While Jews abroad go to great lengths to distance themselves and their families from the Christian symbols of the year-end holidays, some elements in Israel have embraced them. Schools, businesses and even municipal authorities have given X-mas trees and other Christian symbols prominent display.
Tens of thousands of packages containing missionary material were sent recently to Rabbis, ritual slaughterers and public officials, as well as to dozens of elementary schools around Israel.
Yad L'Achim headquarters in Bnei Brak was inundated with complaints. Particularly infuriating was that the material came together with copies of the "new testament," R"l.
Missionaries in Haifa have been on Yad L'Achim's radar for some time now. Of late, they have been attracting children and youths via after-school programs, including those in computers, art and, the biggest draw, a chess club led by a professional instructor.
Seventeen Jews who were rescued this year from Christian cults participated recently in a special Yad L'Achim tour that strengthened their connection to Judaism.
In a worrisome development, cooperation between the Jerusalem municipality and missionary groups associated with the "Messianic Jews" has been on the rise.
Dozens of calls were received by Yad L'Achim's hotline last week complaining of missionaries taking advantage of a major Succos event in Jerusalem to try and convince Jews to convert out of their religion.
A special Yad L'Achim team was flown to Ukraine during the Rosh Hashana season to counter members of the Christian cult "Messianic Jews" who had arrived in the city with missionary material in Hebrew.
The chutzpah of the Messianic Jews cult knows no bounds. This week, as part of a widespread missionary campaign that began a month ago focusing on chareidi neigborhoods in Yerushalayim, residents on Meah Shearim Street were stunned to discover copies of the "New Testament" – in Yiddish!
No fewer than 250 missionaries from Canada, the United States, Britain, South Korea and Russia have been circulating around Israel as part of a widespread campaign of the Christian cults "Messianic Jews" and "J's Witnesses." Their activities peaked on Independence Day, when hundreds of thousands of Israelis filled the parks and other recreational sites.
Some 70 missionaries from Canada, the United States and Britain landed in Israel early last week and began going house to house in many cities, including Beit Shemesh, Rishon LeZion, Tel Aviv, Kiryat Malachi, Rechovot, Bnei Ayyish, Petach Tikva, Kfar Sava, Bat Yam, Gedera and Karmiel.
The battle between Yad L'Achim and members of the Messianic Jews cult continued over Purim last week.
Yad L'Achim activists had received information that the missionaries were planning to pounce on Purim, organizing events designed to get Jews to convert out of their religion, and responded by organizing a range of activities of its own that presented a truly Jewish alternative.
The missionaries have come up with a new tactic: They're sending musical bands to Israel to perform songs with clear missionary messages.
Yad L'Achim has long warned of a "thriving" missionary industry in Ashdod, mainly targeting new immigrants, and has been working full-force to counter it. The missionary effort is led by a congregation that calls itself "Beit Hillel" and uses deceitful tactics to lure innocents to its center in a rented building on Orgim Street.
Against all odds, Yad L'Achim succeeded in foiling a missionary campaign in Ashdod targeting immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, pushing back the darkness of false beliefs with the light of Judaism.
Ashkelon is reeling from the news that two senior missionaries baptized a number of young Jews in the waters off the coast of the southern city. The youths, who live in the city and attend local schools, include two brothers, aged 16 and 17.
A special notice was issued this week by the office of Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef warning the public of the distribution of millions of DVDs in home mail boxes as part of a massive missionary campaign aimed at getting Jews to leave their religion.
The call came to Yad L'Achim last year concerning a Jewish woman in her 70s who had begun to believe in "that man," ym"sh.
The caller delivers a regular Torah class in Dimona and was told by one of the participants about a neighbor who had immigrated from Italy and was being visited by missionaries from the J's Witnesses cult. These missionaries were taking advantage of her difficulties acclimating to a new country to forge a close relationship.
The brazen missionary distribution of hundreds of thousands of DVDs in home mail boxes around the country continues, to the shock and outrage of wide segments of the public. Yad L'Achim reports that some areas are seeing a second wave of mass distributions.
Entire cities are being flooded with the discs of a well-known missionary from abroad that contain messages of idolatry and apostasy, Yad L'Achim warned this week. Hundreds of thousands more discs are being prepared for distribution, the counter-missionary organization learned.
An investigative report in the most recent issue of Yad L'Achim's Searching magazine reveals that a "Rabbi" from Hungary whom the missionaries claimed converted to Christianity has been tried in the United States for impersonating a Rabbi. The report brings authentic documents proving that the "Rabbi" is actually a farmer accused of theft who ran away from Hungary.