HaModia, Kol Ha'Ir and Dati Dromi and Yeshiva World News website
Israeli Religious Newspapers Continue to Distort the Facts Behind My Comments
Reports that imply that I made claims that PM Benjamin Netanyahu has made promises to the Christian Community in 2009 NOT to back campaign promises he made to the Shas Party - namely that the next government would "examine the claims of an increase in illegal missionary activity in Israel” are a distortion of my actual comments.
For the Record
Here are the comments made by PM Netanyahu in 1997 that I referred to in my comments. Source is CNN website:
Statement from Prime Minister Netanyahu:
July 9, 1997
Web posted at: 2:02 p.m. EDT (1802 GMT)
"It has come to my attention that a bill before the Israeli parliament concerning possession of missionary literature has created a stir among our many Christian friends.
"I would like to assure you that this bill does not have the support of the Israeli Government. It was introduced as a private member bill by Mr. Nissim Zvilli of the Opposition Labor Party and Rabi Moshe Gafni of the Yahadut HaTorah Party. With fewer than thirty Knesset members present at the session, the bill succeeded in passing a preliminary reading in the Knesset. But to become law, it must pass three additional readings. The government strenuously objects to this bill and will act to ensure that it does not pass."
To date, several religious newspapers have carried reports that have mischaracterized my comments including HaModia, Kol Ha'Ir and Dati Dromi and Yeshiva World News website.
These kinds of distortions lay a foundation for stirring the religious to apply more pressure to the Prime Minister when the "examinations" are made into the claims of increased illegal missionary activites in Israel.
Take note of the truth, for the time it will be needed by believers in Israel coming under false accusation and undue persecution.
The following is my first response to the first misreporting of my comments in the HaModia newspaper.
April 1, 2009
Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Newspaper Misrepresents My Comments
On Monday I sent out a Prayer Priority for Arrows of Zion writing, “After my first trip to Israel in 2003 – one of three visits I’ve been able to make – I determined that if it ever came to a choice between me being able to visit Israel OR my continued association with the indigenous believers of Israel that I would not bat an eyelash that the priority was the Israeli Body of Messiah. I figured the time would come and it looks like that day is starting to arrive.”
On Tuesday reviewing the latest issue of the Caspari Media Review – a sort of clipping service that gleans the Israel Hebrew media for all references regarding the believers of Israel, Christians, anti-missionary activities, views of Christianity, and so forth, I ran across some quotes that almost sounded like my writing…but not quite.
The latest weekly issue summarized an article in the ultra-Orthodox Haredi daily newspaper, HaModia, or “The Informer”, translating quotes from the Hebrew:
HaModia (March 26) reported that that the "missionary" bulletin "Prayer for Israel" stated recently that "'[Binyamin] Netanyahu has promised us that he won't support any attempt on the part of the religious parties to pass a law stopping the activities of Israeli missionaries which is liable to prevent them from sharing their faith.'" Citing the "typical commentary" given by the bulletin, the article further cited it as saying, "'A radical right-wing government is a double-edged sword: while it safeguards Israel's national security, it doesn't protect the missionary organizations within the country. Our priority is naturally the protection of our fellow believers.'"
At first I didn’t recognize the writing as mine because the facts were misrepresented and words were used that I would never use, like referring to the “Israeli Jewish believers” as “missionaries,” a word freighted with evil connotation in the Israeli psyche.
What HaModia, The Informer – or shall we rather say, The Accuser – quoted is a misrepresentation of what I actually wrote in a prayer request forum on the message board of Francis Frangipane Ministries. This is to clarify.
First of all: I am not surprised that opposers of the gospel and of the indigenous Israeli believers have taken note of what I write. Nor am I concerned that ‘my cover is blown’ – that I may never again be able to clear entry to Israel at the Ben Gurion airport.
The thing I am concerned about is the false impression they are proposing to their own faithful readers that newly installed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made promises to Christians that he would not support any attempt of the religious parties to curtail the freedom of Israeli believers to share their faith.
My reference was to promises Netanyahu had made and broken in the past – the last time he was Prime Minister, in 1996-99, as I actually wrote on the Frangipane message board:
“Netanyahu in the past promised Christians worldwide that he would not back the religious parties' efforts to pass legislation that could lock up Israeli Jewish believers for sharing their faith....and then he crumbled when he needed the religious parties support. Soon after he was removed from office before his term was up. I believe it was the intervention of God on behalf of the believers because bills were being introduced relentlessly by religious parties during the Netanyahu administration.”
