Friday, November 14, 2014

A Vision of The Temple Mount, A Menacing Dragon, And A Season of Increasing Shakings

A Vision of The Temple Mount,
A Menacing Dragon,
And A Season of Increasing Shakings

[NOTICE: In recent Updates we have focused on a threatening surge of unrest and contention which has been steadily increasing on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and in Muslim nations (particularly Jordan) related to Israel's attempts to contain the unrest there. This week we submit for your prayerful consideration what we see to be an extremely timely prophetic Word released this week by Rick Ridings regarding this volatile situation. Rick with his wife Patti are founders and directors of Succat Hallel, a 24/7 house of worship and intercession, which faces the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. -Martin Sarvis, Jerusalem] 

RICK RIDINGS: On 21 October, 2014, during our worship in Succat Hallel, I saw a vision of a huge black dragon that was circling in a menacing manner above the Temple Mount here in Jerusalem. Each time it breathed fire from its mouth, violence was released on the Temple Mount. But I knew this time it was planning something really much larger. Suddenly I saw in the heavens two words: "NOT NOW". Then a huge foot descended from the heavens and pinned the dragon to the ground. Next, the Lord reached down and put shackles on the dragon's feet and imprisoned the dragon in the underground mosque on the southeast corner of the Temple Mount. As I was seeing this in the vision, our worship leader started singing from Psalm 149 about us through high praise putting the kings in chains and the nobles in shackles.

Next, I saw the Lord's hand put a lock on the door to where the dragon was imprisoned, and then put a lock on it with a timer, seeming to indicate it would be released to do something quite "big" in the timing of the Lord, but that now was not the time.

Then the hands of the Lord continued to shake and thresh the Temple Mount in a flat threshing basket, as I had seen in previous visions on 17 June and 14 October. The Lord was tossing the Temple Mount into the air in a way similar to the ancient threshing method of tossing grain into the air, after which the chaff would be blown away by the wind, and the good grain would fall into the threshing basket. I felt the Lord was speaking, "This is still a season in which I am sifting and discerning the hearts of men and nations". I realized He was showing mercy to those who really were searching for truth and righteousness. Even on the Temple Mount, in the midst of the shakings, water came out from between the stones, splashed into the eyes of those Muslims who were sincerely seeking righteousness, and washed away deception, and opened their eyes to Jesus as Messiah, Savior, and Lord. 

Then on 29 October, a Palestinian attempted to assassinate Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who had just given a lecture to a small group in the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, expressing his belief that Jews and Christians should also be allowed to pray on the Temple Mt., and not only Moslems, as is the status quo. Four shots were fired into him at point-blank range. Miraculously, he not only survived, but is recovering. His Palestinian killer was from the neighborhood (Abu Tor) in which we have our 24/7 prayer and worship center, Succat Hallel. He fired back at the police when they tried to capture him, and was killed in the ensuing shootout. Many predicted the next few days would be a time of huge violence and the start of a new "intifada" (uprising) in Jerusalem, similar to what took place in 2000, and was followed by four years of numerous suicide and bus bombings in Jerusalem. We strongly prayed into the words from my Oct 21 vision "Not Now! On Saturday 1 November, great violence was predicted, but rain fell quite heavily in the morning. (News sources even credited the rain with helping to calm down the situation.) That afternoon, in Succat Hallel we were singing over Jerusalem: "His love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on you. It's higher than the mountains that you face, and stronger than the power of the grave." At that exact moment, a huge rainbow appeared, and seemed to be touching the Temple Mount!

Then on 4 November, I had another vision concerning the dragon in which I saw the dragon shrieking, and trying to break out of the dungeon in which it had been imprisoned. I saw a rainbow hammer come down to make the door even more secure. But I saw the dragon was sending frog-like demon spirits from its mouth (similar to what is described in Revelation 16:13). These spirits were going into various terrorist leaders and giving them words to incite to terror. The same spirits were also working through characters on Muslim children's television, inciting them to violence, urging them to "Kill the Jews". I felt the Lord say we were to ask Him as the Judge of the Universe to give a "gag and restraining order" to silence the dragon for this time period. I saw a throne with seven lions down each side, and the Lamb in the middle. As the Lord gave this restraining order, I then saw believing children in the Middle East who were worshipping the Lamb. Then angels began to go to Muslim children and whisper in their ears: "Love the Jews".

In a strong confirmation, I was asked to share at a meeting here in Jerusalem on 6 November with Chuck Pierce. Chuck did not know about the vision I had of the dragon, but said that as he and his team flew into Israel, they saw a sunset that seemed more like glory was arising over Jerusalem, rather than going down. But in the sky above this light they all saw a cloud that looked clearly like a dragon, and had the sense there was a dragon spirit trying to swallow up the glory that was about to be poured out in Jerusalem.


1. Proclaim the sovereignty of the Holy One of Israel over His Holy Hill, the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem. Proclaim Ezekiel 43:6,7: "While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. He said: "Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever."

2. Proclaim "Not Now" to the forces of evil trying to stir up something big, like a prolonged violent uprising in Jerusalem, or even a regional war in the Middle East.

3. Pray for much revelation of Jesus on the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem, and across the Middle East.

4. Pray for a dying down of the incitement to killing, especially that aimed at children and youth. Pray for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the children and youth of the Middle East.

5. Pray for mercy upon men and nations whose hearts are being "sifted and threshed" by the events taking place in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount. On January 1, 2014, my wife, Patti, had received a strong word that this was a year of "shifting and sifting". I believe we are still in that season, even here in Jerusalem.

ACTION POINT: Give towards the support of Jewish messianic and Arab believing staff that are helping lead our 24/7 worship and prayer facing the Temple Mount. in Jerusalem. For more information, go to:

Thank you for standing with Jerusalem in your prayers during this very strategic season!
Rick Ridings
9 November, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

What were they building in Hamas' West Bank Stronghold Qalqilyah?

Some of you may remember the story we published on April 26, 2011
by a Messianic minister in Alfei Menashe, Uzi Lotan. 
This is Uzi's staggering followup to the previous article:

What happens in Israel, doesn't stay in Israel

When I first read in the spring of 2011 what Uzi was telling us about the unwarranted building of mosques and minarets in a town nearby to their own Israeli village in the West Bank, I realized there was a parallel to all the unwarranted mosque building that Islamists have been doing in the United States, the United Kingdom and the European nations - building more and bigger mosques than the population can support should be raising suspicions on intended purposes. 

