[Jewish Israel notes that there have been a number of new developments with Rabbi Riskin since this report was written. We urge readers to use the links at the bottom of this report to reference updated information, or use our search facility in the upper right hand corner of the screen.]
Back in May 2007, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel proscribed Jewish participation in a Judeo-Christian summit sponsored by the The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus Women's Council. The Rabbinate's decision, as well as a subsequent decision on the Annual Succot march, was initially reported by Arutz 7 and resulted in wide international coverage.
An editorial debate was sparked over the direction of the Israel-evangelical relationship in which a number of opposing opinions of rabbis, columnists, activists, community leaders, and evangelicals were presented.
Below are the links to the ongoing debate which appeared in the Jerusalem Post and other Israeli publications (in English):
THE OPED DEBATE
The Oped debate was sparked when columnist Ellen Horowitz wrote an editorial defending the Rabbinate's ruling and the efforts of then Jerusalem City Councilwoman Mina Fenton. The piece was distributed by a number of print and online publications:
THE JUDEO-CHRISTIAN DIVIDE (May 30)
It prompted something of an outcry among Zionist activists:
Ruth Matar of Women in Green responded
WHO ARE THE EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS? (June 17)
Avi Lipkin former editor for the Israel Government Press Office and a former spokeperson for IDF penned a response in a messianic publication
ISRAEL'S RABBINATE AND THE HOLOCAUST (June 7)
Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz, Director of Jews for Judaism wrote a widely distributed piece
KNIGHTS IN SHINING ARMOR OR TROJAN HORSES? (June 19)
Isi Leibler wrote in the Jerusalem Post:
THE CHIEF RABBINATE IS WRONG ABOUT EVANGELICALS (June 12)
Ellen Horowitz challenged Isi Leibler and responded in the Jerusalem Post with the following editorial:
RIGHT OF REPLY: BEWARE THEOLOGICAL RED LINES (June 20)
Isi Liebler had a Letter to the Editor published in the Jerusalem Post the following day defending his stance
Shelly Neese, managing editor the Washington DC-based Christian publication, The Jerusalem Connection, International, had a piece published in the Jerusalem Post:
LET OUR UNCONDITIONAL ALLIANCE BE MUTUAL (July 17)
Rabbi Riskin responded to Horowitz and Leibler with his own oped:
IN PRAISE OF CHRISTIAN-JEWISH INTERFAITH DIALOGUE (July 24)
Ellen Horowitz responded to that oped with a Letter to the Editor of The Jerusalem Post: (July 27)
Ellen Horowitz wrote another oped, published in the Jerusalem Post which questioned Rabbi Riskin's and other Jewish leaders' understanding of the evangelical concept of grafting:
A JEWISH MOTHER'S GUIDE TO END TIMES (August 27, )
Reverend Malcolm Hedding, head of ICEJ, responded to Horowitz with a scathing oped piece in the JPost
DON'T REJECT CHRISTIAN FRIENDSHIP (Sept.4)
Ellen Horowitz responded with a Letter to the Editor
ISRAEL'S MESSIANIC RESTORATION MAGAZINE runs a featured story on Jerusalem City Councilwoman Mina Fenton and her efforts:
"Mina Fenton's worst fear is that Messianic Jews would be successful and that great numbers of Jews in Israel would become disciples of Yeshua. She thinks this would destroy the Jewish people..."
Arutz 7 reports on September 17, 2007 that, The Chief Rabbinate of Israel issues a ruling welcoming the Christians arriving for the annual Feast of Tabernacles pilgrimage - and banning Jews from participating due to a missionary presence. The story is also covered by YNET, the JPost, Haaretz and makes international headlines on Fox News. Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network CBN features headlines that that "Two Prominent Rabbis Defy Ban" ( Rabbi Riskin and then MK Rabbi Benny Elon)
Michael Freund enters the the fray with a column in the Jerusalem Post:
NO WAY TO TREAT OUR CHRISTIAN FRIENDS (Sept. 18)
Ellen Horowitz requests the opportunity to write an oped reply to Freund's piece. The Jpost expresses interest as long as David Parson's (lawyer and ICEJ spokesperson) presents a counter oped for balance. Parsons opts out.
