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Counterpoint: Christian Zionists Are a Threat

Christians for Israel

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This article was written in response to “Are Christian Zionists a Threat to Israel”, written by David Ha’Ivri on December 20, 2011.

 There is no question that there are many fine, upstanding Gentiles supporting Israel at this time. While certain strategic, moral and political alliances with the non-Jewish world are to be encouraged, it is both naïve and misleading to deny the serious costs involved in Israel’s unregulated relationship with impassioned evangelical Christians.

There is a wealth of information indicating that the vast majority of evangelical organizations supporting Israel on the political, economic and humanitarian fronts are directly or indirectly involved in supporting a growing Christian messianic restoration in Israel and in missionary efforts directed at the Jewish people. This existential spiritual threat is being overlooked by Jewish leadership in both Israel and the Diaspora.

These are the facts on the ground, as reported by the Baptist Press, seven months ago (unfortunately, these statistics coincide with reports from a number of Jewish and governmental sources):

“Now there are an estimated 150 Jewish [messianic] congregations around Israel meeting in different languages. The number of believers is estimated to be around 20,000, growing exponentially from 1948 when 12 Jews who believed in Jesus could be counted, to 1987 when there were 3,000 and 1997 where there were 5,000.”(Baptist Press, May 26, 2011)

Mr. Ha’ivri chose to diminish the concerns of those who are working in the counter-missionary field and to dismiss their investigative findings regarding growing Christian influence and infiltration in the Jewish state. A good number of the professionals and activists working in this field have, prior to returning or converting to Judaism themselves, spent years in church movements as active missionaries. These professionals now spend their days and nights bringing back Jews who have been lost to the churches or messianic Christian movements. The understanding by these professionals of the situation and of the personalities involved is hardly “shallow”, as Mr. Ha’ivri wishfully believes.

Certain Christian individuals and organizations with whom Mr. Ha’ivri chooses to work may not be aggressively proselytizing with a conversion agenda in the classical sense. However, they are on a religiously-driven mission with the intention to draw Jews close. They strive for a theological unification between Judaism and Christianity – a breaking down of barriers between faiths, as portrayed in Christian scripture. In addition, these parties are supportive of the messianic Christian sects in the Jewish state and aspire towards a Christian – not a Jewish – restoration in the Land of Israel. That makes them “missionaries” in every sense of the word.

The obvious point that evangelicals live to evangelize and that Israel has embarked on a “biblically-based” alliance with those who by definition, are missionaries, needs to be addressed in an honest fashion. Taking precautions to preserve the integrity of the Torah, the Jewish people and Eretz Yisrael is simply off the radar screen of many of our leading activists who are preoccupied with garnering political, humanitarian and economic support for the Jewish state in desperate times.

As devoted and passionate as many of these Christian leaders are in their support of Israel, it pales in comparison to their zeal and commitment to spreading the Christian message. As Pastor John Hagee explained on the missionary Daystar TV network, when they announced programming plans for Israel:

It’s just all I can do to keep from getting up and dancing… it’s a joy and a dream come true. If we are able to preach the gospel [in Israel] without reservation … it’s a major breakthrough.” —-(Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 18, 2006)

Torah observant leaders and activists tout pro-Israel Christian personalities around Israel as saviors, but fail to take the responsibility to effectively communicate Jewish sensitivities and limitations to these parties that are reaching out to Jews. Perhaps had Glenn Beck been given clear and unequivocal guidelines by his Jewish hosts, he would not have invited Jews to participate in an “uber-Christian” event, nor would he have featured known missionary personalities, who explicitly target Jews, at his “Restoring Courage” event this past summer in Israel.

There is reluctance on the part of rabbinic and Jewish community leadership to draw red lines or issue guidelines to govern the interfaith relationship. At the same time, Israeli legislators evade drafting effective counter-missionary legislation. It seems that nobody wants to alienate “good friends” who are not aggressively proselytizing but rather are “sharing their faith” through “outreach projects” to a very vulnerable Israeli populace.  That David Ha’ivri minimizes the spiritual threat which these missionaries present in Israel is indicative of a certain detachment from his own people, many of whom are spiritually thirsty and lacking a proper Jewish education or the means to respond to evangelical overtures.

