During the week covered by this review, we received 3 articles on the following subjects:
HaMevasser, February 22, 2019; Ashdod BaKoteret, February 20, 2019; Ashdod BaKoteret, February 20, 2019
All three articles reported about a missionary group from Australia. One year ago, it was found that the Australian organization purchased a building in Ashdod out of which it planned to hold events and offer aid. The goal was to draw in Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union by supplying economic help and food. These were immigrants who did not speak Hebrew and who were down on their luck. As such, they would be tempted to visit the distribution center, where they would also be exposed to attempts to convert them. Yad L’Achim worked to expose the missionaries and to make their “malicious” intentions clear to the immigrants.
Recently, it was discovered that the same organization, operating under the name of “LeRe’echa” (“To Thy Neighbor”), has been sending volunteers to work in Israeli charities. In one case, the missionaries offered to send volunteers to a nursing home in Jerusalem. After some time, the local workers noticed that the volunteers kept mentioning the name of Jesus. The issue was brought up at a staff meeting, and as a result, Yad L’Achim was called to investigate. Yad L’Achim found out that these were indeed missionaries, and that they were working in different charities across the country. The volunteers would distribute pamphlets and have heart-to-heart conversations with the patients in an attempt to convert them. Yad L’Achim found a letter written by Messianic Jews, sent to Evangelical Christians around the world, asking for precisely these sorts of volunteers. One commentator wrote that this is a “new low” for missionaries, who were “preying” on old and needy people. Another commentator urged action, saying: “We have to fight this dangerous trend with any means at our disposal”, including legal action. Since the discovery, the Jerusalem nursing home has terminated its relationship with “LeRe’echa”.