Israel Prayer Teams
PO Box 111302
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The Jewish Believers' Battle for
Religious Freedoms in Israel

These are the types of situations the Israeli Body of Messiah
has been bearing alone without raising an outcry because
they want to avoid the Church, their spiritual brothers, as seeing
their countrymen, their natural brothers, as ‘the enemy.’

“Greater love has no one than this,
that one lay down his life for his friends.”

Caspari Media Review
Jerusalem Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies

The following reports are from the Caspari Media Review which tracks media reports delivered in Hebrew which is of interest to Christians and Messianic Jews. Caspari tracks a number of interesting topics although the most critical is their “anti-missionary” tracking—or more to the point, what the Israeli media is saying in Hebrew print about persecution against the community of Jewish believers in Yeshua/Jesus in Israel. --dd

Caspari Reviews Feb 1 2007:

Three articles related to the "shock" of the "exposure to danger" of missionary activity amongst the children of Orthodox families "in the classroom." (in HaModia, BaKehila, and Yom L'Yom, all from January 11)

All three papers reported that members of the "Shavei Zion" (Those Returning to Zion, led by Leon Mazin) congregation in Haifa - who also "regularly visit the church of 'Ohalei Rachamim' (Tents of Mercy, led by Eitan Shishkoff) on Shabbat" - "are sending their children to study in a Talmud-Torah [religious] school designed for the 'children of those seeking to return [to Judaism].'"

During the week, the missionaries' children "sit on the school benches of the Talmud-Torah school in the Haifa area," while on Shabbat they can be found "playing outside with their schoolmates." On Shabbat, the children get on "organized transport" arranged by "the Messianic Jews" in order to take them "to the church in Haifa." There, they participate in "Christian rituals and prayers in the church which runs the congregation. They listen to missionary strengthening lessons from Eitan Shishkoff, the head of the dangerous sect. These same children infiltrate and influence their religious friends during the weekdays."

With good reason, it would appear, Yad L'Achim [an anti-missionary organization] accuses the Shavei Zion families of "preferring the values and rootedness of the Orthodox educational system which the Talmud-Torah school provides" in the absence of any Messianic schools of their own.

When approached by Yad L'Achim, the school expressed its intention of cooperating with the anti-missionary organization in order "to eliminate the serious phenomenon."

Yad L'Achim also reported a deluge of "tracts" in Haifa and its surroundings distributed by the Messianic congregations, advertising a "preparation course for bar and bat mitzvah," together with ads for the times of prayer and Bible study of the Parashat haShavua - the Torah portion of the week. Yad L'Achim denounced these activities as "perverse measures" - the missionaries being willing to stop at nothing to "hunt the souls of innocent Jews."

The regional paper Kol HaDarom (January 5) carried a full-length story on Pnina Comforti, owner and manager of a chain of bakeries in the south of the country (see previous Reviews). Following the revoking of her kashrut license by the Rabbinate due to the discovery that Pnina was a Jewish believer - which has led to no small loss of business and revenue - Pnina has decided to "fight back."

She has filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court against the Chief Rabbinate and the Rabbis of Ashdod and Gan Yavneh:

"From the moment when rumors started to fly around this issue in Gan Yavneh [Pnina's original residence, whence she was forced to leave as a result of the harassment, and to set up another shop in Ashdod], a real blood libel began against her conducted by the radical Orthodox, whose whole purpose and objective was and is to destroy the business of my client in Gan Yavneh and everywhere else ..."

Posters were hung with her picture in the shopping mall where her shop is located identifying Pnina as a "missionary" and a Messianic Jew. The latter are defined as those who have "sold their souls, betrayed their people, and gone over to the Christian religion."

The poster continues: "Don't give her a prize! Your future and your children's future is most important. Don't go into her shop because she has a slippery tongue and is trying to hound you into the Christian religion. Stay away from her. Be proud Jews. Vote with your feet."

Pnina's lawsuit claims that "none of these rumors have any foundation and are only slander and evil words." It also states that "the community, and among them Rabbis, are calling [upon the public] not to buy her goods and lending a hand to a witch hunt against her."

The revocation of Pnina's kashrut license, both in Gan Yavneh and in Ashdod, was based on the grounds that, as a Messianic believer, "it is impossible to trust you in matters of kashrut."

The lawsuit argues that the source of the revocation of the license lies in "foreign [non-relevant] considerations." It was also done "in violation of the law which forbids kashrut fraud, without any authority, and out of discrimination because of her religion in violation of Basic Law - Dignity of Man and his freedom, and infringement of the freedom of business."

It appears that the suit has made some impact already, since Pnina's kashrut license has been restored - at least temporarily - in Gan Yavneh. This will not end the story however: Pnina's lawyers have stated that they will continue the fight with a damages case, followed by charges of slander. The report, it should be said, appears quite accurate and objective, and concluded with an interview with Pnina herself in order to "demonstrate just how complicated her situation is."

February 12, 2007 Media Review:

Several of the articles received in this week's Review are repeats of earlier stories. These include "missionary activities" in Bnei Brak and Beersheva, together with coverage of the restraining order against Yehuda Deri.

