In a demonstration of continued collaboration with grape harvesting volunteers Tommy and Sherri Waller and their Hayovel Ministries, "Rabbi Eliezer Melamed has taken an initiative to establish a Christian Zionist Visitor Center on the Mount of Blessing in Samaria". Rabbi Melamed is actively trying to gather rabbinic backing for the initiative and has reportedly declared “If we say no to these people, we will say no to the Messiah!”
As is evident from Hayovel-related mission videos, promotional blogs, newsletters, personal appeals, film projects, and events posters, Hayovel’s volunteers are diligently working in Samaria in order to lay the groundwork for a Christian "Restoration" in the land of Israel. Building spiritual bridges with the Jewish people in Israel is one means of accomplishing this goal.
Certain rabbis, community leaders and entrepreneurs in Yehuda and Shomron readily disregard recent rabbinic guidelines and advice on how to avoid potential pitfalls when dealing with the spiritual mission and faith-based agenda of Christian groups. These rabbis and leaders have shown that they will even accommodate and incorporate aspects of Christian end-times prophecy, as long as these gentile volunteers continue their work of "serving us" and remain such avid "pro-Israel" ambassadors.
For many Israelis, continued evangelical political, humanitarian and financial support for the state of Israel dwarfs or erases the theological, spiritual or physical costs, and challenges that impassioned Christian sects present to a Jewish population dependent on their aid.
As these Christian volunteers become increasingly attached to the Land of Israel, their religious fervor has translated into concrete support of missionary activity and increased affiliations with messianic entities in Israel which pose a direct challenge to Israel's Jewish character. It's unfortunate to see Shomron wineries and vintners literally on the same page as aggressive missionary organizations and those preachers who gloat about proselytizing Jews.
In earlier reports, JewishIsrael pointed to the Waller family's high profile participation in an anti-Semitic, pro-missionary film. More recently, Waller’s Hayovel Ministries has been sharing the podium with infamous messianic leadership in Israel, including the anti-Orthodox Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ), which aggressively campaigns for Christian aliyah, as well as with militant end-times messianic pastor Doron Keidar, who has recently become a Hayovel representative.
Hayovel recruits their staff and volunteers mostly from US-based messianic congregations and christ-centered Hebraic roots sects. Consequently, many of the Hayovel harvest participants aspire to Aliyah, some even referring to themselves as "Torah observant" believers in jesus christ or as equal inheritors of the land. JewishIsrael will address the growing problem of Christian aliyah in an upcoming report.
Hayovel Ministries has grown significantly over the past few years. Jews in Yehuda and Shomron are increasingly dependent on Hayovel’s volunteer work, political lobbying in Washington, and business partnerships. As these ties increase and become binding, it will become progressively more difficult to call the Wallers to order over their growing and very problematic affiliations with missionary entities in Israel.
Lines are being indelibly crossed. Concerns about the Christian volunteers like the Wallers prompted the Committee of Binyamin Region Rabbis to formulate a comprehensive document in 2012, of "principles regarding the acceptance of monetary and manpower assistance from Christian organizations or individuals".
It becomes an immense problem when leaders such as Rabbi Eliezer Melamed are quoted by popular Hayovel-affiliated end-days evangelical preachers as having said, “If we say no to these people, we will say no to the Messiah!”
Rabbi Melamed was obviously not an endorser of the halachic position taken by the Binyamin rabbinic committee. Perhaps it is time that he review it and consider the potential consequences of his actions.
The costs of encouraging a Christian attachment to the land of Israel are becoming alarmingly apparent. Certain vintners, rabbis and activists in Yehuda and Shomron, who think they have a handle on end-times prophecy and "restoration" as understood by Christians, may want to sober up and use a little wisdom when they look ahead, lest they pour their own heritage down the drain.
JewishIsrael has significant information about Hayovel Ministries. We urge those working with the ministry or concerned about the activities of the Waller family to contact us for a complete presentation.
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: