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Bring out the Gimpel

Agape Press wheels out yet another rightist pundit to “explain” the situation in Israel:

IDF spokesman feels Annan’s advice detrimental to Israel

is the front page lead-in, which takes us to:

…United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan is demanding that Israel end its blockade of Lebanon, a move critics claim would be disastrous for the Jewish state. Jeremy Gimpel of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) claims any relaxation of the blockade will lead to hostilities flaring up once again between Israel and the Islamic terrorist organization Hezbollah.

…In his estimation, the cease-fire is only allowing Hezbollah to re-arm and re-group for the next round of the war.

Gimpel is an American immigrant to Israel who serves as a reservist in the Israeli army and co-hosts a radio show with his associate Ari Abramowitz – that hardly makes him an “IDF spokesman”. Arutz Sheva gives some extra detail:

Together they founded Admil – a Hebrew acronym for “The Land of Israel.” Admil is a team of new immigrants who have come ‘home’ to Israel. Members of the group regularly address youth groups, solidarity missions, and Christian Zionist groups. “It is an honor and a merit to live in this beautiful Land and I feel it is my obligation to share my passion and perspective on the physical and spiritual connection of the Jewish people to our land,” said Gimpel, who lives in the Gush Etzion town of Efrat…

Efrat, it should be noted, is a West Bank settlement that for some years has been encroaching on the nearby Palestinian village of Artas. The Palestinian land swallowed by the town – in part to accommodate more and more Americans and other immigrants like Gimpel, but also probably to make a point – includes areas belonging to a Roman Catholic convent. Gimpel and Abramowitz also run “Heartland to Heartland” in order to justify this kind of thing:

Heartland to Heartland is an organization dedicated to mobilizing grassroots Jewish and Christian support for the Biblical Land of Israel. Inspired by Member of Knesset Rabbi Benny Elon, Heartland to Heartland’s mission is to ensure that the world know and understand that Judea and Samaria are Israel’s biblical and geographical heartland, and are integral parts of the Land G-d granted to the Children of Israel. HL2HL seeks to strengthen the emotional and spiritual connection of Jews and Christians around the world to the Land of Israel and to create an active body of bible believing people with the commitment to act based on that belief.

Benny Elon, as is well-known, was Ariel Sharon’s far-right tourism minister, notorious for his advocacy of the “transfer” (i.e. ethnic cleansing) of Palestinians.

Gimpel is currently in New Orleans, where he’s taking part in a seminar:

A Labor-Day weekend seminar, combining the Teaching of international speaker, Maggid ben Yoseif, (Torahvoice.org) with Israeli Radio personality and IDF soldier Jeremy Gimpel. For 3 exciting days Maggid ben Yoseif will share the truths regarding the remarriage of God and Israel, the promises to Rachael’s children, the current Israeli – Hezbollah conflict, and much more! The last evening, Jeremy Gimpel will share the vision of Judah reaching out to his brothers, the church, as well as, the eye witness account of the current events in Israel, from the displacement of settlers, to the efforts to reconcile differences with today’s church!

Gimpel was booked to speak at “Manna from Heaven Ministries”, a Messianic congregation whose website includes a curious essay explaining that Christian use of the cross symbol is pagan and a Satanic deception. Maggid ben Yoseif, meanwhile, has been noted on this blog before – formerly known as Dell Griffin, ben Yoseif is a “Joe”; someone who has an inner conviction that he is a member of the lost tribes of Israel, and destined to replace the Palestinians in the West Bank (although he’s happy to allow a Palestinian state in Gaza). As he explained to me in a comment he sent:

Those who remain in the fields of the Shomron and the fields of Samaria, will unfortunately become as stubble. I do not say this. The prophet Obadiah wrote it.

Gimpel is also a big fan of the new “Sanhedrin”, a group of Israeli rabbis (many associated with the far-right Kahanist movement) who have a plan for theocratic rule in Israel. As was reported last November (and which I blogged at the time):

A conference this week unveiled the Sanhedrin project to the public, shifting away from euphoric satisfaction with the launch of the Court one year ago and moving toward broadening participation.

…One of those who took the day off from work to attend the conference was Efrat resident Jeremy Gimpel. “I had read everything written about the renewed Sanhedrin with such excitement, I had to see for myself,” Gimpel said. “What struck me is that ever since Mt. Sinai, there were always 70 elders leading the Jewish people and I believe that G-d, in His infinite wisdom, knew the Jews would be dispersed among the 70 nations. To see all these rabbis and leaders gathered back in the land of Israel, bringing with them different traditions, cultures and approaches to Torah is a humbling experience and an answer to our daily prayer of Hashiva shofteinu k’varishona, Return our judges as of old.”

However, while Gimpel is happy to drum up support for Israel among US Christians, and even apparently to attend Messianic meetings, he’s less pleased at the thought of missionaries in Israel:

IsraelNationalRadio “Light Unto the Nations” co-host Jeremy Gimpel says, “Over the last few months, I’ve seen several different missionary groups in Jerusalem – more than I remember in the past. They claim to love us and support us unconditionally, but their actions prove their hatred and their desire to destroy the Jewish Nation. I always tell them that if every Jew converted to Christianity and gave up their belief in One G-d, there would be no Jewish Nation to love and bless, as they claim to want to do.”

This quote came after Christian tourists (possibly missionaries; reports were unclear) were attacked in an ultra-Orthodox area of Jerusalem, an incident I blogged here. Gimpel’s complaint reveals a central tension in the Christian Zionist-Israeli alliance: conservative Christians, such as those behind Agape Press, believe that all must “receive Jesus” in order to be saved. Some Christian Zionists have created a bit of wiggle room, suggesting that the return of Jesus will convert the Jews, and so Jewish evangelism is not a priority (bad luck for Jews who die in the meantime). There is also a “dual covenant” view, which argues that Christianity and Judaism are equally valid, but despite attempts to push prominent Christian Zionists into this position, it remains highly controversial.

The Gimpel and Abramowitz US roadshow plans to take them across the country by 20 Sept; further details can be seen here.

3 Responses

  1. […] this month Shoebat will be taking part in a TV event organised by Jeremy Gimpel (whom I blogged here), alongside Jackie Mason, Allen West, and Israeli consul general in Florida Ofer Bavly. In 2006, […]

  2. […] now explains that this was a “joke”. I noted Gimpel back in 2006, when Agape Press (now OneNewsNow) unaccountably described him as being an “IDF […]

  3. […] now explains that this was a “joke”. I noted Gimpel back in 2006, when Agape Press (now OneNewsNow) unaccountably described him as being an “IDF spokesman”, […]

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