That's why I added the sub-title, What happens in Israel doesn't stay in Israel.  The battles that Israel has and does face in combating the terrorist Islamist enemy is the forerunner of the battles that the whole of Western civilization is and will engage in to defend ourselves against radical Islamists.

As you will read in Uzi Lotan's post-Gaza war article, we can know even more detail about the parallels, and especially why it is of extreme danger for national security forces to have a 'hands off' approach to known radical-Islamist preaching mosques.  Why? Because those mosques are not just houses of worship but are being used as safe havens and strategic military infrastructure for terrorists.  What as we saw unfold recently in Gaza is not just a Gaza-Hamas phenomenon. 

In just the past week, Israeli newspapers reported that according to captured Hamas men during the Gaza war, there was a plot among Hamas to stage a coup in the Palestinian Authority held West Bank. Hamas planned to attack the PA and take over control of the West Bank as they had Gaza. That is why the reporting by Lotan in 2011, and now again after the discovery of the extensive tunnel network under Gaza, begs the question: 

What were they building in Hamas' West Bank Stronghold of Qalqilyah?
By Uzi Lotan of Beit Hallel

West Bank 7 Sept 2014: Peace and quiet have been restored to Alfei Menashe  At least, on the surface, that seems to be the case, since the agreement to this last ceasefire came into effect 2 weeks ago.

Noise has been everywhere for the past 3 consecutive months! It started with June, the month of Ramadan, with its 24-hour-a-day disturbances. Then followed by 51 days of July-August, with the noise of War - Operation Protective Edge. Fighter jets flying overhead every 1 and a half minutes, then all international flights to Ben Gurion airport, having been re-routed and starting to land right over our home, every 3 and half minutes. Add to this cacophony the war-sirens and booms in the distance, making even the regular calls from the mosques in the 5 villages surrounding us, fade in comparison. Silence could not be found anywhere: even the abundance of birds that usually frequent our garden - seemed to leave us for quieter habitats.

Even though we have some respite, we still need to be watchmen, and therefore we are compelled to relay to you what is happening here, in Samaria (politically known as the West Bank).

Just as Gaza, the Kingdom of Jordan and the Golan Heights, are each one a gateway into Israel, within its current borders, so is Samaria. The main road into Israel, from Samaria, runs between Alfei Menashe and a major Hamas stronghold - the Palestinian city of Qalqilyah. 

On the Subject of Mosques & Tunnels  |  At the beginning of the war, when Israel began to discover the extent of the force that they were facing, Prime Minister Netanyahu rightly announced that we could not give Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority, or we would have 20 more 'Gazas' to contend with.

During 2010, we noticed unusual numbers of mosques being built in Qalqilyah. (Mosques, Minarets and Military Training). We asked you then to pray with us concerning this area. It was later revealed that the building of the mosques, side by side, and with tunnels underneath them, was indeed for jihadist activities, training, weapon-manufacturing and storage facilities.

And here we are, 4 years later, and we are asking you to pray with us once again, for this same area for this terrorist use has been confirmed once more by the testimonies of Hamas militants that were captured by the IDF, during this Operation.  [Source: Israel Today, 28 Aug 2014 - Testimonies of Captured Hamas Militants

Next to the town of Qalqilyah, which is a Hamas stronghold, the landscape has been changing during the past 18 months, and even much faster these past 6 months.

On various news bulletins, we have heard that when building the tunnels, they first cover them with loose sand, and then several loads of topsoil. For the past 12 months there has been fervent activity taking place with earth moving equipment, and bulldozers clearing areas, dumping enormous amounts of soil, and finally moving hundreds and hundreds of mature, fully-grown trees onto the property, ready for sale. This is taking place next to existing nurseries, and is overlooking the main Israeli highway that runs from north to south across the country.

Do we have tunnels much closer to home?  Our answer is: yes!  We believe that the Holy Spirit has alerted us to pray, and to encourage others to pray, that what is hidden will be uncovered.

As the IDF continually patrols this area, we have no doubt that they are aware of what is going on, on the ground, and underground.  Yet, the IDF is the natural army, and we are the spiritual army. Our fight is not against flesh and blood, but it is against the powers and principalities of this dark world. (Ephesians 6:12) 

Iran - a Peace Loving Nation indeed  |  In its recent series of negotiations with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), Teheran claimed that all of its huge nuclear projects are for "peaceful purposes only". Yet, at the same time, it issued a further threat to our area in the form of proclamations that it will arm the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria with missiles, and it intends doing so before the next war. The former Tehran defense adviser has said that Tel Aviv and Haifa will be much easier to hit from Judea and Samaria, as the distance is much shorter than from Gaza, therefore only short-range missiles will be required.  [Sources:  Times of Israel staff 30 July 2014 - Iran will arm West bank with missilesTimes of Israel staff 25 Aug 2014 - Iran will arm Palestinians; Israel Today, 31 Aug 2014 - Iran arming Palestinians before next war]

If Iran is able to arm the West Bank with short range missiles (as stated in the above links), and there are tunnels right here, 8 kilometers from Kfar Sabba, a major Israeli city, this could mean mass destruction.

More Threats & Ultimatums  |  On Wednesday September 3rd, the Palestinian Authority (PA) issued an ultimatum for Israel's withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, enabling an independent Palestinian state, on the pre-1967 borders, to be established within 3 years.

Again, the PA is threatening to take Israel to the international Criminal Court if its ultimatum is not met. This has come precisely at a time when Israel is more convinced than ever of the danger of such a move.  [Source: Israel today, 3 Sept 2014 - Israel believes Palestinian ultimatum is dangerous]

Fragmentation & Division?  |  In the Middle East - situations and statements can change on a daily basis. , Only 4 days after Abbas' ultimatum to Israel, he made another speech, and this time only stated that he was losing patience with Israel, but seriously threatened to break partnership with Hamas. He added that there could only be one source of authority ruling over the Palestinians, and their future state, and that if there is to be war, Hamas has no right to call for it.

"If Hamas won't accept a Palestinian State with one government, one law, and one weapon - then there won't be any partnership between us," said Abbas. "This is our condition, and we won't back away from it."

The Palestinian Authority seem to be determined to eradicate Hamas from Judea and Samaria. However, Hamas has called on its operatives not to co-operate with the investigations of the PA security forces, and has condemned the escalation in the amount of summons and arrests being issued by the PA to their men in the West Bank, which they claim is without reason.  [Source: Ynet, 7 Sept 2014 - Abbas Threatens to break partnership with Hamas]

The Spread of the ISIS Cancer  |  On Friday September 5th, the Shabach, which is the Israeli Internal Security (like FBI in the USA) announced that they have arrested 10 Israeli Arab Citizens, that are affiliated to ISIS.

