicize a conference that his community was initiating. While on the street, he encountered Messianic missionaries passing out tracts to the passersby and proceeded to attack them, shouting insults at them, ultimately causing them to leave the square. The religious community was very happy that they had succeeded in sabotaging the Messianic outreach.


Maale Adumim Messianic leader under attack (Iton Yerushalaim, 8/03/02, 15/03/02)

Maale Adumim Messianic leader Zvi Randelman has received telephone calls from people threatening to kill him if he does not stop passing out missionary tracts in the mail. This is after an attempt by the director of the postal services in Maale Adumim together with Minister Nisim Dahan (Shas) to pass a law forbidding the distribution of missionary literature through the mail.


Randelman has filed a complaint with the police, and the matter is being investigated.