Second Look news anchor Karen Newbach, “The Jewish Big Brother” with Noga Eitan Berenstein, the report producer
and segment research by Shuli Shvartz.
So grateful for the hard work of Maoz Ministries staff who provided the translation and added English sub-titles in Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
The following is a recap of the groundbreaking news program – not an exhaustive one but highlights – and includes some follow up comments by Israeli ministries. I am so glad the reporters saw the truth of how ominous the activities of Yad L'Achim are so the public will also have the opportunity to see if they agree with these self-appointed 'defenders' of 'purity' of the Jewish State.
Eddie Santoro, of Zion’s Glory ministry and Ahavat Yeshua congregation which is featured in the Part 2 segment, wrote: “Please pray for Noga, the woman who produced it. She told us she is expecting a backlash from this story. Also pray that those Israelis who heard the program will understand who we are and who are those who are against us, and that there would be a voice raised for justice in the land of Israel.” AMEN!
Please SHARE these important Israeli news videos on the anti-messianic campaign of persecution of the Body of Messiah in Israel. There has never been a more hard-hitting news report as this one that has been shown to the Israeli public. - Donna Diorio
"Opening the program, the Channel One anchor noted that at a recent Yad L’Achim rally, Messianic Jews were declared as dangerous to the Jewish nation as Hitler," Ryan Jones at Israel Today wrote. "Average Israelis may be indifferent at best toward their Jesus-following Jewish brethren, but their distaste for the domineering attitude and behavior of many in the Orthodox Jewish community has resulted in a new phenomenon of average “secular” Israelis coming to the defense of Messianic Jews."
Part 1 The first person featured in this news program as a Yad L’Achim target is not a believer, but an unidentified Israeli musician who sought out a church where she could go to practice on the organ. Yad L’Achim accused the pastor of the Ratisbonne Church in Jerusalem of trying to convert her, which “A” denies as a total fabrication. Because the church personnel in Israel are fearful of losing their visa status from Yad L’Achim accusing them to the Interior Ministry, they withdrew their previous open door policy for her to practice on the organ at the church. “A” received a letter telling her she was being investigated, received threatening phone calls and her parents also received a letter accusing her. She said she felt like she was being watched continually.
“They made me very paranoid. I felt like I was in a thriller-movie or science fiction. I never imagined that someone would follow me. I never imagined that they would prevent me from playing. I can’t believe that I can’t talk with a pastor or that I can’t meet with certain people…I tried to continue on with my life but it was difficult to not to always imagine that someone is watching me.” – “A,” young female musician in Jerusalem
The pastor of Ratisbonne Church was also followed and watched, with someone taking pictures of him. In January he was summoned for a hearing to discuss his possible deportation. He refused to be interviewed for the program out of fear of repercussions.
“Yad Lachim say they don’t give up on any Jewish person and act in a variety of ways to combat what they define as spiritual and demographic threats on the Jewish people,” the news program reports.
Voice of Rabbi Naria of Yad L’Achim: “We get information about people, sometimes through the internet, about ‘missionary’ work and we make sure that this information gets to the Ministry of Interior.”
The news voiceover says, "as a reminder, according to the law in Israel, missionary work is only prohibited when money or a bribe are offered"
Interviewed Ilan Gilon, MKnesset New Movement-Meretz says, “For the past ten days we’ve been trying to find information regarding this man’s case (the Ratisbonne pastor) and we can’t. Myself as a Knesset member can’t get a proper explanation from the Ministry of Interior.”
An administrator of the Interior Ministry is seen on-camera admitting they receive the accusations from Yad L’Achim which they act on.
MK Ilan Gilon comments, “I believe that Yad L’Achim is heavily integrated into the Interior Ministry.”
But Yad L’Achim head, Rabbi Shalom Dov Lipshitz counters, "The government is using democracy in order to not do what it is supposed to do. They need to decide if this is a Jewish country or a democracy. But they don't always go together....they are not friends. Democracy which contradicts the Torah is not a good match."
Jerusalem Institute of Justice attorney Calev Myers, "This whole system of spying and gathering information and bringing it to administrators at the Interior Ministry. They then interrogate people in odd ways and in dark rooms – these are methods which are reminiscent of dark governments. This should not happen in a democratic country."
News Journalist Voice Over: "We are told at the Jerusalem Institute of Justice which represents persecuted religious minorities in Israel due to the connections between Yad L'Achim and the Interior Ministry, they have requested an investigation to find out what is not so Kosher in the connection between these two organizations.
Contacted by Israelprayer today (4/5/11), Calev Myers confirmed that the news report was referring to a February 2010 filing with the Israeli Attorney-General, Yehuda Weinstein, Request to Dismantle the Yad L'Achim Organization. Myers added that the Jerusalem Institute of Justice would be submitting another initiative soon.
Part 2 News anchor Karen Newbach remarks of the musician “A’s” experience, “That story could have been a minor case, a private case, if there wasn’t the link between the Ministry of Interior and Yad L’Achim which gives the information and takes steps against Israeli civilians.”
Asher Intrater of Revive-Israel and Ahavat Yeshua congregation wrote in a follow this week, "While the purpose of the program was certainly not evangelistic, it did contain some clips of the ministry team at Revive Israel, of worship at Ahavat Yeshua congregation, and of Asher teaching about the New Covenant from Jeremiah 31." (B’rit Hadashah: the Torah written on our hearts)
"The main debate,” Intrater rightly notes was the focus for the news journalists, “centered around the issue of democratic rights in Israel versus Jewish religious identity.“
“The program was a major victory concerning religious freedom, but was not able to handle the more complex issues of religious identity. That spiritual battle still awaits us in the future," Intrater wrote in his Revive-Israel prayer letter this week.
Part 2 opened with chilling footage shot by a Maoz Israel photographer at the Yad L’Achim protest in Ashod against the Messianic congregation in Ashdod in February 2011. Giving speeches against Messianic believers, the leaders of the protest made many extreme false accusations against the congregation of 150, equating them with Hitler and Nazis.
In juxtaposition, there were segments of actual Messianic congregational worship services.
Avner and Rachel Boski were featured touching on the religious identity issue, as the news voice over noted of the Boski’s, they “believe that the Messiah has already been here, and that his name is Yeshua. They believe there is no problem believing in him and remaining Jews.”
Also prominently featured in part 2 was the story of a young Messianic Jew, Yarden Eliashiv, who was born blind and of whom the report says, “is in the category of the ‘pure souls’ to whom Yad L’Achim tries to show ‘the way.’
Yad L’Achim picked up Yarden telling her they were taking her on a trip, but not telling her where. She was taken to the Yad L’Achim office in Bnei Brak for someone to talk to her. Yarden said, “I didn’t want to talk, but I was there already, and I was unable to go anywhere by myself.“
Yarden said, “He kept telling me that I was not a Jew. He told me that I was in a cult, that I was doomed, and that God doesn’t like that. That I would be doomed if I continue to be there. God would punish me. It was really difficult for me. I remember that I cried because I didn’t know what to do.”
“I had books of the New Testament in braille, which are very hard to find,” she said. “There aren’t books like those in Israel. You have to bring them from the USA. They came into my room in the place where I used to live then, and without my knowledge they simply took them.”
The anchor of the program says, "This is a large phenomenon and touches on the privacy rights and safety of those who's faith may be different.
Other Israeli Messianics featured in part 2 included Asher Intrater, head of the Revive Israel ministry, and the Jerusalem-area Messianic congregation Ahavat Yeshua. Intrater said it is not right to refer to Messianic Jews as missionaries, at least not without applying the same label to Orthodox groups like Yad L’Achim.
“We are not ashamed of our faith, and will share it with anyone who asks,” said Intrater. “But we don’t pressure or coerce anyone.”
“The truth,” Intrater pointed out, “is that the Orthodox Jews proselytize a hundred times more than we do.”
Pnina Conforti, whose popular Ashdod bakery has been repeatedly targeted by Yad L’Achim was featured. Pnina’s bakery was stripped of its Kashrut certification, even though the Supreme Court ruled in her favor that there is no link between her Messianic faith and the Kosher status of her business.
Pnina says of Rabbi Sheinin, whose vile accusations are heard in segments of the Asdod protest footage, “He said that he’d rather be hang on a tree than give me back my certificate!”
The guest house Yad Hashmonah has been under attack by Yad L’Achim for many years,” the report noted.
Efrat Touboul, Yad Hashmona Guest House reports that Yad L’Achim puts pressure on the Rabbinate that gives the Kosher certificate so that they’ll do as Rabbi Sheinin did, denying the certificate to Yad Hashmonah.
Itai Meiron, Yad Hashmona Guest House, “They try to muddy our name, saying that we are missionaries, that we are dangerous. Actually we are in a continuous state of war, defending ourselves. This is what is happening. Instead of managing a business, in an ongoing way, as any other business, we are in constant conflicts with them.”
The report also covers the fact of the admission to police of confessed murderer Jack Teitel that he worked with Yad L’Achim.
Teitel is the man who attempted to murder of the Ortiz family by planting a bomb at their doorstep near the Purim 2008 holiday. Their 15-year old son Ami, who opened the package, was miraculously spared death by God and continues to marvel all who understood the extent of damage done by the bomb blast.
Rabbi Shalom Dov Lipshitz, Yad L’Achim head: “Some people come from abroad, who are missionaries and they register themselves as Jews. Later on we discover that they aren’t Jews, but they are Messianic Jews. He is not a Jew! He came here and told lies.