In continuation of the latter incident, several papers reported that Deri met with the Chief Rabbi of Beersheva's police force in order to encourage cooperation between the two parties on such issues as road accident prevention - and anti-missionary activity (Kol HaNegev, January 19; HaMekoman, January 18).

The "missionaries" were described as "Messianic Jews, who pretend to be Orthodox [Jews]" and "endanger Judaism when apparently breaking the law against conversion, which forbids offering anything [to someone to make them change their religion]." According to Deri, while these "posers" do not give money, they do offer "benefits, such as Bible studies and trips."

As previous articles indicated, Deri's ire has been roused precisely because of the missionaries' Jewish identity: "If they came with a cross to their activities, fine. [But] they come with a Star of David and mitzvot [commandments] and Torah and brain washing." [Meaning they object to and deny that a Jew can remain a Jew while holding faith in Yeshua/Jesus as the Jewish Messiah.]

The Chief Rabbi for the police suggested in response that the local religious council hire a person "to document all missionary activity, in order to try and prove that they apparently offer benefits, and only then to turn to the police."

Two articles respond to the recent incident in Beersheva which resulted in an interview with Howard Bass, the local congregation's leader. Both articles stressed the fact that Bass had acknowledged - even boasted - that he/the congregation had baptized 40 Jews since his arrival in Beersheva. (HaTzofeh, January 24; HaModia, January 28)

According to HaTzofeh [a religious newspaper], Deri responded to Bass's interview by stating that: "If it turns out that the missionary's words are true, we shall not rest or stop and will hold a huge demonstration of protest and crying out against conversion [apostasy] activity in the city."

HaModia indignantly reported that Bass "even pointed out the place of the crime [baptisms], without any fear of the law or police reaction.

This proves that, quoting [Knesset] MK Meir Porush, the missionaries relate to the State of Israel now as to a 'lawless' state that encompasses a broad and unlimited field for their activity."

Porush continued his attack
on the mission by claiming not only that "they are overflowing with financial means" but also, far more significantly, that they constitute a national as well as a religious problem, given that "it has been proved in the past that there is even a connection between several missionary bodies and groups close to terror organizations."

February 20, 2007 Media Review:

The case of "Pnina Pie" is continuing to garner coverage, especially in the local (regional) media (see previous Reviews). Kol HaDarom (February 2) carried a further report on Pnina's case against the rabbinate over the revoking of her kashrut license.

It would appear that a compromise has been reached, according to which one of Pnina's workers will be appointed to supervise the kitchen of her bakery in Ashdod. This condition will satisfy the rabbinate and allow the renewal of Pnina's kashrut license without her being forced to provide a key to the business to an outside supervisor.

The Supreme Court, to whom Pnina appealed against the revocation of her license, has issued a ruling stating that it is to be updated within twenty-one days regarding the implementation of the compromise.

The article is written very fairly, stating quite clearly that the call of the "inciters" to boycott her business on the "ostensible pretext" that she was using the bakery as a front for missionary activity
had "immediately led to insult and humiliation becoming [Pnina's] fate."

February 28, 2007 Media Review:

The exposure of a "missionary hornet's nest" masquerading as a soup kitchen in Upper Nazareth was also reported by HaModia (February 15). [Soup kitchen run by Kehilat Netzer HaGalil or Nazareth in the Galilee Congregation, led by Leon Mazin].

According to the article, the 'deception' was revealed when a near-by resident heard loud music issuing from the premises on Holocaust Memorial Day, when respect for those killed demands that there be no such entertainment performances. On entering the building, in which a klezmer band was playing and numerous people were dancing to the music, the neighbor was quickly offered a meal, which he politely declined. Having seen people being given food packages, tracts and reading material in Russian, he then left. "He immediately recognized that the place had no Jewish character and a red light went off in his mind as to the true identity of its owners": its real purpose was to draw immigrants in through the gift of meals and food packages "to what they defined as cultural activities which were in fact regular visits to a nearby church."

While the people attending the soup kitchen had been referred by municipal social workers, once the 'fraud' was unveiled, the city's mayor "took action without delay and without any compromise" and spoke to all members of the welfare office, making sure that his orders - to the effect that the soup kitchen would no longer receive any municipal funds or referrals - reached all its levels.

Yad L'Achim [an anti-missionary organization] claimed that this action was sufficient to cause the soup kitchen's immediate closure and that "the inevitable conclusion from such a story is that every humanitarian activity must be monitored with a fine-tooth comb, since this method is one which the mission frequently exploits: distributing food and showering presents on people in need, in order to deceive them." It also noted that this "victory constitutes a heavy moral blow against the mission which for so many years has been endeavoring to establish a foothold in Nazareth."

Note: As you read these things, if the understanding is new to you that religious Jews in Israel would persecute Jewish believers in Jesus even while embracing a friendship with non-Jewish Christians, please just go back & read the Acts of the Apostles again because it is exactly the same situation that is playing out.

Even as the apostle Paul persecuted the first century Jewish believers, so many of these modern persecutors will also see the light. Our business is to stand spiritually and materially with the believers in Israel and pray in agreement with their ministry needs. --dd

Do you realize
that only a minority of Israel intercessors
actually pray for the indigenous
Israeli Ministries & their needs??

Take your place on the watchman's wall
for the household of faith in Israel.

Now is the time to answer Esther's call
and impact history for the glory of God!

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