World Likud and the Biblical Zionists

WEZ 

Talk to Action has an interesting article by Rachel Tabachnick about World Evangelical Zionists and Worldwide Biblical Zionists, two organisations affiliation with World Likud:

In January, 2007, Christian Zionist Joel Bell became director of the World Evangelical Zionists (WEZ), the evangelical department of World Likud.  Bell states that in June of 2007 the “Jewish Zionist Congress and other Zionist organizations began supporting WEZ’s affiliation. This launched Biblical Zionists activities together with Governmental Institutions.”

A joint Board of Governors Conference with WEZ and World Likud leaders was held in Texas in July 2007, and a new organization was launched in November under the under the name Worldwide Biblical Zionists.  [World Likud Chair Daniel] Danon and Bell were joined as keynote speakers at the Texas conference by Sagiv Assulin of Likud, and Christian Zionist William Koenig, former White House correspondent in the George W. Bush administration.  Morton Klein of ZOA was also listed as a speaker in the promotional materials including this flash presentation.  Other guest speakers listed in the promotional material were Keith and Jodie Anderson. Jodie Anderson heads the Battalion of Deborah, an organization which works with the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus and has, according to Public Research Associates’ RightWeb, received funds from Irving Moskowitz.

I’ve blogged on the Christian Allies Caucus and the Battalion of Deborah here, and on Moskowitz here. It should be clarified that Koenig (whom I blogged here) runs his own news service, and it was in this capacity that he was a “White House correspondent”- he was not part of the Bush administration.

According Bell’s profile:

Joel Bell the Founder and President of WBZ resides in Israel with his wife Pamela. In 1991 they began an intense study of the Hebrew scriptures to understand their covenant roll [sic] with Israel.

Joel has received dreams and visions from HaShem about the restoration of the whole house of Israel.

…Joel started young in the real estate and construction business. He was very successful and found the favor of Elohim in his business ventures. By the age of 35, his net worth exceeded $2 million.

Even though he was a successful businessman in the United States, he knew that the scriptures were clear to build up Zion and to serve the Jewish people.

After they made Aliyah in 2003, Joel and Pamela stood with the Jewish people in Gush Katif during the expulsion in 2005.

There is nothing to suggest that either of the Bells are of Jewish heritage themselves, so how they have come to “make Aliyah” is unexplained. He runs a news show, entitled Frontline Israel.

Rachel notes that Worldwide Biblical Zionists tells us it is developing a “pre-military academy”

for Biblical Zionists to come to Israel and experience a 1 year training course with experienced IDF military teachers.

The classes are designed to teach you the basics and discipline. Classes will be taught in English. Attend the courses that will teach you miliatary commands, strategic initiative, anti-terrorist tactics, and more.

One interesting aspect of WBZ is that it has made links with a growing movement called the “Ephramites”, a belief which combines Christian Zionism with a form of British Israelism. The difference is that while British Israelites take the view that they are the “true Israelites”, Ephramites argue for a “Two House” perspective: Jews and Ephramites are both genetic descendants of ancient Israel, respectively Judah and Joseph, and both have a claim to land in Israel and the West Bank. Of course, this is completely unsustainable from a historical persective, and Ephramites’ confidence in their lineage is based on internal spiritual assurance rather than any actual evidence – I’ve blogged them here and here. Further, although their beliefs give a Messianic role to Jesus, they reject the name of “Christian” – which is fair enough, as the movement’s theology has very little in common with historic Christianity. The WBZ website has only a couple of passing references to “Jesus” or “Yeshua”, and there are none at all on the “World Evangelical Zionist” website. The term “Biblical Zionist”, rather than “Christian Zionist”, is perhaps of significance in relation to this.

According to an Ephramite leader named Eddie Chumney:

…In talking with Joel and Sagiv while in Israel, it was agreed that we needed to establish a partnership with Ephraimites in the USA and around the world linking them to the welcoming hand of Judah in the land of Israel to begin what would hopefully be the beginning of the ‘footsteps’ of bringing together Ephraim and Judah by the Messiah of Israel. It was decided that the name of this entity to seek to accomplish this task would be called, “Worldwide Biblical Zionists.” WBZ would be a nonprofit organization based in Israel which those ministries, leaders and individuals who supported the effort to unite Ephraim and Judah in the land of Israel would seek to support.