Although we have not heard of any Palestinian citizens being arrested for being affiliated with ISIS, declarations have been made and there have been ISIS flags flown on the Temple Mount, and in some areas of Judea and Samaria, where there have been frequent riots against Israel. Please pray with us that all those affiliated with ISIS will be swiftly apprehended and completely uprooted from within our nation, as well as from the areas controlled by the Palestinian authority.

Samaria - in Biblical Context  |  As we read God's word, there is no doubt that He loves this mountainous area of Samaria, and He has a definite plan. We also know that His timing and ours are not the same, but until He notifies us of His change of plan, we need to continue to intercede and be watchmen.
Ezekiel 36:1-8:  `O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD...The enemy said of you, "Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession... they ravaged and hounded you from every side so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations and the object of people's malicious talk and slander, my burning zeal I have spoken against the rest of the nations... I speak in my jealous wrath because you have suffered the scorn of the nations.....I swear with uplifted hand that the nations around you will also suffer scorn. `But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home.'
We need to reiterate that Samaria in Hebrew is Shomron, and it has the same root as the Hebrew word "shomer" - this means the guard, or keeper.  We are the spiritual gatekeepers on the seam line, from Samaria into Israel, and we literally pass the Hamas stronghold each day, as we enter through the gateway.

There are many in Israel that have been called to intercession for this nation.  God gives us each different assignments.  We have been placed here, as watchmen, on the hill, overlooking this area as an eagle watches from the sky.  Would you pray with us, that everything that is hidden, will be brought to light ? 

Donna Diorio:  Can you see the parallels that I see to strategies we need to heed from the Israeli experience in dealing with radical Islam?  I hope so because it may make a major difference in how we all fare in the ongoing war against Islamists.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Christians Backing the Demonic Claim

I'm thinking about the outbreaks of severe anti-semitism in places like France, Britain, Ukraine and the growing threat that is even showing its ugly head in the great refuge of the United States of America. This should not surprise us since the apostle John said that even in the time he lived that there were many antichrists whereby we knew it was the last days, so for certain there many more evident today.

You may say, Wait a minute! John was talking about antichrists not anti-semites! Same difference. Why do you think anti-semites hate Jews? Because Jesus came from and is coming back to them.

Right now we are seeing another wave of Jews scattered throughout the nations being driven by hatred back to the Land of God, the land they were led by God to in the first place, and the land that God is going to make His last stand against evil.

When I say last stand, I'm not saying that like there is any question who will come out the Victor in the dispute over the land of Israel, and over that Holy Mountain where God placed His name, and thus His ownership, long ago. The prophets all spoke about God's "holy mountain" and the future of it. Islam may be making a claim on it now, but when Yeshua the Messiah of Israel rises up to take His throne there, Islamists will not be able to hold onto it.

That's why they fight so hard now - the demons will try to kill as many Jews as possible saying, If I can't have it, I will make sure you can't either. That is where we are today, but where are Christians standing in that matter? Too many are backing the demonic claim. Israel is not yet all saved, but the promise of God is toward them.

Wake up Christianity, or you in your blindness will choose to fight with the hounds of hell.

God's Holy Mountain is not just an invisible "spiritual Zion" but a solid physical, geographical reality just as the prophets indicated, like Zechariah 8: "Thus says the LORD; I am returned to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain."

You can't spiritualize away the specific location that God has marked as His. The Dome of the Rock may stand there now, but it is strictly temporary.  Islam and the antichrists that support Islamists are the reason that God Himself will make His ownership of that mountain unquestionable.

(Not the unsaved rabbis of various temple mount movements - but Yeshua will make the final ownership claim of that mountain.)

Many Americans don't think that American Jews will flee to Israel like they are now fleeing from other nations, but it is coming. The antichrist spirits in America have certainly joined forces with the God-haters of Islam. Together they are already waging a covert war on Christians in the US, and the wave of anti-semitism-disguised-as-anti-Zionism is becoming more and more bold here.

Last week a famous British anti-semite, George Galloway, a member of the British Parliament, declared the northern city of Bradford an "Israel free zone". His remarks - which are under police investigation - came out of pro-Gaza (pro-Hamas) demonstrations much like the ones we've been seeing here in the U.S.  Ours are not yet as violent as theirs.

Don't assume that the USA is immune to becoming an anti-semitic, hate-spewing crowd like we are seeing from European nations. Not when a rabbi is shot dead in the streets of Miami just two blocks from a synagogue that just had hate speech written on its walls - including the word Hamas.

Hatred is driving Jews back to God's land that is surrounded by seething hatred from demonized Islamists who cannot stand the superior claim that Jews have to the Land and to that Holy Mountain of God.

You will notice that the war in Islamist states is not just against Jews, it is also against Christians. Our country has tried to build relationship with Islamic states for strategic economic reasons, and have been trying to bring them into the modern world. That has meant a willingness to turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of Christians in some Islamist nations. That goes back much farther than Barack Obama, unfortunately, but under Obama the abuse and murder of Christians in Islamist nations has increased exponentially. It is at a blood-lusting frenzy right now in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Nigeria.

Even here in the United States, as the antichrist spirits continue to rise among the God-haters on the Left, Christians are seeing the beginning swell of antichrist persecution. Remember in Nazi Germany the persecution began in restriction and regulations, and wearing an instant identification so citizens could avoid contact with Jews.

We better remember that we are fighting for our own freedom while we are also standing up for Israel's right to exist. The hatred of Christianity is ultimately tied in with the hatred of Israel - Jews are the Saturday people and Christians are the Sunday people that Islamists are intent to deal with.

The hatred of the only people on earth who were ever singled out by God as a nation to stand before Him, should be a big clue to the reality of our spiritual kinship, because we are individuals who have been singled out by God to become a holy nation before Him. Our Individual singling out cannot erase their national singling out.

We are in this battle to the finish which is why it is important to choose our side wisely in the battle between demonic hatred of Israel and Jews.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

When Some of the Wounded IDF Soldiers Open Up

As a wounded soldier himself, sustaining quite a severe injury at the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Uzi Lotan knows very well that it is a very hard and lengthy process before a soldier is ready to open up and start talking about hard, war-experiences. Keeping quiet is simply a sure and safe emotional-defense mechanism, which no veteran willingly lays down for fear of breaking down without it.