Ellen Horowitz responds to Freund via an oped which gets published in IsraelInsider and Arutz 7:
THE UNKOSHER FEAST (sept. 21)
Malcolm Hedding from ICEJ issues a statement
The Jerusalem Post runs a lead editorial
WELCOME CHRISTIAN FRIENDS (Sept. 23)
[Jewish Israel notes that the Jerusalem Post and ICEJ are in a publishing partnership together and publish the Jerusalem Post Christian Edition]
THE RISKIN BLOG DEBATE
Prior to the launching of Jewishisrael.com, Ellen Horowitz posted on a number of issues on Batya Medad's Shilohmsings blogspot. The following are links to some of those posts which address the interfaith policies and activities of Rabbi Riskin of Efrat.
Where do I begin…Rabbi Riskin? (Ellen Horowitz,April 3, 2008) Rabbi Riskin's plans to attend a United Nations Prayer Banquet featuring a prominent member of Jews for Jesus, and a regional Director of CUFI who has called for efforts to convert Jews
Riskin, the Rav and the Rebbe (Ellen Horowitz, April 6, 2008)
A report on some disturbing activities and declarations by those affiliated with The International Center for Biblical Zionism - a project of Ohr Torah Stone and Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
Yisrael Medad posted Rabbi Riskin's response to Ellen Horowitz on his blogsite
Rabbi Riskin on Christian Support for Israel (April 9, 2008)
Ellen Horowitz posted both Rabbi Riskin's response as well as her new comments
Rabbi Riskin responds, and so do I (Ellen Horowitz, April 21, 2008)
Rabbi Riskin, Ellen Horowitz, and Penina Taylor, Director of the Jerusalem Branch of Jews for Judaism held a meeting on May 27, 2008. The meeting was brief and cordial and Rabbi Riskin was presented with theological evidence challenging his interpretation of certain Christian scriptures (particularly "grafting") which he uses in his defense of interfaith dialogue
[note: Penina Taylor is a former evangelical missionary and messianic church leader who teaches Christian theology to counter-missionaries].
Rabbi Riskin was invited for further discussions with Horowitz and the Jerusalem Director of Jews for Judaism.
Robertson turns up the "heat" on the Jews (Ellen Horowitz June 6, 2008)
The following week Horowitz posted an update in which she mentioned the meeting and a psak Rabbi Riskin had once issued regarding the burning of missionary materials (which he relayed to her at the meeting).
David Nekrutman of Rabbi Riskin's Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Efrat phoned Horowitz to clarify the context of the ruling and she made note of that in the update
Did you hear the one about the Jewish Knight, the Pope, the Rabbi, and Jesus? (Ellen Horowitz December 15, 2008)
A report on a number of disturbing developments in connection with Rabbi Riskin's interfaith Center, including an invitation to invite Christians to pray in the name of Jesus in a synagogue, fund raising events held with church groups that promote messianic Judaism in Israel, and gestures towards the Vatican
Rabbi Riskin responded on December 25, 2008 to Horowitz and she posted his response in full per his request, as promised.
Isi Leibler writes a column in the Jerusalem Post on August 16, 2009 entitiled Candidly Speaking: Evangelicals: An appreciation
Ellen Horowitz replies to Leibler on August 19, 2009 on Israelinsider: "Isi, think like a Jew"
Rabbi Riskin's Parsha Column The Universal Covenant, September 4, 2009
UPDATE: Rabbi Riskin Explains 'Resurrection' Remarks (INN A7 report) (IsraelNN.com) A Christian Embassy video features Rabbi Shlomo Riskin using language that some Jews charge is theologically problematic. Speaking later with Israel National News, Rabbi Riskin retracted part and explained the rest...
Rabbi Riskin discusses Jesus and Messianism
Statement from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and Reaction by Rabbi Sholom Gold
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, in Jerusalem, Promoting 2009 Christian Day of Prayer for Peace
Invoking Melchizedek - or Jesus - in Jerusalem?
Rabbi Riskin at the CUFI 2010 Convention in Jerusalem
Interfaith Jesus resort to open on shores of Galilee
The Galilean Resort’s Missionary and Rabbinic Hechsher
Are messianics missionaries? We asked the experts