Quick action by Yad L’Achim forced Israel Radio to pull a cleverly disguised missionary ad from its Russian-language programming.
The ad, which began airing two weeks ago on Radio Reka, Israel Radio’s foreign language station, set off warning bells at Yad L’Achim. The ad claimed to offer a solution to emotional distress and offered to send a booklet to listeners who called in. The name of the booklet? “The Power to Change,” with a subheading, “He changed me.”
Those who phoned in were asked to provide additional contact information and sent what turned out to be a missionary booklet that included Christian preaching urging faith in “that man.” It also called on people to be sure to “share the message of faith” with their friends.
Yad L’Achim’s counter-missionary department sprang into action, contacting its legal counsel, Doron Beckerman, who sent a letter to the management of Radio Reka demanding that they immediately pull the advertisement.
“Over the past few days you have been airing missionary ads in your broadcasts,” Beckerman wrote. “Clause 7 of the Israel Broadcasting Authority bylaws cites a list of advertisements that cannot be aired, which includes those coming from missionaries and cults. You are therefore asked to put an immediate halt to the airing of these ads, otherwise my client will be forced take all legal steps at his disposal.”
The response wasn’t late in coming. Mr. Alexander Marbin, the radio station’s direction, wrote Beckerman that he had ordered that the missionary ads be pulled.
Yad L’Achim said in response that it would continue to monitor missionary activities that aim to further their goal of persuading Jews to convert out of their religion, noting that the campaign is in full swing in many communities throughout Israel.