Outraged Residents Demonstrate Against Missionaries in Mevasseret Tzion06/29/2011
A demonstration was held in Mevasseret Tzion Sunday in front of the home of a missionary who has been having a devastating impact on local youths.
The rally, organized by Yad L’Achim, was attended by religious and secular, and included local Rabbanim and members of the local council who came to protest the growing presence of missionaries in Mevasseret, an upscale community located just outside of Jerusalem.
Addressing the crowd, Rabbi Gavriel Ben Aharon spoke of the conniving way the missionaries have been infiltrating Mevasseret. He said he recently evicted from his shul a missionary who had joined two years earlier under false pretenses, and who had participated in Torah classes and tefillos in order to hide his true identity.
Rabbi Avraham Chen said that he had been told by reliable sources that missionaries are operating in elementary and junior high schools in Mevasseret, with the goal of severing the connection between young people and their families and, ultimately, getting them to convert to Christianity.
Local council member Ariel Tzion called on the missionaries to “leave our community alone and stop getting involved with our young children! Let us live like Jews … leave our community and Israel!”
Meir Shmul, a local council member who is one of the founders of Mevasseret, made a special effort to attend the rally despite having just undergone an operation. He demanded that the missionaries leave the children of Mevasseret alone. “It wasn’t for this that we built this community,” he said.
The most recent outrage involves a 16-year-old girl who entered into a seemingly innocent relationship with the missionary in front of whose home the protesters demonstrated. The girl soon found herself attending prayer groups and being subjected to brainwashing. Gradually she came to accept J and began to pull away from her parents, an established, upper class family, and informed them that she wanted to move to a messianic dormitory.
The shocked parents quickly contacted Yad L’Achim’s countermissionary department, which investigated the case and found that it was serious. Yad L’Achim sent its lawyers to the family to help them file a police complaint against the missionary for harassment.
Rabbi Gavriel Ben Aharon revealed that he had a missionary in his shul who succeeded in hiding his identity for two years
The case recently came before the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, with the parents seeking an injunction ordering the missionary to stay away from their daughter. Seeing that the judge was inclined to grant the injunction, the missionary voluntarily offered to stay away from the girl. However, despite her promise, she has continued her contact with the girl.
In the wake of these developments, a special meeting was convened among Mevasseret Rabbis, local council members and Yad L’Achim officials to decide on steps to take against the missionaries. One result was Sunday’s demonstration, which drew people from all segments of Mevasseret – religious and secular alike – to the home of the missionary with an unyielding demand: Get out of our community.
At one point, the girl’s parents took the microphone and pleaded tearfully: “Come back to us. Return home. We are waiting for you with open arms!”
Yad L’Achim revealed that this case is, tragically, not an isolated incident. According to activists, “missionaries have seen Mevasseret as a strategic target, for they are proud to say in their publications that the name of the community blends Tzion with the word that is key to them — besora – revelation. Several missionary leaders have moved recently from Jerusalem to Mevasseret.”
Yad L’Achim chairman Rabbi Shalom Dov Lipshitz renewed his call “to anyone for whom the fate of children and youth is important to do everything in their power to amend the missionary law so that it prevents the spread of missionaries.”