In doing so, Joel asked me to be the ‘International Director’ of Worldwide Biblical Zionists. Joel also asked me to be on the board of WBZ when it was formed

In my excitement for the vision of WBZ to partner with Judah in the land of Israel to ‘build up Zion’ and that Judah would partner with Ephraim to help unite the whole house of Israel, I recommended that Hebraic Heritage Ministries introduce Joel and Sagiv and the vision of WBZ to Ephraimite leaders in the USA at a special meeting to be held in Portland, Oregon in July 2008. Furthermore, Hebraic Heritage Ministries pledged to try to arrange meetings across the USA and Canada to promote the vision of WBZ.

Through my personal contacts, I was able to arrange meetings for Joel and Sagiv to speak and promote WBZ in Waco, TX; Phoenix, AZ; Denver, CO; Nashville, TN; Canton, OH; Tampa, FL; Ocala, FL; Cocoa, FL; Houston, TX; Chicago, IL and Sedley, Canada from July 2008 – August 2008.

One of the US directors of WBZ is a certain Ben Ehrhardt. Rachel draws attention to a November 2008 message by one of his associates:

We have just returned from a 12 day tour of Israel sponsored by World Wide Biblical Zionists and an extra week of meeting other key leaders. Ben and I and our spouses along with about 60 other Ephramites, who love brother Judah and the Land, attended this tour and fact finding trip. Ben and I attended this event to witness the hearts of Joel and Pamela Bell founders of WBZ, to see for ourselves if Yahweh is beginning to open the doors for Ephraim to come home, and to demonstrate our love and willingness to stand with our brother Judah.

…Yahweh is establishing leaders with integrity in the Likud and other coalition parties that are beginning to understand who Ephraim is and are willing to work toward bringing Ephraim home! Seeing this with our own eyes was astonishing and exciting. Specifically, on November 16 at the World Wide Biblical Zionists inauguration ceremony, some top Likud party members attended and addressed the approximately 300 attendees. Those speaking to us were Ayoob Kara, Ullie Edelstein, Gideon Saar, and Sagiv Assulin.

Assulin was apparently after donations; a message from him is appended:

There is one thing that you can do that will REALLY give me the advantage as I go forward to WIN a seat in the Knesset to help represent you as a people who want to live in Israel and build Zion – Please GO TO MY WEBSITE AND DONATE…

I make this appeal humbly knowing that you work hard to earn your living. ANYTHING you can do to help support my campaign is very appreciated! The primary electoral vote is December 8th. If you can please make your donations before that date it would be most helpful. This is a small window of opportunity for you to really make a difference and help change Israel’s direction.

My heart is to see Judah and Ephraim join here in the land and see the hand of HaShem do great and mighty things.

However, Bell and Chumney have fallen out, and Chumney’s piece goes on to explain how disputes over money and accountability, along with other “red flags”, led him to sever the relationship and withdraw his endorsement.

And Assulin, meanwhile, has linked up with another Ephramite leader, named Don Esposito – a right-wing Israeli blog called The Key to Redemption, run by someone who dislikes these links, has more about that here.

UPDATE: As an aside, an interesting comment from John Glick:

Its interesting to note that Ronn Torossian is Benny Hinn’s publicist. Torossian used to be President of Betar, a Zionist movement of Jabotinsky and the head of World Likud, Danny Danon just spoke in his office. Torossian was mentioned on Niteline by Benny Hinn this week.

Torossian does indeed represent both Danon and Hinn, and he has a background with Betar. Hinn was interviewed by ABC just two days ago; Torossian’s off-camera interjections against the drift of the interview actually dramatize the encounter, and they are not welcomed by Hinn, who assures “Ronn” that he is happy to proceed. Torossian’s PR firm is 5WPR, which also handles John Hagee and which I blogged on last year here.