It took two years and a series of pentothal shots - truth serum - before Uzi was ready to open up slightly. Truth serum is a colloquial name for any of a range of psychoactive medications, used to obtain information from subjects who are unable or unwilling to provide it otherwise.  As a matter of fact, even now, over 40 years after the war, at the age of 64, Uzi sometimes comes up with "new stuff" he never told anyone before!

The reason why we are telling you all this is because some of the wounded IDF soldiers being treated in Israeli hospitals, for injuries sustained while fighting in Gaza, have started opening-up and talking.  They are telling the media in Israel of horrific, terrible things they have encountered in the past five days, since entering into Gaza. 

Uzi notes, "The basic quotes were taken from listening to injured soldiers on The Voice of Israel Channel 2 (BET) RADIO Stations – all in Hebrew, of course.  The date of the interviews on Reshet Bet: 22 July 2014, midday.

"This is essentially the account of the interviews, as I wrote them down, while listening.  As you may understand from the comments above, this very much relates to my personal testimony and hard experiences of war. I wanted to draw the audience’s attention to the magnitude of the trauma, which caused these soldiers to start off-loading so quickly."

The bitterest and toughest battles apparently took place in a suburb of Gaza called Shja'iya. The fact that some of them are indeed talking, is either a sign indicating that they are naturally-open characters, or more likely, that the trauma they experienced was of an enormous magnitude that if they won't talk, they'll explode! Uzi believes that the latter reason is the valid reason.

The Gazan Human Shields  |  And this is what the soldiers are telling:

"We went into Shuja'iya, to discover and destroy the Hamas' terrorist tunnels. We discovered there an entire underground-city, with multi-shaft, wide tunnels, with Wi-Fi & air-conditioning systems, concrete walls, and stocked to the ceiling with weapons and explosives. Some of the tunnels are so wide, that they can ride back and forwards on Vespa type scooters..."

"And then came the worst! The Hamas 'fighters' started sending towards us 13- and 14-year-old Palestinian children, running at us, wearing explosive-laden suicide-bomber belts! Those children were death-trapped, and became human-bombs, by their community's adults!

"We were trained to fight adult-soldiers or any other skilled adults, enabling us to defend our families and countrymen. But this? We had no other option but, in self-defense, to shoot them at as far a range from us as we could, before the 'responsible-adult' that sent them used his mobile-phone to detonate the belts, and kill us".

One of the injured soldiers ended up by saying: "I do not know if I'll ever be able to sleep again: the pictures of those poor children, killed by my gun, will probably never leave me!"

Let us conclude with the sad words of one of Israel's past Prime Ministers, the late Mrs. Golda Meir:  "We may be able to forgive the Arabs for the killing of our children. We cannot however forgive them, for forcing us to kill theirs! Peace will come when the Arabs start to love their children more than they hate us!".

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Israeli Messianic Leader: The expected sacrifice has begun....

An Update on the War from Israeli Messianic Leader
Eddie Santoro of the Ahavat Yeshua Congregation
Sunday July 20th 2014

Israel awoke this morning to the 13th day of the Gaza War. In the distance, the explosions of the ongoing battle can be heard. And on the TV screens, pictures of the terrible cost of this war that has been forced upon us are broadcast continually.

The expected sacrifice has begun. Five young men have died. Each with a life and a future. Each with families and loved ones. Each with a destiny that could have blessed many. And each with a part to play in the building of this nation. Today, their loved ones are mourning, those destinies have been cut off and the part that each might have played in building this nation is forever gone.

In a few hours, the funerals will begin as Israel honors those who have fallen in battle. Sadly, this has always been a part of our nation's history. Each Passover we recite; “In every generation there have been those who have risen up against us.” Today it is Hamas, yesterday it was Hezbollah in Lebanon, a few generations ago, it was Germany. We have never initiated these battles. We have never done anything to deserve them. And yet, even while we bury our dead, we continue to pray that the God of peace would bring peace to all Israel.

Front Line Reports
Tunnel Destruction
  |  Over the years, Hamas has built a large number of tunnels, many of them originating from under private homes and exiting into Israel. The purpose of these tunnels is to give Hamas terrorists access into Israel so that they can carry out terrorist attacks and kidnap soldiers and civilians. The destruction of these tunnels is the first goal of the ground action in Gaza. As of this morning, fifteen of them have been destroyed. Yesterday 2 soldiers were killed when terrorists exited one of these hidden tunnels within Israel and fired on an army vehicle patrolling the area.

Last night the government authorized a broadening of the offensive, as the IDF looks towards the cities of Gaza, where most of Hamas' weapons are hidden. The placement of these weapons under hospitals, schools and other civilian locations in the midst of crowded neighborhoods is not only a flagrant violation of international law but a sinister part of the enemy's strategy to ensure that there will be many civilian casualties. Hamas willingly sacrifices its innocent people to ensure that world opinion turns against Israel.

It would be far safer and easier for Israel to destroy these weapons from the air but this nation's commitment to minimize civilian casualties necessitates the entry of Israeli troops into these incredibly crowded locations. In contrast to Hamas, Israel will put its soldiers in harm's way to save Palestinian lives. How strange modern warfare is!

During the night, large numbers of additional infantry and tanks have entered into Gaza in preparation for this next phase of the battle.

To date, fifteen soldiers have been wounded with two in serious condition. [At the time of this posting, Israel has since reported 13 IDF soldiers killed overnight from the Golani Brigade]

Attacks Against Israel's Population Centers  |  The number of rocket attacks against Israel decreased by 30% yesterday, a measure of progress against Hamas.

Yesterday, a Hamas missile fell on a Bedouin family killing the father and seriously wounding a young child. This casualty highlights the obvious truth that every missile that is fired into Israel is aimed at civilians.

Numerous homes and apartments have been damaged by the ongoing barrage of rockets on Israel's population centers but miraculously the cost in human life has been remarkably low. Israel has called up over 50,000 reservists to active duty. That is the equilavent of the US calling up 3,000,000 reservists to serve in the army!

World Opinion 
|  London, Paris, Holland, Chile, Turkey, Egypt and the United States is a short list of the nations that are being shaken by demonstrations against Israel's actions in this current war. And even more ominous is the overwhelming hatred of Jews that is being expressed in many of these demonstrations. In Paris, the cry rang out in the night air: “Kill the Jews”. From Turkey comes the accusation that “Israel is worse than Hitler”. In London, a Jewish man fled for his life as an angry mob chased him because he is a Jew. (Click on picture to see video of riots in Paris.)

