By Stefan J. Bos, Worthy News International Correspondent
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (Worthy News)– A hard-line Jewish ultra-Orthodox group in Israel has launched a campaign against Christian missionaries and Jewish Christians, known as Messianic Jews, who they view as a security threat.
The group Yad L’Achim confirmed Wednesday, June 29, that one of its latest activities wasa noisy demonstration near the home of Serge and Naama Kogen, a native Israeli couple,who allegedly “converted” a Jewish teenager to Christianity.
Sunday’s protest in Mevasseret Zion, a suburb west of Jerusalem, came despite public denials by the couple that they forced 16-year-old Donna Lubofsky to have faith in Yeshua (Jesus).
The couple said Donna expressed interest in attending their congregational worship and they had “obtained permission from her mother.” The Kogens also claimed they helped the girl to overcome alcohol abuse and other potentially self-destructive behaviors amid tensions with her parents.
Donna said in published remarks that the Kogens “never tried to get me to believe. They are just good people.”
Yet, Yad L’Achim argued that “shocked parents quickly contacted” its “countermissionary department, which investigated the case and found that it was serious.”
Yad L’Achim added that its lawyers visited the family “to help them file a police complaint against the missionary for harassment.”
The group also said it would pressure Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, to introduce tough legislation banning missionary activities in the Jewish state.
It already published an advertisement in Haaretz newspaper warning that “Messianic Jews are pulling the wool over our eyes”. “The time has come to legislate a law that will put the brakes on the missionaries’ destructive activities!”, the June add concluded.
The group has also organized a mass protest against missionaries.
Additionally, Yad L’Achim expressed concerns about reports that 1,000 American Christians signed a document requesting to convert to Judaism, move to Israel, and settle in Samaria.
The plan was hatched by American Baruch Abramovich, who hosts a messianic Russian-Christian radio show. Yad L’Achim described the Christians however as “missionaries” whose real aim was to convert Jews to Christianity.
Abramovich reportedly said however that “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.”
The latest developments have underscored what some Israeli media view as a significant escalation in incitement against local Jewish Christians and alleged missionaries. These are no isolated incidents.
In a recent comment, Israel’s Channel One television noted that at a recent Yad L’Achim rally, Messianic Jews were declared as dangerous to the Jewish nation as Hitler had been.
The segment, titled “The Jewish Big Brother,” included an interview with a young Jewish woman who does not believe in Yeshua, Israel Today publication reported.
She is an organ player and the only place she could find to practice her music was a downtown Jerusalem monastery. But that’s when the trouble began, both for the girl and the monastery.
The girl recounted how her parents received an anonymous written warning from Jewish anti-missionaries who said their daughter was being preyed upon by Christians.
When the girl continued accepting the hospitality of the monastery she reportedly began receiving anonymous phone calls, and was sure she was being followed and watched. “I felt like I was in a suspense movie,” she said. “I was constantly looking over my shoulder.”
Yad L’Achim also targeted the monastery itself, advising Israel’s Ministry of the Interior to revoke the residency visa of the priest overseeing the facility, media reported.
His case was reportedly still pending, but the priest has apparently been forced to all but go underground in an effort to preserve both his and his staff’s ability to be in Israel.
Yad L’Achim director Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifschitz said however if the missionaries are not stopped, soon “there will be no Jews left here.”
Messianic Jews counter that there’s no reason for panic as they are real Jews who happen to believe that Yeshua is the Messiah.
Read more about the Christian Persecution in Israel.