Israeli Charities Help Neo-Pentecostals Evangelise Beslan Victims

A couple of weeks ago Israeli newspaper Maariv International reported on a therapeutic visit to Israel for Beslan survivors:

Thirty-eight residents of Beslan, including 18 children who survived the school carnage in the town, arrived this (Sunday) morning at the Haifa Port and will be guests of the city of Ashkelon in the next three weeks.

The initiators of the visit, city mayor Roni Mahatzari [of Ashkelon] and Moshe Mano of “Mano Shipping”, have expressed hope they would be able to provide their guests with three weeks of great experiences that would hopefully help them deal with their tragedy…The City of Ashkelon, the Even Ezer Foundation and the Organization of Olim from the Caucuses financed the trip.

And what “great experiences” are on offer? Maariv does not say, but some rather unexpected details that are reported on ASSIST, courtesy of an interview with Pastor Bradley Antolovich. Antolovich is the head of Calvary Chapel Jerusalem, a Messianic Jewish congregation that is also part of part of Chuck Smith’s Mesa-based neo-Pentecostal church grouping. Antolovitch has visited Beslan to undertake humanitarian work, and is not one to pass up on an evangelising opportunity:

“Although our return trip to Beslan was delayed, the Lord arranged for eighteen children who survived the massacre (along with their families) to visit Israel this week!”

Over the next two days, these families will be touring Jerusalem, visiting primarily Christian sites, Antolovich said.

“The Lord has blessed For Zion’s Sake [a Calvary Chapel Ministry] with the means to sponsor their tour, provide a believing tour guide fluent in Russian, and see that they are accompanied by Russian-speaking believers from our congregation.

…”The families will be joining us here at the fellowship for lunch and children’s worship. Each child will receive a gift and a Russian Bible. The day will end with a visit to the Garden Tomb where we will bring the gospel message and invite all to receive Christ!”

The Garden Tomb was the tomb of Christ “discovered” by General Gordon during the nineteenth century, and is now run by British Evangelicals. Most Russians will be more familiar with the far more ancient site of the Basilica of the Anastasis (known in the west as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre). But the question is: are Israeli organisations so desperate to keep in with Christian Zionists that they are willing to hand over traumatised Russian children to be converted to Charismatic Protestantism?

More details on Bradley Antolovich can be found here.