News article and commentary
Translation of Article in the Sheva weekly dated 22 Feb 07
The Rabbinate Against “The Messianics/Christians”
The Chief Rabbinic Council for Israel decided in its meeting last Monday (20 February) to establish a special committee for “War Against the Mission Throughout the Country”.
The initiator of the matter, the Chief Rabbi of Beer Sheva and a member of the Council, the Rabbi Yehuda Deri, notes that he, [along with] Rabbi Simcha Ha-Cohen, the Chief Rabbi of Rehovot, and Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz, the Chief Rabbi of Ra’anana and former Chairman of the Shas movement and Minister of the Interior, will work on the matter, within the framework of the Committee, by holding meetings with Members of Parliament (Knesset), acting to change the law regarding missionary work, cooperating with rabbis in the battle of this matter, and working with the police in enforcing the existing law, which forbids changing [of one’s] religion. Rabbi Deri noted in the meeting of the Council that activities of the sect “the Messianic Jews”, in Beer Sheva in particular and in the country generally, is “the spiritual danger that threatens us today more than ever”, and presented different instances of activities of members of the sect throughout the country, in which he emphasized the fact that the Chief Rabbinate has not yet expressed its opinion on the matter. Among other things, the Rabbi told about the baptism of 15 Jews on one Sabbath (Saturday) about two months ago at [an Exhibition Hall] in Tel Aviv.
The Chief Rabbinic Council discussed the issue of the filing of another lawsuit in the Magistrate’s Court in Beer Sheva against Rabbi Deri by persons of the sect, this time for [financial] compensation, for offenses against activities of “the Messianic Jews” during a mass demonstration led by the Rabbi about one year ago in which there was violence. Rabbi Deri reported at that time to Sheva [newspaper] that a few hotheads arrived at the demonstration site before him and engaged in violent acts, which were stopped immediately by him. The Rabbi is certain that the lawsuit is “a stepping up and an opening of a frontline war, which is intended only to frighten him and to restrict his steps in his uncompromising battle unprecedented in its scope against the sect’s activities”.
By the way, Rabbi Deri mentions with praise the success of his latest initiative to enforce the decision of the local rabbinate, according to which about 300 restaurants in the city that enjoy the supervision of the rabbinate will use only worm-free vegetables, except for cabbage. In his words, “Not one of the business owners had to give up his kosher license in the follow-up to apply the decision, which is an increase of ten degrees in the field of food acceptability. Other cities in the country can only be jealous of this outstanding precedent.”
Shalom from where all things converge!
The recent filing of the lawsuit against the Chief Rabbi of Beer Sheva and Yad L’Achim has received written media attention in the Sheva weekly newspaper, published 22nd February. A copy of that article is attached for your review. It should be noted that the terminology has been changed from “struggle against the mission” to “war against the mission”, which is what it was in reality. We again solicit your on-going and fervent prayers for all of the brethren who are involved in this matter, as well as prayers for the salvation of those who presently oppose us and who seek to prevent the promulgation of the Gospel in Israel.
As many of you are aware, there are a number of different battles going on around the Promised Land over the issue of believing in the Name of the Son of God. It does seem that the signs of the times are heating up — and not just physical global warming! — as the Sovereign God works straitens [sic] us to bring to pass that “which is written”. Your prayers according to His will for all of us are greatly valued, and we pray for your own watchfulness in your own territories.
In Messiah with you,