Photo Credit: Yad L'Achim photos
A team of missionaries hits the streets of Kiryat Malachi.

A Dutch Christian missionary group has been caught targeting children in the southern Israeli port city of Ashdod, which has the highest number of immigrants in the state.

Missionary activity is illegal in the State of Israel.

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According to the Yad L’Achim counter-missionary organization, the so-called “Beit Hillel” Center missionaries were seen handing out gift boxes to children in the local parks.

The gift boxes themselves currently do not contain missionary material, the organization added, but warned, “The writing is on the wall. From our past experience with the modus operandi of these missionaries we know they start off by winning the trust of these children and their parents and only then start inserting missionary material,” said an official with Yad L’Achim.

“The children often swallow the bait and agree to come and participate in children’s activities at the Christian missionary church.”

Despite several cases in which children and teens were even baptized, all family members ultimately turned to Yad L’Achim for help and after meeting with counter missionary experts, and the youths left the church.

It is important to be aware, however, that a large delivery of gifts was made to the Ashdod missionary church. Such methods are probably being used elsewhere around the country as well and it is likely their efforts to target children and immigrant families will be stepped up at least until the start of the school year.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.