Official fundraising bodies for the Shomron Regional Council, such as Shuva Israel, as well as private charitable endeavors, like the Shiloh Children's Fund, regularly solicit and encourage some of the very same evangelical organizations which are actively engaged in missionary activities in Israel and involved in efforts to proselytize Israel's most vulnerable sectors.
JewishIsrael prepared this report after we received a number of inquiries from Jewish sources regarding the legitimacy of an "Emergency Campaign For the Sake of Judea and Samaria", which was disseminated via email. The email requested that donations be made out to "Blessingisrael.com" or to "Shuva Israel". Apparently a number of Jews were confused as to nature of the organization doing the soliciting (Jewish or Christian? Is it an official body of the Shomron Regional Council?, "Is it kosher?", "what do you know about this effort?", "Is it a good thing?").
Before we proceed, JewishIsrael reminds its readership that all members of the staff and board of JewishIsrael are an active part of the national camp and have spoken on behalf of and are supportive of the communities in Yehuda and Shomron. This makes our job and this report particularly difficult.
JewishIsrael hopes that this report will serve as a wake-up call for Jewish leadership and that 5774 will be a year of accountability and responsibility – a time for leaders in Yehuda and Shomron to reassess relationships with those parties which target and deceive Jews and which strive to empower Christian messianic sects in Israel.
Eliezer Braun and Shuva Israel bridging the gap and reconciling with Christian missionaries
Eliezer Braun is the Director on the Interfaith Department of the Shomron Regional Council, where he also serves as a spokesman for Shomron Regional Governor Gershon Mesika, and fundraises for that body via Shuva Israel (blessingisrael.com), an organization focused on attracting Christian donations.
Shuva Israel's stated mission is to reach out to Evangelical Christians to say, "Come let us join hands, together, Jews and Christians for the purpose of fulfilling Biblical prophecy." Shuva Israel’s website features such content as the references to the history of the Shomron from a new testament perspective and a letter from a missionary pastor whose church supports a number of messianic Christian organizations which actively proselytize Israel's most vulnerable sectors.
In Braun's presentations to church groups, he uses Christian imagery, cites Christian theology, and blurs the lines between faiths.
Braun has written a book about the grand reconciliation between Judaism and Christianity, titled "Bridging the Divide: The Journey of an Israeli Jew into the Christian Evangelical World”.
Those Jews who wish to support Shomron causes but who are uncomfortable with Shuva Israel's missionary affiliations and Shuva’s approach to relations with Christian groups, should either find an alternative means to contribute or ask the leadership of the Shomron Regional Council some pretty tough questions.
David Rubin of Shiloh Children's Fund collaborates with Zola Levitt missionaries
Since 2005, David Rubin, former mayor of Shiloh, who runs the Shiloh Children's Fund, has been welcoming messianic "rabbi" Myles Weiss, of messianic church Beth Shalom, to Shiloh. Weiss, a hard-core missionary with his eyes on Israel, was purportedly born Jewish and boasts on his blog of having proselytized with Jews for Jesus and of having converted his own mother and sister to Christianity.
Weiss has formed a remarkable and disturbing bond with David Rubin, to the point where Shiloh Children's Fund has become a part of Beth Shalom's stated missionary vision on their website. Rubin's name and that of the Shiloh Children's Fund regularly appear on Beth Shalom's recipient lists of funding – alongside the names of notorious missionaries and leaders of the messianic community in Israel.
Already as far back as 2005 and again in 2008 and in 2009, this writer tried to alert those leaders and activists involved with Myles Weiss as to his true agenda. Nevertheless, Yehuda and Shomron's very best continue to involve themselves with Weiss – especially since Weiss and his wife now run the popular Christian missionary television show Zola Levitt Presents.
For those who are unaware, Zola Levitt, who died in 2006, was a Jewish convert to evangelical Christianity who founded Zola Levitt Ministries with the goal of converting Jews to evangelical Christianity. "Levitt was one of a number of fundamentalist ministers to realize that there was an economic and spiritual niche in "missions to the Jews."
David Rubin, David Wilder, and David Ha'ivri were interviewed by Weiss and filmed by the Zola Levitt crew in the spring of 2012. The episodes were aired on Zola Levitt Presents in September 2012.
A month ago, in August 2013, David Rubin was the "cover boy", so to speak, of Zola Levitt's missionary newsletter. It is not a pretty picture, as Rubin's lead article as well as photos of and references to Rubin can be found throughout the 36 page publication, alongside stories of conversions and baptisms of Israelis performed at the hands of some of the most virulent missionaries in Israel. The personal letter from Myles Weiss which accompanies the newsletter places emphasis on evangelizing and the need to build-up the messianic community in Israel.
While in Israel, Myles and his crew also filmed a number of missionaries who target Jews for conversion, including the notorious Jacob Damkani, who according to the Levitt promo, "fearlessly brings the Gospel to Israelis". Indeed Damkani is a regular guest on Zola Levitt and he is an especially provocative missionary who aggressively proselytizes.
Last February, Damkani took a trip to the Shomron, where he was photographed speaking to and surrounded by a group of young Jewish children from the area.
Damkani runs the missionary Hotel Gilgal in Tel Aviv (archived copy of hotel's original promo page can be found here), where he hosts a number of "Christian Zionist" groups, including those who have partnered with and promote Tommy Waller of Hayovel Ministries.
Damkani and his Ministry Trumpet of Salvation, like the Waller family and Hayovel were among the many missionaries who collaborated in the production of anti-Semitic missionary documentary, "Restoration".
While the Waller family does not engage in the direct proselytizing of Jews in Samaria, they do work with and recruit from the many Fundamentalist Christian and messianic congregations which do aspire to cross lines between faiths in an attempt to bring Jews to a belief in Jesus in Israel.
Under the circumstances, "shmad" would not be an incorrect term to use for what is being allowed to occur in Israel. David Rubin, Eliezer Braun, David Ha'ivri and Jewish leadership in Yehuda and Shomron need to stop and think, and to use a great deal of wisdom, foresight and honesty in their dealings with evangelizing Christians. As an alternative, perhaps they should stop dealing with them altogether!
It is most tragic that Torah observant leadership in Israel has unabashedly chosen to partner with and embrace those who are determined to draw Jews away from their faith.
Upcoming Reports: Waller Family's view of Jerusalem: There's something about the Aish rooftop…
Video preview: The Future of Israel with Caleb Waller
Related posts in the blogosphere
Jewishisrael notes that the following blogspots are carrying a number of recent posts expressing concern about Hayovel Ministries and their affiliations: