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I traveled from my home in the southern Negev to the town of Kiryat Netafim in Samaria to attend an important anti-missionary conference. Despite the distance, I saw my presence as obligatory since the problem that precipitated the conference is largely unknown. Israel is a society of geologically fragmented regions, and even more-so, of fragmented Jewry. What happens in one corner of the country is often little known elsewhere. Labels and categories are the obsession. People tend to identify more closely with those whose religious/political/socio-economic/regional experiences match their own. In some ways, the Shomron is even more isolated than the underdeveloped Negev. While the current missionary problem in Samaria has its own distinct features, it is still relatively unknown to most Jews. Nevertheless, the repercussions of this spiritual danger will be universal if we fail to address it at this critical juncture.

The conference was organized by Shomron residents Yekutiel Ben Yaakov and Ezra Stein, who have seen firsthand the catastrophe of local missionary activity. The event featured speeches from prominent rabbonim, Rabbi Yehudah Richter of yishuv Elon Moreh, Rabbi Yoel Shwartz, Rabbi Elhanan Bin Nun, and veteran anti-missionary activist Mina Fenton. The prominent anti-missionary organization Jewish Israel gave a comprehensive video presentation which provided in-depth analysis of the problem. I will try to provide a synopsis of several salient features of the event.

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It should be noted that although the conference was originally scheduled to be held at the Eshel HaShomron Hotel in the nearby town of Ariel, the hotel belatedly cancelled the event under pressure from local missionaries. Event organizer Yekutiel Ben Yaakov is currently taking legal action against the hotel, for breach of contract.

The reader may wonder why the hotel felt the need to take such an aggressive approach and buckle under pressure. Yekutiel Ben Yaakov, who introduced the speakers, began by “thanking” the Eshel Hashomron hotel for canceling the event, since the cancelation generated more publicity for this unknown issue. He informed the audience that the brochures advertising the conference spoke specifically of the threat of “Christian missionaries” as the focus of the conference. This being the case, even if the management of the hotel was partaking of halachically problematic x-tian tourism in the region (and they are), the event was clearly targeted at those who are spiritually targeting Jews for conversion. Those who are not involved in missionizing should naturally have felt no threat from the flyer. What compelled them to pressure the hotel to cancel the conference? And why did the hotel management cave in under such unreasonable demands?

The answer is obvious. The missionaries are afraid. They know that the truth will hurt them. And they are correct. When the masses finally become privy to their plans, there will be hell to pay; for the evangelicals, and for those who enable them.

The New Danger

Most Torah committed Jews are aware of the many well-funded missionaries in Israel, who prey on vulnerable Jews. Baruch Hashem, there is no dearth of organizations trained to deal with these overt groups, and to assist those who are easy prey for their deception. It is a generally accepted truism that religious Jews of sound mind are relatively safe from the influence of missionaries. Anyone with a basic Yeshiva background understands that these missionaries distort the Torah to spread their agenda. They primarily prey on those who are emotionally vulnerable. For many yeshiva guys, the question is often whether to engage with them or not. (The question of whether or not an untrained Yeshivah guy should even waste his time dealing with irrational missionaries is an issue I will not address.)

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63 COMMENTS

  1. Yisrael,
    He hasn't. Jewish Israel reports that they were sent a representative. Let him sit down and have a proper respectful discussion. Let him consider the evidence for himself.
    Who threatened him?

  2. Donny Fuchs those who need to know know and I won't smear people unnecessary. the Rabbis involved know who they are. He has met with who he needs to meet on this issue with those who oppose his views. So, again, you are an undependable source for the actual facts.

  3. Avraham Goodman writes that proselytzing is against the law. Not exactly: "מתן הטבות כפיתוי להמרת דת (תיקון מס' 1) תשל"ח-1977
    174א. הנותן או מבטיח לאדם כסף, שווה כסף או טובת הנאה חמרית אחרת כדי לפתות אותו להמיר דתו או כדי שיפתה אדם אחר להמיר דתו, דינו – מאסר חמש שנים או קנס 50,000 לירות."

  4. ARROGANT??? What's so arrogant about pointing out you lied by writing "As of today, this distinguished Torah scholar has yet to sit down with concerned Jews representing professional anti-missionary organizations, who want to present their evidence to him." A TOTAL BLATANT AND CHUTZPADIK LIE! I sat with Rav Melamed in his office when he met with Rabbi Daniel Asor for nearly 3 hours! Is he not enough of a "concerned Jew" for you? Is he not "professional" enough?

  5. Yisrael, surely you don't think it is healthy to have hundreds of Xtians living amongst us, for weeks, sometimes months and some even have succeeded in gaining permanent residence here in yishuvim, The hill in Bracha was once a Jewish hill. Now all the Jews have left to be replaced with goyim…many of Waller's volunteers have gone public stating their missionary agenda. This should be a no-brainer for anyone who is against assimilation and missionaries, despite their pro-settlement rhetoric. We all know that many love the Jews and Israel as that is part of their theology. Jews return to Israel and must accept jesus and then redemption can come to the world and we will all be saved. No thanks i don't need their type of salvation. I don't want their presents for souls mission, even if it means sour grapes. Better sour grapes than stolen Jewish souls.

  6. Donny Fuchs you have no evidence of anything I have asked you to be specific about in replying to my questions. Don't you realize that you can have an opinion but we all need to share the facts and if you can't, you can't hold me to your opinion.

  7. Yonaton, Rabbi Melamed is one Rabbi, while Rav Levanon, Rav Chai, Rav Rosenzweig, Rav Nechushtan, Rav Tawil, Rav Ben Nun, and many other local scholars have come out firmly against this. As someone who has tried to get information, reliable information to Rav Melamed over the years ohn this subject, i can tell you that he has not been very receptive to hear the facts. Naturally Waller tells Rav melamed that he has done teshuiva and that all of his volunteers sign on a form not to engage in missionary activities.

    They are liars and Rabbi Melamed has been tricked. Many of Waller's volunteers, inspite of having been warned by waller and briefed how to talk, openly engage in missionary activities. Maybe they sit quiet in Bracha, but they are very active on their tour days in Jerusalem and elsewhere…They cantg help themselevs that is thE essence of their beliefs.tHEY BOAST THIS ON MANY BLOGS AND PERSONAL TESTIMONIES ONLINE.

    WOULD YOU TRUST DOZENS OR HUNDREDS OF ARAB TERRORISTS IF THEY SAID THEY DID TESHUVA? WOULD YOU LET THEM INTO YOUR TOWNS? YOU ARE A FINE FELLOW BUT LET US BE HONEST WITH OURSELVES – WALLER AND HIS ILK HAVE AN AGENDA. AND WE HAVE NO BUISINESS BRINGING THEM INTO OUR "SETTLEMENTS" BY THE HUNDREDS. THIS IS CRAZY!

  8. Yisrael, Yonatan, stop playing games. He needs to sit down with Jewish Israel, the most public vocal voice on this issue. These are the professionals I am referring to. (As if you didn't know.) I cannot comment on the meeting with the above referenced Rav.
    Simple Question. Will Rav Melamed sit down with Jewish Israel? Yes or no? Answer the question.
    With the two of you and your ilk hiding the Rav from the truth, I would venture to say that it is unlikely. Unless enough people demand it.
    You have a sin on your hands, that threatens Am Yisroel in a way that we have never seen before in religious circles. Thanks to you.

    http://jewishisrael.ning.com/profiles/blogs/a-jewishisrael-statement-of-concern-regarding-rav-melamed-s-posit

  9. Yisrael, Yonatan, stop playing games. He needs to sit down with Jewish Israel, the most public vocal voice on this issue. These are the professionals I am referring to. (As if you didn't know.) I cannot comment on the meeting with the above referenced Rav.
    Simple Question. Will Rav Melamed sit down with Jewish Israel? Yes or no? Answer the question.
    With the two of you and your ilk hiding the Rav from the truth, I would venture to say that it is unlikely. Unless enough people demand it.
    You have a sin on your hands, that threatens Am Yisroel in a way that we have never seen before in religious circles. Thanks to you.

    http://jewishisrael.ning.com/profiles/blogs/a-jewishisrael-statement-of-concern-regarding-rav-melamed-s-posit

  10. Yisrael, if i bring you evidence that waller in the past and his people in the present speak openly about their missionary agenda, will that be sufficient to enlist you to join in the battle against them. Battle i mean ideological battle and efforts to convince Jews not to fall into their trap and not to facilitate them being welcomed into "settlements" or in helping to extend their visas etc? Just say the word and i will fetch you matgerial in their own words? will you really completely change your position. Ko Jakavod, if so and i will post some of thos links. Some have yet to be removed and polished…

  11. Yisrael, if i bring you evidence that waller in the past and his people in the present speak openly about their missionary agenda, will that be sufficient to enlist you to join in the battle against them. Battle i mean ideological battle and efforts to convince Jews not to fall into their trap and not to facilitate them being welcomed into "settlements" or in helping to extend their visas etc? Just say the word and i will fetch you matgerial in their own words? will you really completely change your position. Ko Jakavod, if so and i will post some of thos links. Some have yet to be removed and polished…

  12. You wrote: Why won’t Rabbi Eliezer Melamed sit down with committed religious Jews, who are experts in anti-missionary work, without the obvious impediment of a biased intermediary?
    Biased? Do you know this intermediary? What is this conclusion based on? Were you privy to his discussion with Jewish Israel and/or with his subsequent discussion with R. Melamed? I would be very concerned about calling an intermediary "biased" without knowing who he is. There is a lot of ASSUMING going on here.
    You wrote: (It may interest the reader to know that the Jewish representative who sat down with Hayovel in Rabbi Melamed’s stead, is Facebook friends with the notorious Ken Groat.)
    I see, guilt by association. Because someone is friends on Facebook with a person who is suspected of being a missionary, that means he is also a missionary? Hmmm. I don't think most people use Facebook that way and automatically agree with everything that each of their "friends" post. I personally have Facebook friends who are anti-Israel, who live in the Palestinian Authority, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Does that mean that I'm anti-Israel too?

  13. Yekutiel Guzofsky let's be more specific; a) bring me proof that a christian volunteering through HaYovel, or any group for that matter, is actively engaged in proselytizing and I will insure that stops. b) as I already published in Hebrew and hopefully tomorrow in English, i have a different approach to the subject of the "foreigner who comes".

  14. I read your link, Donny. It did not convince me that Mr. Groat is a missionary. It would be foolish to believe that these Christians do not believe in Jesus. After all, they are Christians. Nevertheless, Rav Melamed accepts them as volunteers in the Shomron. If you, or anyone you know can show that Hayovel volunteers are actively engaging in missionizing, i.e. spreading Christian doctrine to Jews while on the Hayovel program, I will be the first to bring this information to Rav Melamed's immediate attention and request that he re-evaluates his stand on Hayovel. The fact that your link (as most of the J. Israel material does) shows that Hayovel members believe that they are somehow part of Israel, that they believe that their Messiah will come to Jerusalem, and the like, it does not show that they are missionaries. I guarantee you that all of the Jewish Israel material that was presented to Rav Melamed's intermediary was then given directly to Rav Melamed. He maintained his previous decision regarding Hayovel, despite the material being shown to him.
    Oh yeah, and I'm still not so sure why you believe that Rav Melamed's intermediary is biased. I know first hand that he has absolutely no financial or other gain from Hayovel. It would be a shame to make a false accusation against a fellow Jew during this time, 2 days before the day of Judgment.

  15. ok bli neder i will bring you such proof. It is late now and i have yet much to do, but you will receive your proof. I have saved much material that i will sift through. I have seen clear proof. However, over and beyond making your effort to stop x y or z from their missionary activities and pledges, hopefully you will also understand from the proof that it is not enough to attack x y znd z's activities, especially when it is waller and company who have brought them here through Hayovel.

  16. is their not some sort of saying, "tell me who your friends are and i will tell you who you are". or don't befireind the evil and distance yourself from them." or matza min et mino..the equivalent of birds of a feather flock together. i would suggest you be more careful who you break bread with and who you befriend.

  17. Actually, in reality, there is a difference between a real friend and a Facebook "friend." Facebook is a platform for sharing ideas, and as a result, I have an open policy that whoever wants to "friend" me is accepted, without checking if he or she is an observant Jew. I know that some people choose to use Facebook for other purposes. Like Mr. Fuchs, for example, uses it for "cyberstalking." That is how he was able to make that statement above "It may interest the reader to know that the Jewish representative who sat down with Hayovel in Rabbi Melamed’s stead, is Facebook friends with the notorious Ken Groat." So to each his own. I don't think I'd hire Mr. Fuchs as a private investigator after his "research" that I've seen in preparing this article.

  18. Yes, indeed, Yisrael Medad, if one follows the logic of Donny Fuchs, and Yekutiel Guzofsky, since he is not keeping distance from the stones in the picture, and is even touching them, it is clear that Donny Fuchs is a stone worshipper. Another irrefutable proof to this (Fuchs style) is in Mr. Fuchs' bio, which clearly states, "He has a keen passion for the flora and fauna of Israel and enjoys hiking the Negev desert." There you have it. Enjoying hiking in the desert = loving stones = worshipping stones. After all, I'm intellectually honest, and processing what my eyes, ears, and nose are telling me, as Mr. Fuchs recommends.

  19. Gentlemen, please.
    It really pains me and the team at JewishIsrael to see the tone of some of the comments here.
    So, if I can just shed some light on a few issues.

    The classic definition of a missionary is a member of a religious group sent on a faith-based mission into an area or foreign country to minister or serve in such fields as education, social justice, health care and economic development, with the hope of influencing and drawing others close to their beliefs. Proselytizing is but one means of an entire gamut of missionary activities.

    Christian evangelicals are missionaries who by definition and obligation are christocentric, biblicist, conversionist and missional.
    The name of the game, as stated in the new testament, is to break down the barrier separating Jews and Christians.

    Yes, the Wallers and their volunteers are classic missionaries who are here to serve Jewish farmers and to break down the theological walls separating Jew and Christian. They have said as much. And yes, a number of their volunteers are engaged in missionary activities directed at the Jewish people.
    The Wallers and Jewish leadership are directly collaborating with organizations and individuals whose stated raison d’etre is to convert Jews. And it’s hit an all- time low.
    http://jewishisrael.ning.com/page/tommy-waller-and-david-rubin-collaborate-with-missionary-myles-we

    [Note: I’m using this particular link because the material is current, from the past year, and because back in 2005 I alerted Yisrael Medad to the problem of David Rubin’s involvement with Myles Weiss in Shiloh. At that time Yisrael agreed with me over those concerns and relayed them to David. Didn’t help much].

    Any Jewish leader who thinks they have the power to harness and control evangelical passion is simply playing with fire- a very strange fire indeed.

    At the very least the leaders in Yehuda and Shomron should have the integrity to admit to their own communities that, "Yes, for what we consider to be the good of the yishuv, we made a decision to partner with hundreds of Christian missionaries. But they have assured us that they will not proselytize or share their faith with you – at least not here in this community. But we don't have control over what they do and what their plans are for the rest of Am Yisrael".
    This would be the honest thing to do. And the next step would be a thoughtful and thorough civil debate among rabbis, community and political leaders, because this is not a simple matter.

    On Behalf of JewishIsrael, Shana Tova.
    Ellen Horowitz, Research and Content Director

  20. Thank you, Ellen Horowitz. This is a complicated relationship with so many nuances, and I appreciate your ability to simplify the core problems. Kol Hakavod to you and the rest of the staff at Jewish Israel.

    A Gmar Tov to all of Am Yisroel, and to all righteous gentiles who sanctify HIS name.

    Shana Tova!

  21. The chalange in putting our faith first in God and not in man, no matter who he is.
    Attempts to sanctify Gods name with that ego of I know better and I am right. Will only cause greater blasphemy.

  22. If missionizing isn't against the law, it should be. Anyone who doesn't understand the missionary mentality is being purposely obtuse. When Israel allows something like the Joseph Project onto its land, and permits these people access to Jewish homes unaccompanied on the pretext of bringing charity, it tells me that you all don't have a CLUE. If an organization like MJAA wants to help, they should give the money to a government agency to be distributed with absolutely NO CONTACT by an MJAA person or a xtian government mule with the recipients. Being familiar with MJAA and their tactics, if they are prevented from getting to your people, the donations will dry up, and they will try another avenue of deceit.

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