Unfortunately, there are significant voices within the national religious camp who are naively heralding a new era in interfaith relations. Some of these people are calling for revolutionary openness and leniency in the Jewish approach to Christianity. Slapping a Jewish prophetic spin on this Christian theological fervor reeks of denial and jeopardizes the entire Jewish nation. Those who are embracing what they deem to be a “new Christianity” should keep in mind that the old Christianity is very much alive and well and operating in Israel, while the new deceptively mimics Judaism in its quest for historical Jewish roots.

Our unique commitments as Jews, and our obligation to keep a separation between faith communities, remains constant, whether the era be philo-Semitic or anti-Semitic. For even had Christians had been kind to us for two millennia, their fundamental beliefs would remain no less forbidden to us. Judaism clearly demands us to remember that, certainly for the Jew, Christianity (the belief in Jesus as lord and savior) is an irrefutable form of idolatry. The Torah’s prohibition against and rejection of idolatry is at the very core of Judaism.

If Israel is charged with being “a light unto the nations”, our leaders should not be in the business of assisting Christian pastors and ministers in perpetuating their doctrine. As Jews, it is our job and responsibility not to compromise, adapt or reconcile our beliefs in a way that could, G-d forbid, lead to spiritual assimilation. We should not be providing devout Christians with the tools to carve a more refined and polished image of their false lord and savior. And yet a steady parade of high-profile rabbis and political and community leaders are now regularly gracing numerous messianic “Hebraic Roots” Christian churches and ministries which are dedicated to “demonstrating Jesus’ centrality to Judaism and his inclusion in the Torah”. Nor should Jewish rabbis and leaders be hosting activities with those believers in Jesus who consider themselves part of the 10 lost tribes of Israel, with entitlement to equal inheritance of the Holy Land.  It is a mistake to believe that we Jews can teach gentiles Torah in a messianic Christian setting. These congregations are absolutely christ-centered. Everything they garner from Judaism is used to solely enhance their own belief system.

David Ha’ivri’s appearance two weeks ago with Tommy Waller on the missionary God’s Learning Channel (GLC) TV network, which strives to “help you see Yeshua (Jesus) in the Torah”, pushed the envelope into forbidden territory.

Mr. Ha’ivri is a committed Jew and Zionist who works tirelessly for his land and people. We count on people like him to uphold the physical and spiritual integrity of Eretz Yisrael. If our leaders choose to work with devout Christians, then they should be honest enough to acknowledge the problems and wise enough to use foresight, seek guidance, and draw red lines in such relationships.

 If Jewish organizations and Jewish leadership in Israel and the Diaspora continue to reap the benefits of Christian support while turning a blind eye to the missionary activity directed at those sectors of the Jewish people who are most vulnerable, then something has gone terribly wrong.  It is a betrayal of everything we stand for.

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About the Author: The writer is the Content and Research Director of Jewishisrael.com, an organization which takes a critical look at Israel’s alliances with fundamentalist Christian groups, and monitors evangelical missionary campaigns directed at the Jewish people


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19 Responses to “Counterpoint: Christian Zionists Are a Threat”

  1. B”H

    – There is only one way a gentile can become “righteous”: By accepting the Seven Noahide Laws upon himself, which is G-d’s universal message. The fact that the Yad Vashem museum issues “righteous gentile” certificates to those who help Jews is a purely secular exercise, usurping Jewish symbols and Jewish terminology for political, Zionist purposes. Halachicly gentiles do not become “righteous” by “loving us”. They become righteous by loving Hashem. The innovation, according to which the xtians’ love of the Jew is proof of their love of Hashem is false, false-false-false-false-false-false-false and false, in as much as they do not pray to Hashem. They pray to their man-god yeshu, therefore they hate Hashem and our G-d hates them. Therefore, we should categorically reject them, not because of what they do, but because of what they are! Besides, there is no way they can possibly love us, as Jews, if they hate Hashem. Ah sorry, there is one: They love us the way we “love” fish. We eat them.

  2. B”H

    Israel has 3 (three) enemies Avi, not 1 (one). Read “The Three Fronts War” http://thetorahrevolution.blogspot.com/2011/09/on-israel-is-threatened-on-three-fronts.html .