Yeshua said that in the Last Days men would call evil good and good evil. One of the hallmarks of these demonstrations is the inability of people to rightly discern truth. Israel did not commit aggression in the current war. It started when Hamas began to indiscriminately fire missiles into Israel's cities. Hamas is the aggressor. Israel is the victim. Hamas is openly and publicly committed to the destruction of Israel. Israel has repeatedly called for peace and coexistence. If the world loved truth, then demonstrations would be against Hamas, not Israel. The willingness of people to gather against Israel and ignore the incomprehensible evil that is being lived out on the global stage today, only highlights that the spirit of antisemitism is alive and thriving in today's world.

The violent demonstrations in Europe's democracies are particularly frightening as these were the very nations that fought and sacrificed so much against the forces of evil in the Second World War. The popularity of hating Jews and Israel in these nations and the complete absence of any demonstration of support for Israel is symptomatic of the Islamization of many of these nations. Their populations will soon discover that human rights, democracy and Islam do not coexist.

As Israel commits its soldiers to the battle, the determination of this nation is only increasing. We understand that the struggle will be hard, the cost high. Already Israel's important tourist industry has taken a significant turn downward. (If you are one of those who is considering canceling your soon trip to Israel, I encourage you to please come. Your presence is a great encouragement to the people) The financial cost of this war is huge and the price that we are paying in human life and suffering is immeasurable. As difficult as it is, there is no choice. May God have mercy.

We are deeply grateful for your love and support. Together we will see the goodness of God victorious on the earth.

Prayer Points  |  This is a critical moment and we ask you to please join us in prayer.

    Thousands of Israeli men are in danger as they do battle in the Gaza Strip. Pray for God's protection on each one of them.
    Pray for the families of those who lost loved ones in the current battle
    Pray that God would raise up voices of truth to counter the anti-Israel dialogue that is so prevalent.
    Pray for wisdom for Israel's leaders.
    Pray that the Palestinian people would begin to see how they are being exploited by their leaders.
    Pray for the knowledge of Yeshua to be manifest in the hearts of many, both Jews and Palestinians during this war. 

We send you our love from Zion

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The State of Religious Freedom in Israel | A So-Called “Price Tag” Attack on Messianic Believers in Beer Sheva

By Donna Diorio
May 27, 2014

A couple of days ago I saw a headline about a "Price Tag" attack on a Beer Sheva church ahead of the Pope’s visit, and I immediately followed the link because I figured the “church” was in fact, the Messianic congregation led by my friend Howard Bass.  I did not find anything to indicate that was the case from the article, so I went on.  A couple of days later I learned that indeed it was the Beer Sheva Messianic congregation whose exterior walls were graffiti sprayed with "Jesus is a son of a bitch (harlot)".

For those of you who don’t know, “Price Tag” attacks are acts of vandalism by extreme religious settlers who say that these attacks are the ‘price tag’ for Israel dismantling illegal Jewish outposts in territories north of Jerusalem.  This "Price Tag" attack on the Yeshua's Inheritance congregation in Beer Sheva is unusual, as press reports note, because they do not occur in the south. The attacks occur in north where illegal outposts are, not in the Negev region.

What the reports do not tell readers is that the Beer Sheva attack was probably NOT an authentic “Price Tag” attack by the northern religious settlers, but rather the ongoing persecution of the Beer Sheva congregation by their nearby neighbors – made up of a religious yeshiva and local religious leaders who have made it their seeming life goal to intimidate, harass and threaten the believers of the Nachalat Yeshua congregation whenever it suits them.

Apparently Israeli authorities or the Israeli press would rather fold this ongoing religious intolerance of the Messianic Beer Sheva believers into the unrelated “Price Tag” attacks in the north, and too many Israel-supporting Christians are probably fine with not getting into the details or facts.  Doing so apparently supports both of their agendas of putting their heads in the sand when it comes to Israel stepping up to its obligations as a democratic state.

UK Jews for Jesus volunteer Barry Barnett Arrested for this

As Howard Bass notes on his short website notice of the attack, “Six months ago, during a Jews for Jesus evangelism campaign in Beer Sheva, Jewish teenage yeshiva students, with their rabbi, were filmed defacing the same property, but the police refused to take any action against them.”

In November 2013, when those incidents took place, Howard wrote in a prayer letter, “Despite having captured them on cameras, the police have not taken any decisive action till now.”

That, unfortunately, is the pattern of most Israeli officials when they receive reports of religious intolerance acts against Messianic believers and congregations.  So many Messianic congregations do not even tell their followers in the international church what is happening, and certainly it is a waste of time to tell the Israel-supporting international church, which is mostly concerned about its ties with Israeli politicians, dignitaries and traditional religious figures while completely ignoring the existence of the up to 20,000 member Israeli Body of Messiah.

On December 24, 2005, the Beer Sheva congregation worship service was overrun by a mob of religious Beer Sheva citizens who had been agitated by the head rabbi in Beer Sheva along with the anti-missionary activists of Yad L’Achim.  Outside on the street was a throng of some 300 men, women and children.  Inside, another 300 disrupted the service.  There was intimidation of congregants, punches landing, cars kicked, destruction of equipment and property, while the spiritual leader of the congregation, Howard Bass, was thrown bodily into the baptismal pool. 

As Howard wrote on the day of the incident, “Even children participated in the destructive and profane acts, and the parents admitted to teaching them to behave that way towards us!”

The 2005 incident wasn’t even the first time the Beer Sheva head rabbi led a mob action against the Messianic congregation.  In 1998 a mob of about 1,000 had been stirred against the Beer Sheva congregation.  The congregation is located just down the street from an ultra-Orthodox yeshiva, which takes constant opportunity to curse and threaten the Messianic members.

One Maariv reporter, Boaz Gaon, experienced the degree of threat firsthand when the yeshiva leader threatened to gouge out the eye of Howard Bass with a key in the presence of the reporter after the 2005 mob incident.  When Gaon identified himself as a reporter, the yeshiva leader justified the vile threats of physical harm, Gaon reported, by saying, "that's the only way to talk to them. . . you have to trample their honor, humiliate them."  [The God of Vengeance, translated]

Regardless, when the matter went to court, the judge found against the Messianics saying that there was no specific proof that Rabbi Deri or Yad L’Achim had purposefully lied to their flocks - inflating the planned baptism of two people that was to take place that day into allegedly involving many more underage children.  The judge simply ruled out the evidence.