"Part of the current deal Netanyahu struck with the Haredi party Shas to get them into his coalition government, is that his Likud party guaranteed Shas that the next government would "examine the claims of an increase in illegal missionary activity in Israel.”
"This is the open door agreement Netanyahu struck as he handed control of critical Knesset Ministries over to the direction of the ultra-Orthodox, Shas.
"This is the same party that launched many attempts to criminalize the gospel in Israel during the last Netanyahu administration.
"It is not that Netanyahu himself has no respect for religious liberty, but that his natural allies in the national security issues of Israel – those he needs to hold his government stable – are deeply anti-gospel, anti-Jewish believers in Jesus. Push comes to shove, Netanyahu will sacrifice the believers in his reach for national security. Make no mistake, however, there will be no safety for an Israel that mistreats the Body of the Lord within it. All the peace for Israel is tied up in the ambassadors of the Prince of Peace in Israel."
To What Purpose?
I suspect the purpose of misrepresenting my comments to the religious Haredim (ultra-Orthodox), is to cause them to be more demanding of Netanyahu to fulfill his promises to let Shas pursue and persecute the indigenous believers in Israel, and the Christians who support them.
The misrepresentation is being spread in the Haredi world. I found this entry on the web at another ultra-Orthodox news site (“Tefilat Yisrael missionary site” is a reference to my prayer request here):
Report: Netanyahu Will Not Work to Halt Missionaries
March 25, 2009
Premier-designate Binyamin Netanyahu has promised not to support a bill by religious parties to further limit the activities of missionaries in Eretz Yisrael the Chadrei Chareidim website reports.
The report quotes the Tefilat Yisrael missionary site, which states the incoming prime minister has promised he would not lend support to a move to further limit activities of organizations such as theirs.
The organization praises Netanyahu’s commitment which they view as further distancing chareidi influence in national government. They express the hope the incoming prime minister will be strong enough to stand to his word against the pressures that will face his decision.
In a bold demonstration of the intent of the increased religious muscle in Israel, last week an evangelical family from Hong Kong was arrested at Ben Gurion airport, put in jail and told they would be sent back to Hong Kong on the next available flight. They were told by a Ministry of Interior clerk at the entrance terminal that they were suspected of "illegal missionary activity".
The main “anti-missionary” organization in Israel, Yad L’Achim, which pursues and persecutes the believers in Israel in a multitude of ways, recently was invited by the Chinese authorities to come teach in a conference Yad L’Achims’s anti-missionary techniques for fighting “destructive sects.”
In reports from two Israeli religious newspapers, the Yad L’Achim director is quoted as saying, "'If the Israeli authorities would only learn from the Chinese authorities how to struggle mightily against these dubious and dangerous sects, the missionaries would not dare lift their heads. Unfortunately, the Chinese have understood what people in Israel do not want to understand.'"
This is a wake-up call to Christians and Messianic Jews throughout the world to AWAKEN to the dangerous season our spiritual brothers and sisters in Israel have entered into. The Book of Acts never closed, and now that there are 10 to 15,000 indigenous Jewish believers in Jesus in Israel again, Acts is a continuing chapter being written in the pages of biblical history.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be an effective guardian of Israel’s right to exist, but he has failed in the past to protect the Israeli followers of Jesus right to exist. That should be of much greater concern to the Christian community than has ever been in manifest evidence.
Please stand in support of the believers in Israel, for their right to exist in the Jewish State and to worship according to their own conscience and faith.
Israel supporting Christians have turned a blind eye to the believers in Israel long enough – let us throw that compromise and indifference off and stand as we would have stood in the first century by the Israeli Jewish believers, Stephen, James, Peter, John, Philip, Barnabas, Paul and all the other saints of the kingdom of His Son.
Thank you for praying for our brothers and sisters in Israel according to Acts 4: 29-30:
Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants
that with all boldness they may speak Your word,
by stretching out Your hand to heal,
and that signs and wonders may be done
through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
The time to take a stand with the believers in Israel has come.