Israel Chief Rabbinate Tells Jews to Avoid Christian Zionist Events

Arutz Sheva reports on allegations that Christian Zionist groups in Israel have missionary intentions:

Ze’ev Shtieglitz of the anti-missionary Lev L’Achim organization has presented evidence of actual missionary activity by ICEJ [the International Christian Embassy] to the Chief Rabbinate. “For instance,” he recently told Arutz-7, “ICEJ Liaison Officer Doron Schneider is the head of the Messianic Jewish community in Maaleh Adumim… Dr. George Giacumakis, the one-time Chairman of the Board of Trustees of ICEJ, has said straight out that it is hoped, through various ‘friendship’ organizations with Jews, and by giving financial and political support to Israel, that Jews will start showing interest in Christianity.”

Lev L’Achim is apparently distinct from Yad L’Achim, an anti-missionary group that featured on this blog here.

The report focuses particularly on a quote from David Pawson (emphasis in report):

“One day the people of Israel as a whole will become Messianic Jews…  Prayer for Israel is not enough; preaching is also necessary. The church’s silence over the holocaust was bad enough; her silence about hell would be a worse betrayal… True lovers of Israel will speak on behalf of Jews to Christians and on behalf of Christ to Jews…We cannot help but be missionaries, and I have discovered that some Jews despise us if we pretend not to be…”

Further:

…Jack Hayford, was one of 1,100 Christian Zionists and Messianic Jews who took part in the Road to Jerusalem conference in California last year.  He spoke there of “helping the church understand what God’s doing among Jews today and how to relate to it.”  Co-speakers at that Road to Jerusalem event were co-founder Rev. Raleigh Washington — who said, “when a Jewish person recognizes that Jesus is his messiah, he becomes a Jew who has now found his messiah” — and Rev. Mike Bickle of Kansas City, Mo., who used the phrase “unsaved Jews” and said a Satan-like leader “will be required to exterminate the Jewish race.”

The result of all this is that the Chief Rabbinate Council’s Committee for the Prevention of Missionary Work in the Holy Land has now announced that it is forbidden for Jews to participate in Christian Zionist events, particularly the Feast of Tabernacles, which is usually addressed by high-profile Israeli politicians.

This is a controversy that has been running for some time, and the Rabbinate told Jews not to attend a Christian Allies Caucus event in May. One Christian Zionist leader, Janet Parshall, complained in March that Israel’s attitude was

“We’ll take your aid, your support and your tourist dollars, but we won’t take your Jesus.” Christians should not have to “choose between the cross or Israel,” the American evangelical says.

However, Christian Zionist organisations have been cautious to avoid causing offence, which is why Lev L’Achim’s “evidence” against the ICEJ is rather lame. Indeed, some Christian Zionists have avoided the subject altogether, despite Pawson’s blunt formulation of Christian exclusivity – that non-Christian Jews face a worse fate than the Holocaust, namely, hell itself. For Christian Zionists who believe that the end of nigh, the impending return of Jesus paradoxically means that converting the Jews is less urgent, since many of those living now be converted miraculously. One quote attributed to John Hagee (I haven’t been able to track down the source, although someone has spammed it over numerous blogs) is that he and a Rabbi associate

“…both know that one day when we’re dancing in the streets of Jerusalem together, one of us will have to seriously reevaluate our beliefs.”

Hagee has also at times apparently made statements supportive of “dual covenant” theology (at other times he has denied it). Christian exclusivity is problematic as regards Judaism, since, unlike Islam or paganism, Judaism was salvific before the coming of Jesus. Where does this leave God’s covenant with the Jews? The “dual covenant” concept means that Judaism and Christianity remain equally valid today, and therefore Jews who follow Judaism do not need to be converted to Christianity (although what this means for non-Jewish converts to Judaism remains murky). Some have seen this as a way forward for Jews and Christian Zionists, and there was an attempt last year to ascribe this belief to Jerry Falwell – which Falwell denied vehemently.

3 Responses

  1. […] (Note on names: Yad LeAhim and Yad L’Achim appear to be same organization. There is, though, also another anti-”missionary” group called Lev L’Achim, which I blogged on here.) […]

  2. […] over Christian Zionism and the evangelical urge to missionize has been increasing for a while. Last September Janet Parshell pulled out of a Christian Allies Caucus event, complaining that the Israeli […]

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