Police Arrest Violent Missionaries05/01/2013
Shortly after missionaries began spreading out across the Rova Gimmel neighborhood in Ashdod and distributing their poisonous material in mailboxes, Yad L’Achim activists were summoned to the area.
The activists sounded the alarm, warning residents of the spiritual danger of the innocent-looking brochures in their mail boxes. The missionaries, realizing that they’d been found out, made a hasty getaway.
Instead of giving up, however, they made their way to another neighborhood, distributing their material at the Star Center shopping center. Yad L’Achim activists appeared there as well, notifying passersby that the material being distributed to them was meant to convince them to convert and undergo baptism.
The missionaries, furious at once again being stymied by Yad L’Achim, began pummeling the activists with wild blows. Shoppers quickly alerted the police, who showed up and arrested two of the missionaries. The police later announced that the two were being brought up on criminal charges.
Rabbi Tzvi Drenger, a Yad L’Achim activist in Ashdod, related that this wasn’t the first instance of missionary violence. “In one instance, they tried to grab a camera from one of our activists that was meant to document their missionary activities,” he says. “In responding with violence and brutality, they removed their mask and revealed their true intentions. It became unnecessary to explain to passersby what the missionaries were really all about.”
In a related development, police announced that they were closing proceedings against two Yad L’Achim activists who had been falsely arrested and brought to court on trumped up charges of violence.
Rabbi Binyamin Kluger, a senior official in Yad L’Achim’s countermissionary department, was hauled off by police in front of his wife and children and forced to spend a night at the Russian Compound jail in Jerusalem. In the morning, when he was brought before the court for a hearing on extending his remand, the judge rebuked police for having held him with no evidence and ordered his immediate release.
At the same time, Rabbi Binyamin Vulcan, who is in charge of Yad L’Achim’s countermissionary field work, was arrested on similarly unfounded allegations. This week the police announced that it was closing both cases.
In response, Yad L’Achim announced that its legal department is considering taking action, since the incidents were clearly harassment. Furthermore, it clarified that “we will continue to use all legitimate means at our disposal to track the missionaries and halt their activities.”