When the verdict came back upholding the mob instigators and holding the Beer Sheva congregation responsible, just to add insult to injury, Christian and Messianic publications Israel Today, Charisma and Compass Direct found fault with Bass for bringing the suit.  It was also reported that the lawsuit against Rabbi Deri and Yad L’Achim missionaries had only been brought by Howard Bass for the money!

Generally, It is amazing to me how the Israel-does-no-wrong crowd is willing to lie to themselves when Israel does something very wrong toward our spiritual brothers and sisters.  Having recently been the target of a rather heinous false accusation of defaming a victim of a terror attack in Israel, I completely understand how Howard Bass feels about these false accusations being repeated by fellow Messianic and Christian news media.  It is unconscionable that they also would not revise their published accounts when presented with the facts of the case. 

For example, in Wayne King’s Compass Direct report on the verdict in the lawsuit the Beer Sheva congregation brought against Rabbi Deri and Yad L’Achim, fell victim to bad editing and try as we might, the false impression of Howard Bass’ motives in the case went out far and wide – absolutely wrong!  

"Bass demanded either a public apology for their alleged role in the attack, or $389,052 from the rabbi and Yad L'Achim. The case, Bass said, was to 'honor the name of Jesus Christ in Israel.' He said he sought monetary damages 'as a tool to elicit an apology' from Deri and Yad L'Achim."

Bass wrote to Wayne King in response, “I appreciate your intentions, but the juxtaposition of the comments and the closed quotes definitely do not give a good impression.  And I know that I never said the that the damages were in order to elicit an apology; they were simply to show how serious the offenses were under the law.”

After the verdict, Bass also felt the sting of criticism by other Israeli Messianics via Israel Today.  Comments by another Messianic attorney on the verdict, without firsthand knowledge of the proceedings but only reading the 18-page decision by the presiding judge, also cast the Beer Sheva congregation in an unfairly bad light.   

Saying that Judge Ruzin “simply decided that not enough evidence was provided by the plaintiffs to prove that Yad L’Achim or Rabbi Deri were responsible for inciting the violence” did not give Bass’ case the credibility it deserved.  Judge Ruzin, in fact, disallowed admissions that were made on the radio by a bragging Rabbi Deri, for instance.  

If a judge refuses to allow solid evidence in, then is he still right to say there was not enough evidence?  I don’t think so, and this is precisely why open trials and open reporting of the evidence presented or denied in a trial should be reported during the course of the trial and not just in the aftermath when so many have already made up their minds based on assumptions.

It truly is a case of insult to injury.  The injury is that the police did not do their jobs, the Israeli courts did not uphold the right of the Messianic congregation to meet without religious persecution, and then even fellow believer news media accused the victim rather than the perpetrators.

The truth is, and I followed the 2005 Beer Sheva attack up close and personal, that every step taken by Howard Bass and the congregation was done in consultation with Israeli Messianic leaders, and by seeking God.  For anyone, much less believer news media, to accuse Bass of being in it for the money is profoundly ignorant and arrogant – ignorant of the facts and ignorant of the character of Howard Bass, and arrogant to report such a thing after the Israeli courts failed to uphold the religious rights of the Messianic Jews in Beer Sheva.  

It is also quite ironic that some secular readers of the news 'get it', as you will see in the recently discovered response of the U.S. State Department to the case, while many believer news outlets - for whatever reason - do not.

Some in Israel and many in the international church just do not like owning up to the fact that Israel – a nation besieged by those who hate God and hate His plans for Israel  – does not do right by the Messianic Jews and the wider evangelical community who believe in Jesus within the nation.  Even though the Israeli people have never been more open to hearing about Yeshua, law enforcement and the courts are not defending the believers as they ought. 

Unfortunately, for many believers, the attitude is that the persecution is really not that bad, so it should be fine for the Messianic believers to just bear it in silence.  Going further, I have even conversed with one Messianic leader in the U.S. who earlier was in total denial about the Israeli believers being persecuted – at least, that was his position prior to the 2008 religious terrorist bombing of the Ortiz family in Ariel.  Maybe that Messianic Jewish pastor has changed his tune since then, after 15-year old Ami Ortiz almost died after opening a bomb rigged Purim basket at their kitchen table.  The bombing was later confessed to by an Orthodox Jewish anti-missionary, Jack Teitel.

Right after the attack, renowned Israel supporter John Hagee was in Israel, in fact in the city of Ariel itself to dedicate a new sports center that his group helped sponsor.  Israelprayer received reports in the region of believers who informed the American minister about the bombing of this Messianic family who have long been involved in Jewish and Arab outreach.  Everyone expected that he would reach out to comfort the distraught parents praying for the life of their child, but there was not even a phone call made in the days, weeks or months to follow to our knowledge. 

How is it that Israel-supporting Christians will fund religious schools and numerous other ‘good deed’ projects of Israelis, yet will not openly or even covertly acknowledge the Jewish believers in Israel?  I don’t get that in the least.

Recently a friend who also is extremely concerned about the persecution against Israeli believers, Jim Melnick of the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism, obtained some very interesting FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) material from the U.S. State Department related to the anti-missionary activities of Yad L’Achim against Howard Bass and the Beer Sheva congregation.  The material also touched on the bombing of Amiel Ortiz in Ariel.

A State Department memo obtained under FOIA actually looked closely at the reports filed by Wayne King for Compass Direct, with the recommendation that they be factored into the State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Report.  From this one fact alone, we see that what is written in Christian and Messianic media about these issues not only count, but they count very much.

It not only matters that Howard Bass has borne the negative impression of his character and motives after the court case, it also matters because the U.S. State Department, which keeps track of these issues through its annual IRFReport is watching and noting what is happening and what is being written about it.

Another one of the interesting FOIA releases that my associate, Jim Melnick received recently (several years after his request for the materials) is a letter that was sent from the now deceased head of the anti-missionary group Yad L’Achim, Dov Lipschitz.  His letter is addressed to Michael Posner, then Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. State Department in charge of producing the annual report on International Religious Freedom.
[See scanned copies of these two letters at the end of this article.]

The letter from Rabbi Lipschitz demonstrates not just his views at the time, but is representative of the reality that Yad L’Achim is sensitive to the religious freedom ‘health report’ that Israel receives from the U.S. regarding its ill-treatment of Israeli Messianic Jews.  Lipschitz admitted in his letter that Yad L’Achim’s donations had suffered as a result of the State Department reporting.

It is also interesting to note that right off the bat Lipschitz played the ‘Holocaust card’ in his letter to the then Assistant Secretary of State, Michael Posner, who is also an Ashkenazi Jew. Lipschitz wrote, “In the wake of the Holocaust, which claimed six million Jewish lives, Yad L’Achim seeks to protect unsuspecting Jews from attempts by missionary groups to convert them out of their religion.” 

