1,000 Missionaries Seek Phony Conversion Certificates to Enter Israel Under Law of Return05/31/2011
A plan to bring 1,000 missionaries to Israel, under the guise of newly converted Jews seeking to settle the Shomron, is picking up steam, Yad L’Achim has learned.
The plan, which calls for the missionaries to undergo “conversion” to Judaism in the United States and then immigrate under the Law of Return, was hatched by Baruch Abramovich, a veteran missionary from Portland.
Though the plan was originally kept under wraps, Abramovich, host of a messianic Russian-Christian radio show, has recently begun speaking about it publicly. “We aspire to create a community in Samaria, or in any area that would like to absorb people who truly love Israel and the Jewish religion,” he said.
Yad L’Achim is sounding the alarm on the plan, in light of the fact that every year hundreds of missionaries use a similar ruse to infiltrate Israel, and then turn around and try to convert Jews out of their religion.
“They obtain conversion certificates abroad that are based on blatant lies,” says Yad L’Achim chairman Harav Shalom Dov Lifschitz. “They’re ‘permitted’ to lie, according to their beliefs, in order to obtain a document that will help them advance their nefarious goals.
“The rabbis and Jewish courts in the United States have to be made aware of this plan in order to prevent the issuing of phony conversion documents. They must thoroughly check the origins and beliefs of those coming before them to convert. We have experience with gabbaim in shuls who are missionaries.”
The plan to bring 1,000 missionaries to settle the Shomron got a boost last week, when its advocates met with MK Lia Shemtov (Yisrael Beiteinu), head of the Knesset’s Immigrant, Absorption and Diaspora Committee, who promised her help in advancing the initiative.
“Bringing in hundreds of educated, well-established people to Israel will help the development of the Shomron as an inseparable part of the state of Israel,” Shemtov said. “We’re talking about a group that wants to undergo Orthodox conversion, to contribute to the economy and to even serve in the Israel Defense Forces.”
In response, Yad L’Achim’s chairman wrote an urgent letter to Mrs. Shemtov, warning of the dangers of the plan. “Every year, hundreds of missionaries infiltrate Israel, of which nearly 100 are caught for having lied to the authorities about being Jewish,” he wrote. Rav Lifschitz enclosed hard evidence showing that Abramovich is a senior, and very active, missionary.
“The missionaries seek to use their Orthodox conversion certificates to reach as many Jews as possible,” Rav Lifschitz wrote. “According to our information, there is a suspicion that Abramovich’s group is likewise arriving with the goal of getting innocent Jews to convert to Christianity.”
Rav Lifschitz concluded his letter with a moving appeal. “In light of this despicable, dangerous phenomenon, we ask you: Please, don’t cooperate with this group; do everything in your power to prevent their coming to Israel, for the sake of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael. It is incumbent upon all of us, those who keep the Torah and mitzvos and those who don’t, to do everything we can to block the missionaries and their representatives in their efforts to destroy our people, and to eradicate our faith in one G-d.”
A parliamentary aide to Mrs. Shemtov said in response that Abramovich had not informed her that he was head of a missionary group in Portland when he asked for assistance, and that she would be investigating the matter.