  3. Ms. Goldsmith,
    I’m very familiar with the category of “Righteous Gentile” and every time I sit down to write on this difficult subject, I make sure to recall the many Righteous Gentiles I have personally had the honor of knowing. That’s probably why I began the article the way I did.

    I can assure you that in the days prior to Israel’s love affair with the mega- evangelizing world, there was a dignified breed of Righteous Gentile defenders of the Jewish state who were equally devout and “biblically” inspired, but who had enough sense, sensitivity and respect for the Jewish people to keep their personal passion for christ to themselves. They were articulate, generous and active in rebuilding and securing Israel. They acknowledged the boundaries between faiths and their approach won them the love and respect from Jews across the political spectrum. This consequently served to unify and inspire the Jewish nation when it was most needed.

    BTW, they’re still out there and if we Jews take the initiative to set some limits and guidelines, I’m sure we will find them again.

  4. Shoshana Tunk says:

    Christian doctrine demands that Christians preach the gospel of Jesus to non-Christians, thus promoting idolatry which is expressly forbidden to Jews who believe in the one true God of the Torah. Therefore, Christians present a serious spiritual threat to Jews in the Holy Land of Israel. JewishIsrael is correct in issuing this warning. There should not be any idolatry in the holy land of Israel

  5. Moshe says:

    When will the world learn that Christian Zionism is NOT the same as Jewish Zionism?

  6. Gavriel Sanders says:

    As a former Christian Zionist and missionary in Israel myself, I validate Ellen Horowitz’s counterpoint. And I also take issue with Mr. Ha’Ivri’s love affair with Christian Zionists. He doesn’t know the real facts. As far back as the mid-70′s, I was part of Christian (evangelical) groups that supported Israel, courted Israeli leaders (I myself spoke to Yitzchak Rabin about this subject), and gave generously to Jewish causes to curry warm relationships with the Jewish state. While we loved Jews and Israel, we didn’t like Judaism. While we loved the Bible, we didn’t care much for the Torah. The Oral Law? Forget it. Irrelevant and man-made traditions, says the Christian Zionist. I have known many Christian Zionist leaders through the years. They all come from evangelical affiliations. “Evangelical” is a synonym for “missionary”. That’s a fact – not an opinion. Mr. Ha’Ivri is enchanted by Christian charm vs Jewish apathy and cynicism. I get that. But it’s still toxic and will ultimately come back to hurt him. What’s needed (and few push for it) is a formal declaration from Christian Zionist leaders to renounce missionary efforts to Jews, to validate Judaism and Torah observance as legitimate, and to stop supporting existing messianic efforts. But – they can’t do that. So it’s up to people like Ellen Horowitz to tell the uncomfortable truth that flies in the face of Mr. Ha’Ivri’s fantasy thinking. Mr. Ha’Ivri, I was there. I know it from the inside. Today I’m a Torah observant Jew – but back then, I would have told you what you want to hear to convince you I was one of Israel’s more ardent supporters. The irony is – I was – but with a hidden agenda to influence you toward belief in J.C. as your messiah.

  7. Thank G-d you published this. You should have never published Ha’ivri’s drivel though. Beyond being aligned with antisemitic Christian missionaries that target and harass Jews, the man has gone out of his way to try to breach the privacy, safety, and security of Jews involved with our effort. This is how much the missionaries have impacted him —to the point where he actually tries to bring harm to fellow Jews. Ironically, the page where his post appears is not loading correctly. Perhaps you should take that as a sign and issue a retraction, apology, and vow to never publish any writer who is bed with our enemies and who tries to bring harm to fellow Jews again.

  8. Ms. Horowitz clearly is one of many who do not recognize the unique catagory of chasidey oomot haolam, righteous gentiles. In fact,there are many Jews alive today due to evangelical Christians who saved the lives of Jews in the holocaust and even put their own lives on the line for that mission -of saving a life. No-one criticized them for it. Today, literally there are those that do life saving work in Israel to help restore and rebuild while many Jews sit apathetically back in their seats waiting for Mashich. Yes, there are missionaries and we have to be careful and screen and know what the agenda is for each and every Christian- but let’s not put them all in the same boat. Many Rabbis could actually learn from these pastors a thing or two about bringing the passion of the heartland of Israel to their pulpits.