To his credit, Posner did not take the bait, passing the response duty to Peter J. Kovach, Director of the Office of International Religious Freedom Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor who replied to Lipschitz that the Religious Freedom report is mandated by a statute that defines violations of religious freedom in terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR):  

"The UDHR states that religious freedom includes freedom to change one's religion or belief, and the ICCPR that '[n]o one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of his choice.' Based on these instruments, international religious freedom includes freedom to change one's religion, and to make converts, or proselytize."

 Director Kovach challenged the Yad L'Achim chairman, "If you are aware of factual inaccuracies [of the 2009 Report on International Religious Freedom concerning Israel] in light of the definition stated above, we would welcome your bringing them to our attention."

Here are the takeaways from this exchange.

1. Yad L'Achim is sensitive to the truth being told about their activities against Israeli Messianic Jews. Rabbi Lipschitz complained to the State Department that in the 2009 IRFReport:
  • “…you have encouraged those who break the law, who literally steal Jews from their people. The missionaries are taking advantage of your report – including its implicit support for their efforts – to advance their cause."

    “Moveover, your report caused harm both to a friendly U.S. government and to Yad L’Achim (some of our donors have withheld contributions as a result of the negative publicity).

     “Clearly, the U.S. government has no interest in aiding and abetting those who lure Jews from their faith, especially after the Holocaust destroyed a third of our people.  In the name of fairness, I ask that you publish this letter in your publications.” 
Peter J. Kovach, who is also Jewish, although a self-described agnostic, assured Lipschitz in reply that in reference to the Holocaust, the Department of State is also greatly concerned about anti-Semitism, including Holocaust deniers, and that they have a passionate Jewish Special Envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism 

Here is something that Messianic Jews and international Christians
need to take note of: in order to call out the wrongs of Israel
does not mean we have to be any less supportive of Israel's place
in the world. We can do both with integrity.

The second takeaway is that accurate reporting of persecution incidents causes behind the scenes pressure being put on the Israeli government to do a better job of protecting the religious freedom of its Messianic Jewish citizens. 

As was noted in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Reports, the U.S. Embassy in Israel

consistently raised concerns about religious freedom with the MFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs], the MOJ [Ministry of Justice], the police, the Chief Rabbinate, and other government agencies. Issues included expanding the list of officially recognized religious groups; investigating religiously motivated acts of violence against minority religious groups, including Messianic Jews and Jehovah's Witnesses; investigating vandalism of mosques and churches; upholding women’s rights against religious or social coercion in public spaces and on buses; and ensuring that the practice of preventing entry into the country based on the MOI’s [Ministry of Interior] lists of suspected ‘missionaries’ was indeed ended.”

These pressures brought to bear by the U.S. Embassy in Israel and in the State Department International Religious Freedom Report are dependent upon reporting of incidents within the country.  If incident reports are not filed, then the assumption is as the 2012 report concludes:

  • “The MOI did not arrest, detain, require bail for entry or a written pledge to abstain from missionary activity, or refuse entry to anyone due to their religious beliefs. There was no indication that the MOI collected data on alleged missionaries from antimissionary groups and used it to deny entry to the country to foreign individuals. There was no official statement that the policy had changed, but no incidents were reported since the July 2011 action of a Jerusalem district court judge who reprimanded the MOI for the illegal procedure.”
The Jerusalem judge referred to who chided the Interior Ministry in his ruling for accepting hearsay evidence against the individuals denied entry on the basis of suspicion of missionary activity, is now serving on the Supreme Court of Israel.    

There is a definite positive impact that is made by faithfully reporting the facts incidents of persecution against the believers in Israel.  Despite the assumption made by the U.S. State Department Report, there was no behavior modification of anti-missionaries or the Interior Ministry after Justice Noam Solberg reprimanded such conduct in his 2011 ruling for Pastor Tim Hanson represented by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice.

In fact, during the November 2013 Jews for Jesus annual campaign in Israel mentioned earlier by Howard Bass, a British Jews for Jesus volunteer participating in the campaign was arrested for merely holding up a banner about Jesus along with other JFJ participants.  Barry Barnett was arrested after much anti-missionary opposition during the campaign. Barnett was deported after spending four days in an Israeli prison, an experience that left Barnett shaken.  

Barnett was told by authorities that by telling others about his faith in Jesus he was doing “illegal missionary work” because he was under a tourist visa.  Often when someone has been deported on these grounds, they are banned from returning to Israel for as many as fifteen years.

Clearly Barnett was chosen to make an example of – regardless of the fact that it is not against the law in Israel to share faith and the fact that his arrest represented a breaking of the international ethics code which the U.S. State Department bases its annual report on.

Whether Jews For Jesus will appeal this decision, and how its impact will play on future evangelistic campaigns in Israel remain unclear.
[In a video update on May 29 2014, Jews For Jesus head David Brickner said JFJ will continue to pursue Barry Barnett's case in the Israeli court system even to the Supreme Court level if necessary.  Watch here.]

What is clear is the reluctance of some Israeli Messianics to report incidents of harassment and persecution on the one hand (which may be noble in some circumstances), but the net result of keeping silent is that the rest of the international church and others who might be supportive are kept in the dark about the true situation.   While some of the Church is willfully ignorant of these things, other parts of the Church will be willing to come alongside to help brothers and sisters if they only knew.  Hopefully, this article will be read by many of the latter.

Jim Melnick has stated:
  “Now that I know how this process works, I have fully informed the relevant office in the U.S. State Department of the facts of the Barry Barnett case.  While it is too late for the facts of that case to be included in the 2013 IRFR Report, the information will be available for the 2014 report.   

“If there are other incidents that people want to inform me of, I would be happy to collect and organize the material to send on to the relevant authorities.  I will continue to file these reports whenever these incidents occur in Israel until the situation improves.  

“If this process deteriorates still further, the next step would be to consider filing complaints with international authorities regarding the maltreatment of some foreign tourists in Israel in their exercise of religious freedom.  With Barry Barnett’s arrest, detention for several days in prison and then expulsion from Israel, the Israeli authorities have crossed a line.  

“I strongly support Israel, but I support the Gospel more.  And if we won’t stand up for our own religious freedom, who will?”

