Missionaries at major junctions aim to
"spread the word
Messianic "Jews" have returned to major intersections in Israel's north brandishing huge banners promising salvation through belief in J. The missionaries also hand out material to cars stopped at lights and engage their drivers in discussion.
This is the third year of a campaign that is planned to continue through 2013 to convince Jews in Israel to convert out of their faith. This year, for the first time, the missionaries have succeeded in getting major newspapers to run their advertisements.
Cult members have spread out across Haifa and the Lower Galilee in an attempt to bring "that man" into the homes of hundreds of thousands of people. Residents of Haifa, Yokne'am, Upper Nazareth, Acco, Afula and other cities were confronted this week by missionaries at major intersections.
Yad L'Achim singled out for praise the mayor of Upper Nazareth, Mr. Shimon Gafsou, who demanded that a local advertising company remove missionary messages from billboards. He argued that Upper Nazareth is a Jewish city and the messages deeply offend the religious sensibilities of the city's Jewish community. As a result, the signs were taken down the next day.
In response to the missionary campaign, Yad L'Achim's Haifa branch, its headquarters in the north, dispatched dozens of activists and volunteers to warn the public against being duped by the missionaries. They circulated among the intersections and streets where the missionaries were active in cars bearing loudspeakers that warned in Hebrew and Russian of the grave danger posed by the missionaries.
They also distributed flyers headlined, "They are waiting for you at the intersections," which explained in clear, simple language the goals of the missionaries. The flyers also gave citizens the phone number of Yad L'Achim's 24-hour hotline.
Though leading newspapers previously refused to accept advertising from missionaries, a number changed their policy this year. These include Calcalist, the business newspaper of Yediot Acharonot; Maariv, which is owned by Nochi Dankner; and Israel Post, which is owned by businessmen David "Dudu" Weissman and Eli Azur (which ran the ads twice).
Hundreds of outraged citizens called Yad L'Achim's offices to complain about the advertisements and were advised to contact the editors directly and express their shock at Israeli newspapers accepting ads that attempt to convince them to abandon Judaism.
Yad L'Achim also sent an urgent letter to the owners and editors of the newspapers urging them not to let the profit motive turn them into a mouthpiece for the missionaries who want to wreak spiritual destructions on the Jewish people.
"In light of the sharp increase in missionary activity around the country," Yad L'Achim said in an official statement this week, "this is the time to forcefully ask anyone who can to assist in passing an amendment to the missionary law that will put an end to the unbridled and criminal acts of the missionaries, who know no bounds and whose efforts lead to such tragedies."