  9. Ari says:

    How unfortunate that some people prefer to attack true activists and pioneers such as David HaIvri, instead of putting their differences aside and expending their energies on Israel’s enemies…

  10. Moshe says:

    I decided to comment with an article by Rabbi Meir Kahane:

    In the shadow of the cross by Rav Meir Kahane

    “Pidyon Shvuyin (Redemption of the Captured) takes precedence over the sustenance to the poor and their raiment. There is no greater Mitzvah than that of Pidyon Shvuyim … and he who turns his eye from redeeming him, transgresses the commandment: Thou shalt not harden thine heart and shalt not close thy hand… Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor”(Rambam, Hilchos Matnos Aniyim, 8:10).
    There are 100,000 of them. A tenth of a million Jews.A tenth of a million brothers and sisters. They come in terror and bewilderment, a million fears in their hearts and but one franc in their pockets. They come to the slums of Marseilles and Paris and Lyon; to the misery of ill paying, long hour employment; to the anarchy and wilderness of a non-existent communal life. They look for a synagogue and there is none, for a mikvah and none is to be found. They seek a school of Judaism for their children and their search is in vain, their call for the G-d of Israel falls on empty ears.
    “They” are the Jews, refugees from Algerian terror. The land of religious anarchy they come to is France. Crushed by grinding poverty, caught within the urban slums that know no synagogue or mikvah or even kosher meat store, their bodies and souls, both hang by a thread on the market place of the common, there available to the first bidder.
    Their children roam the streets. Not for them is the music of the Aleph Beis — for no Yeshiva graces their neighborhood; not for them is the melody of tradition — for no Talmud Torah has ever seen the grimy Light of the Parisian working district. Not for them is the helping hand of an established Jewish community — for they are “Shchorim,” darker skinned Jews, and wealth and assimilation flee from such “contamination”.
    The Friend
    But all hope is not lost. There is indeed a friend; there is still a compassionate neighbor; there is still one who seeks to help. The shadow of this friend is cast over each home; his beneficent hand is outstretched to every family; his overtures are extended to all who but desire them. Seek shelter under my shadow, it calls. Find help here, O Jews, it calls; find help and shelter beneath my shadow – the shadow of the Cross.
    The missionaries of the Church, like birds of prey they, sensing intuitively the opportunities waiting for them in this morass of poverty, misery and isolation. From house to house they come, priests and nuns, offering aid. Your child wanders the streets? We have schools and shelters and play centers for him. He lacks friends and companionship? We have games and songs and guides. He knows nothing of his holidays? Come, come to our Shavuos celebration, our Hanukah party (and perhaps also our fete de Noel). Whatever you lack — come, find it here, here in the shadow of the Cross.
    These words do not come easily and the phrases are measured. When the P’eylim organization, composed of young Bnei Torah giving of their time and energy and monies for the preservation of Torah especially among the youth, came with the story of the massive missionary efforts directed against North African Jews in France, the importance of finding the proper words, of painting the true enormity of the danger, was obvious.
    How to tell of the missionaries, garbed in long black coats and dignified beards, looking for all the world like roshei yeshivas, and hoping by this to deceive naïve refugees.
    How to write of the apostate Feldman, the traitorous Jew, who drags down souls of gullible Jews, to the depths of conversion?
    How to inform American Jews that at this moment there sit thousands within the shadow. Jewish children sitting beneath the Cross; the children of Abraham celebrating the Mass; the children of Isaac praising Mary; the children of Jacob praying the Rosary.
    How to cry out to Orthodox Jews, that at this moment a Jewish soul is being destroyed. That at this moment the Torah is spurned and the Gospel adopted, the rabbi forgotten and the priest begotten.
    How to reach religious Jews, we who are so full of self-satisfaction with our piety and our generosity, with our Sabbath observance and yarmulka wearing, with our synagogue attendance and UJA donation, that these souls are within our hands. How to let ourselves know, we satisfied ones, who intend to spend a pretty sum at a summer resort this year that these souls are going by default.
    If there were yeshivas in Paris — the missionaries would crumble! If here were Talmud Torahs in Marseilles — the Church would fail! If there were play centers and teachers in Lyon — the Cross-would fade! And above all, let us know, we satisfied ones, that the yeshivas and the Talmud Torahs and the teachers and the centers AND THE REDEMPTION are ours for the giving!
    Pidyon Shvuyim–the redemption of the captured, whether in body or soul, tales precedence over all. But it is of course more than merely a question of whether we will respond to a Mitzvah. It is more than a men test of the capacity of the community to meet a need.
    It is rather, above all, a test. It is a test of our souls, of our image. Are we indeed of the seed of Abraham — merciful and men of charity? Are we indeed worthy of the obligation implied in the name “Jew”? Are we capable of the dignity and sacrifice and holiness, which is our inheritance? In short, it is we who an on trial; our souls, our worth are weighed in the balance. May G-d save him, who is found wanting in this most crucial of tests. May our share be with him who responds to this greatest of Mitzvahs.