Contact Jim Melnick at 

Interesting Facts from Recent 
International Religious Freedom Reports
2010: “There were reports of abuses, including detainees, in the country. Some tourists were temporarily detained for religious reasons at Ben-Gurion Airport, prevented from entering Israel, and sent back to their countries of origin because of the MOI's "suspicions of missionary activity," as explained to them by the border control officials at the airport. According to a government report cited in an April 4, 2010, Yediot Ahronot newspaper article, 30 percent of the more than 110,000 tourists detained in 2009 at the airport for rigorous security interrogations were on an MOI watch list, while the others were on security watch lists. There are no clearly publicized regulations as to how the MOI places a person on the watch list or on what grounds, but the questioning of such individuals often relates to their religious beliefs.”

2010: “According to JIJ [Jerusalem Institute of Justice] attorneys and representatives of affected religious communities, Yad L'Achim pressured landlords, employers, and MOI officials to assist its campaigns against groups it deemed ‘dangerous cults’."

2010: “Embassy officials maintained a dialogue with NGOs focusing on human and civil rights, including religious freedom, and promoted interfaith initiatives. Embassy representatives also attended and spoke at meetings of such organizations and encouraged religious leaders to advance regional peace and calm local tensions. The embassy conducted programs that exposed Israelis to U.S. models of religious diversity and civil society.

2011:  “Proselytizing is legal in the country and missionaries of all religious groups are allowed to proselytize all citizens. A 1977 law prohibits any person from offering material benefits as an inducement to conversion. It is also illegal to perform a conversion ceremony for persons under 18 years of age unless one parent is an adherent of the religious group seeking to convert the minor. Despite the legality of proselytism, the government has taken a number of steps that discouraged proselytizing and encouraged the popular perception that it is illegal.”

2011:  “The MOI [Ministry of Interior] has cited proselytism as a reason to deny student, work, and religious visa extensions, as well as to deny permanent residency petitions.”

2011:  “The MOI continued to collect data on alleged missionaries from antimissionary groups like Yad L’Achim and used it to deny entry to the country to foreign individuals. According to a July 3 Ma’ariv article, a Jerusalem district court judge overturned a 2010 MOI decision to deny a foreign pastor a clergy visa and deport him from the country due to an NGO’s allegations of missionary activity. In his ruling the judge chided the MOI for adopting an illegal procedure and relying on hearsay from religious informants and instructed the MOI to limit its enforcement actions to those strictly in accordance with the law.”

2012:  “The Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty protects religious freedom through reference to the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel. The declaration describes the country as a Jewish state with full social and political equality, regardless of religious affiliation, and provides for freedom of religion. However, governmental and legal discrimination against non-Jews and non-Orthodox streams of Judaism continued.”

2012:  The U.S. government engaged in detailed discussions on religious freedom issues with the government and religious and civil society organizations. Embassy officials raised such issues as expanding the list of officially recognized religious groups, investigating religiously motivated acts of violence against minority religious groups, and the importance of a public response to vandalism of religious places.”

2012:  According to the CBS [Central Bureau of Statistics] report,
 9 percent of the Jewish population identifies as Haredi (“ultra-Orthodox”),
10 percent identifies as Orthodox,
15 percent describe themselves as “traditional, religious,”
23 percent call themselves “traditional, not so religious,” and
43 percent describe themselves as “nonreligious/secular” Jews, most of whom observe some Jewish traditions.
“Although not differentiated in official statistics, a 2012 Guttman Institute poll shows that approximately 500,000 traditional and secular Jews associate themselves with the beliefs of the Conservative or Reform streams of Judaism. There is also a community of approximately 20,000 Messianic Jews.

2012:  The Law of Return provides the right for any Jew, or any child or grandchild of a Jew, to immigrate to Israel from a foreign country with his or her spouse and children. Prospective immigrants routinely face questioning about their religious beliefs to determine their qualifications for citizenship. While Jews who are atheists or who state their adherence to other religions are conferred immigration benefits, Messianic Jews are routinely excluded, despite the Supreme Court repeatedly upholding the right of Israeli Jews who believe Jesus is the Messiah to retain citizenship.”

2012:  Proselytizing is legal for all religious groups. A 1977 law prohibits offering a material benefit as an inducement to conversion. It is also illegal to convert a person under 18 years of age unless one parent is an adherent of the religious group seeking to convert the minor. Despite the legality of proselytism, the government generally discourages proselytizing and encourages the popular perception that it is illegal. The MOI occasionally cites proselytism as a reason to deny student, work, and religious visa extensions, as well as to deny permanent residency petitions.”

2012:  MOI officials continued to revoke citizenship or deny services (such as child registration, social benefits, identity cards, and passports) to some citizens based on their religious beliefs, according to the JIJ. This included cases of individuals who immigrated under the Law of Return as Jews but were discovered to hold Messianic or Christian beliefs. According to the JIJ, on July 4 the MOI granted residency to a Holocaust survivor whom it previously had refused in May 2011 due to her profession of Messianic Jewish beliefs.”

2012:  The MOI did not arrest, detain, require bail for entry or a written pledge to abstain from missionary activity, or refuse entry to anyone due to their religious beliefs. There was no indication that the MOI collected data on alleged missionaries from antimissionary groups and used it to deny entry to the country to foreign individuals. There was no official statement that the policy had changed, but no incidents were reported since the July 2011 action of a Jerusalem district court judge who reprimanded the MOI for the illegal procedure.”

2012:  On August 2, the Knesset amended legislation from 2010 to apply tax exemptions to all places of religious instruction equally.”
“All recognized religious communities are exempt from taxation for places of worship, according to the annually drafted Arrangements Law. In August, following a petition from the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ), the Knesset amended the municipal and property tax law to grant a 100 percent exemption to all religious institutions that do not use their space for commercial purposes, just as it had done solely for synagogues in 2010.”

2012:  The U.S. embassy consistently raised concerns about religious freedom with the MFA, the MOJ, the police, the Chief Rabbinate, and other government agencies. Issues included expanding the list of officially recognized religious groups; investigating religiously motivated acts of violence against minority religious groups, including Messianic Jews and Jehovah's Witnesses; investigating vandalism of mosques and churches; upholding women’s rights against religious or social coercion in public spaces and on buses; and ensuring that the practice of preventing entry into the country based on the MOI’s lists of suspected ‘missionaries’ was indeed ended.”

2012:  Societal attitudes toward missionary activities and conversion were generally negative. Most Jews opposed missionary activity directed at Jews, and some were hostile to Jewish converts to Christianity. Messianic Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses were harassed regularly by Yad L’Achim and Lev L’Achim, Jewish religious organizations opposed to missionary activity.”

Access to these reports is freely available online at