The reporter asks, “How do you know?” Lipshitz answers, “We know. We have connections in Israel and abroad.”
JIJ Attorney Calev Myers, “What does it mean to label people as “suspicious of being missionaries?”
"If someone really does something against the law," Calev Myers says, "breaking existing laws concerning 'missionary work,' then this is a case for the police. But a clerk in the Interior Ministry cannot tag citizens denying them their rights based on dubious information."
"There is a very specific procedure," Myers said, "instituted by Mr. Ophir Pines, when he was Minister of Interior. The Interior Ministry is forbidden to receive information from non-governmental, non-formal institutions, and then make decisions base on this information.
Knesset Member Ilan Gilon referring to the Yad L’Achim accusations against the Messianics, "We are talking about fighting sects? He himself (referring to accusations made by the Yad L'Achim head) is a kind of sect, a very dangerous one and we are very concerned and worried that groups like that are the ones operating the formal institutions that govern the State of Israel."
Scene switches to the speech of the Chief Rabbi of Ashdod, Yosef Sheinin in a recent demonstration against the Messianic congregation in Ashdod.
Part 3 opens with officials statements from both the Interior Ministy and Yad L’Achim, Rabbi Lipshitz taking the opportunity to say of Messianic Jews: “Hitler’s end goal was to destroy the Jews physically. The Messianic Jews are trying to do the same thing only spiritually. The goal of both of these groups is the same.
Despite the highly inflammatory speeches against Messianic Jews in this report alone, Rabbi Lipshitz disavows they are stirring up violence against Messianics, as the anchor reports Sheinin says that there is no subversion towards violence. This is well known political tactic called Plausible Deniability. (wink, wink; nod, nod)
Anchor Karen Newbach turns immediately then to a revealing debate conducted by between Knesset Members Michael Ben Ari, National Union Party and Nitzan Horowitx, New Movement-Mertz Party.
Right off the bat, Newbach asks religious MK Ben Ari, “Do you think it is acceptable that Yad L’Achim is acting like a private militia?”
“This activity does not exist in a vacuum,” Ben Ari responds. "It comes in response to a world of Christianity. Christianity has set itself a goal to erase Judaism from the world. They cannot survive with Judaism."
Nitzan Horowitz, of the New Movement-Meretz Party said, “I think this needs to be investigated. There is a suspicion of illegal activity and the police need to check these. The problem is that we have a terrible intermingling between the state and religion."
“I get many complaints about harassment all over the country in all places,” Horowitz admitted. “Unfortunately most of the complaints I get are about Jewish orthodox groups. But this is considered acceptable. But these other people who are chased and harassed - I’m not talking about actual missionary work – I’m talking about people that have protests outside their house, and have their property vandalized and graffiti. Their life is simply turned into hell.”
“In Israel,” Horowitz says, “we are supposed to have freedom of religion, but this is not what happens.”
“We are not being threatened by Christianity. If we are to discuss religious persecution in Israel, it’s coming out of our own people. They sit in this government. And this is the problem when mixing religion with government."
One has to see the debate for themselves. It will not translate without viewing it yourself.
As Ryan Jones at Israel Today noted, “Horovitz and the anchor were openly agitated by the Ben-Ari’s defense of Yad L’Achim’s actions and his insistence that believers in Yeshua pose a threat to the Jewish state by simple virtue of their faith.”
“I receive far more complaints of missionary activity by Orthodox Jewish organizations!” MK Horovitz exclaimed. “They are constantly looking for enemies.”
Donna Diorio for Israelprayer: I would just add that as I viewed the videos again today preparing this recap, once again I was struck at the similar arguments that are presented in the U.S. and Israel debates between the ‘Religious Right” and the “Seculars.” It never ceases to amaze me how the arguments are the same, but the dynamics behind the arguments are totally different.
In Israel, the Religious Right position actually opposes the will of God – which is that every man has the freedom to choose to believe or disbelieve. Most Israel-supporting Christians do not seem to understand how great a difference there is between the religious right concerns in the USA, and those in Israel.
It struck me today that Israel is not only the proverbial “canary in coal mine” regarding radical Islam’s dominion aspirations, but Israel is also the “canary in the coal mine” regarding spiritual issues.
Specifically I mean the line we can cross between honoring freedom of individual choice and forcing our convictions on others. When the Religious Right decides it has the right to force what it considers the will of God upon every man, then the march toward Totalitarianism has begun in earnest.
There is a line we can cross between seeking godly representatives in our governments and godly laws governing our nations, that can tip over into a demonic suppression of God-given freedom of choice. This is the line that Israel is debating in this news report. It is the line that the Nazi Party crossed and it is also the line that Americans could be deceived into crossing in backlash to the ungodly Liberalism we are battling in our current political tug of war of the last 50 years or so.