  11. Lisa Liel says:

    I’ve argued with David and others who want to cuddle up with missionaries, but they are adamant that they’re doing no such thing. They make excuses for the missionaries, saying that they’ve been “personally convinced” that there’s no intent to engage in missionary activity. The facts say otherwise.

    And it isn’t just Ha’Ivri. Danny Danon is a rising star in the Likud, and most of his views are extremely positive when it comes to Jewish rights in Eretz Yisrael. But he, too, is a lover of missionaries. There’s a reason we are commanded against flattery.

    http://lamrot-hakol.blogspot.com/2010/06/morality-of-flattery-and-christian.html

  12. DantheMan says:

    This comment is nutty.

  13. robert says:

    the Christian Zionists are in Israel in accordance with the dictates of their religion. So are a lot of Jewish immigrants from America etc.
    They should all go home.

  14. DantheMan says:

    Baruch Hashem, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
    Israel is the National Homeland of the Jewish People.

    Jewish People – return home – to Israel.

  15. Yonatan says:

    “When will the world learn that Christian Zionism is NOT the same as Jewish Zionism?”

    Exactly.

  16. Noni says:

    We’re here :) I am B’nei Noach. We are small in number but big in spirit. Thank you for writing this article.

  17. yehoshua shiloni says:

    YOU are nutty.

  18. yehoshua shiloni says:

    What David haIvri, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and the rest of the Christian “lovers of Zion” seem to forget that we are dealing here with an entire different pond of fish.
    The true “lovers of Zion” such as Orde Wingate, Hassiday Umot HaOlam during WW2, and one can include Harry Truman as well is that their “love” came with no conditions and no secret connections with “Hebrew Christians” and “Messianic” “jews”. They had NO hidden agenda accept the love of the Jewish people based upon their Christian love and understanding of the Bible. They did NOT seek our conversion, nor did they ever engage us in theological dialogues as these new lovers of Zion. In this lies their danger. There can be NO theological dialogue between Christians and Jews. While we should respect each other’s beliefs -as wrong as each side believes of the other- and build bridges of help, be it financial, social and even political, but NEVER EVER THEOLOGICAL.
    Today’s new lovers of Zion are not only supporters of the Hebrew Christian Missionaries in israel and throughout the world but they share the same vision, a “Judenrein” world where all Jews will become Christians, (or at least a small part of the Jewish people, but that’s another bunch of hogwash) according to their Pagan beliefs.
    If the likes of David Haivri want to be their friends, they should demand of their friends a very simple request, don’t support those who want to make us disappear, Spiritually OR Physically. If David and Shlomo can’t say that to their faces, then that just shows that deep down (and maybe not so deep after all) they either turn away from their people’s losses or simply don’t care. A thought which no Jew should ever have. Just OPEN YOUR EYES & HEARTS, WE ARE LOSING JEWS EVERY DAY in Israel, USA, Russia… because of these “friends”. Is it really worth for your Neshama to be an accomplice to a crime worse than what Hitler accomplished?~

  19. Thank you Ellen Horowitz for a well written and hard hitting article. The blinders worn by some Israeli political and religious leaders need to be removed. After working to educate Jews on this growing movement for more than ten years, I know how frustrating it can be. I live in the buckle of the, “Bible Belt” in North Carolina where Billy Graham Ministries and Sid Roth Ministries are now headquartered. The comments I receive when I talk about this problem range from not being interested to calling me an enemy of Israel.The positive responses are few and far between mostly coming from young people. I wish you and Jewish Israel success in your ventures.

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