Hundreds of residents of Jerusalem's Talpiot and Bakaa
neighborhoods participated last week in a large demonstration
organized by Lev L'Achim's Department for the Struggle
Against the Missions. It took place near the missionary
center of the Bethlehem Community messianic Jewish group,
located at 48 Derech Beit Lechem in Jerusalem.
The numerous demonstrators assembled at the site despite the
heavy downpour. They came to protest the missionaries'
activity. By their presence they prevented an "open house"
meeting which was supposed to take place that evening. A
group of thirty Jewish women were scheduled to attended their
final session with a conversion counselor in preparation for
group baptism in the Jordan River two days later, on January
As a result of the demonstration, organized by Lev L'Achim's
anti-missionary division, the evening's session was canceled
and the mass conversion ceremony postponed. A spokesman for
Lev L'Achim described the congregation's meeting place as not
being a church, per se, which might put even Jews with
a minimal religious background on their guard. "There are no
crosses or other religious symbols. Services are held every
Shabbos, and include what appear to be traditional readings
from the Torah and, lehavdil elef havdolos, from the
Christian Bible. Followers are not told to give up their
Judaism, but `merely' to add belief in J. and his
The coordinator of Lev L'Achim in Jerusalem told the media
that Lev L'Achim would demonstrate wherever missionary
activity takes place and will persist in their demands for
enforcement of the law forbidding missionary activity,
including proselytizing. It is known that such missionary
activity is well-financed.
Area residents learned about the planned meeting on Tuesday
afternoon. A spontaneous organization of the demonstration
ensued, expressing the community's abhorrence of missionary
activity. The many demonstrators who participated carried
placards condemning the missionaries and demanding that the
police enforce the laws which forbid missionary activity.
Activists in the anti-missionary field estimate that there
are some seventy communities of "messianic" Jews scattered
throughout Israel who actively engage in missionary
activities among Jews. Recently, two sites in Bnei Brak were
rented by missionary organizations looking for bases for
their efforts to snare local residents. They are financed by
millions of dollars donated by international church
organizations around the globe. Some 5,000 adults -- many of
them Jews, R"l -- are active in full and part-time
missionary activity in Israel today.