Anne Ayalon, Rabbi Riskin and a host of other Jewish Israeli luminaries, have gone public - via an internet site - with plans for the establishment of a five-star resort, “celebrating” the Christian faith.
The Galilean resort is being built on prime real estate on the shores of the Sea of Galilee - in the “cradle of Christianity”, and is being heralded as “an historic opportunity to establish the world Christian spiritual center at the very birthplace of Christianity.”
The name “Galilean”, according to standard dictionary and Christian definitions, can be a reference to “a Christian”, or “an epithet for Jesus”. It can also refer to a native of the
Galilee. Whatever the case, “the Galilean resort” will most certainly be a christ-centered, state of the art facility.
In addition to the stuff that deluxe hotels and spas are made of, “Hotel Jesus” boasts a chapel designed as a 1st century temple, an educational center and library, a performing arts auditorium, outdoor amphitheatre, multimedia and broadcast center, business conference center and much,much more. The homepage states, “it is our belief that, very soon, we will be able to say....‘Meet me in the Galilee’ (a reference to Matthew 28:1-10, referring to the resurrection of a dead man).
Theological agreement and “oneness”:
In addition to the obvious adoration of Jesus, the site speaks of “encouraging a sense of ‘oneness’ with the Jewish people" and fostering “understanding and reconciliation between Jews and Christians through proactive study of areas of theological agreement, explanation of Jewish religion…” (if you just heard a groan, it was most likely that of Rav Soloveitchik, z”l - from the grave).
From baptisms to Aish:
In one breath you can read about The Galilean’s planned spiritual events- “ baptisms in the Sea, repeating wedding vows ceremony, pilgrim boat rides, Jesus' ministry alive, biblical history, Aish HaTora Discovery Program, and more.” (Does Aish know about this? What would Rav Noah Weinberg, z”l have said?)
A million dollar altar:
Funds are being solicited for a chapel, “designed as a 1st century synagogue, just like those in which Jesus prayed and worshiped”. The altar is priced at a million dollars. But those with more modest means may like to chip-in for “the Lord’s prayer” walls (from the gospels of Matthew and Luke). BTW, that last groan sounded like Rambam, who would surely be stunned by the thought of Jews raising funds to construct a Christian house of worship in Eretz Yisrael.
Jewish Israel ‘s readership will not be surprised to find out that Anne Ayalon, the wife of Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon, is the Founder and President of The Galilean and President A.D. Galilean Estates. In May of 2009, Jewish Israel reported on Anne’s sales pitch for Jesus on the missionary Daystar Television Network: "Eighty percent of Jesus' ministry is up in the Galilee. You walk there and you just feel god's love!"
A month later we reported on Anne’s Christian-Jewish endeavors and her management of ICC Galilee Properties Management LTD; “a company that invests in real estate development of the Galilee for the express purpose of educating Pilgrims about Israel, and of which she is President.”
Anne, who comes from a devout evangelical family, seems intent on perpetuating Jesus in the Holy Land (a funny mission for a purported convert to Judaism).
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, who is educational adviser for the Galilean team, holds highly controversial opinions on interfaith relations and has expressed his fascination and interest in Christianity and with the persona of “Rabbi” Jesus. So his involvement in this endeavor is par
for the course (please use our search facility in the upper right-hand corner of this site to view relevant posts, reports, and videos related to Rabbi Riskin’s views).
David Nekrutman is slated as educational director for the Galilean. Nekrutman also serves as the Executive Director for Rabbi Riskin’s Center of Jewish-Christian Understanding & Cooperation(CJCUC) in Efrat. According to the December 2008 issue of the Christian Edition of the Jerusalem Post, Nekrutman has no problem inviting Jesus to shul, as he “assured his guests that he wanted them to feel comfortable, and even urged them, despite being in a synagogue, to ‘pray in Jesus name. Don't leave Jesus at the door’." Nekrutman can be seen here in efforts to rehabilitate Pope Pius XII.
It’s distressing that David Zwebner Founder and Vice President of the Galilean and Managing Director of A.D. Galilean Estates apparently disregarded the information he was given on the severity of the missionary problem and growing Christian influence in Israel. On behalf of Rabbi Riskin, Zwebner attended a Rabbinic Conference addressing the issue which was held last February. Jewish Israel gave a presentation at that conference.
It’s no surprise that Isi Leibler also appears to endorse the Galilean project. This writer challenged Isi and his passionate, no holds barred, embrace of evangelicals in 2007 in the Jerusalem Post, and again in 2009 in Israel Insider .
The project enjoys a staggering Jewish-Christian list of endorsements . Everyone from Orthodox rabbis and Torah observant academics and entrepreneurs, to notorious mega-preachers and missionaries (including a famous advocate for Jews for Jesus), have jumped on this Jesus boat.
Rabbinic figures like Moti Elon, Benny Lau, Raphael Shore, and Gerald Meister add a seeming air of legitimacy to the mixed multitude. But someone ought to tell the good rabbis that there’s a serious missionary problem here in Israel, and good number of the Christian folks laying the cornerstone for Anne Ayalon and David Zwebner’s endeavors are simultaneously ripping the spiritual foundations out from under the Jewish people. (see our next post on Who’s Who on the Ayalon-Zwebner list).
Some lingering questions:
Would these scholars continue to endorse this project if they knew that Christian influence in Israel and the legitimization of the concept of Jesus is causing damage to Jews, Judaism and Eretz Yisrael?
In a state of spiritual weakness and shmad (which it appears we are in) is it wise to have these dealings with zealous Christians?
Jewish Israel understands that there are halachic disagreements with regards to the concept of shituf and teaching Gentiles Torah. However, what would our halachic
scholars have to say if they knew
1) that exposing devout Christians to Torah concepts could strengthen individual belief as well as the church leaderships' commitment to Jesus and their desire to bring Jesus to the
2) That teaching Torah to Gentiles would blur the lines between Judaism and Christianity and produce a strong and well-organized missionary-based community of "messianic
Jews" in Eretz Yisrael?
3) That the nurturing of interfaith relations would inspire and result in Christian influence in Jewish society and in Christians establishing a foothold and laying claim to Eretz Yisrael?
4) That the money, moral support and dependency on evangelical support would cause Torah observant Jews to compromise their principles and breach fences?
Rabbi Riskin is on record for stating the following:
“Churches are by their very nature involved in sending out pastors whose job is to spread the gospels; my interest is to try to get these churches to support Israel unconditionally and without specifying any mission to the Jews. If I were to discover that any who I have a connection with whose raison d'etre is converting the Jewish people, all ties with them would be severed.”
Part two of this report will expose certain personalities on Anne and David’s list as being fully committed in their mission to bringing the gospel to the Jews. We can start with Rabbi
Riskin’s good friend missionary Robert Stearns, who just last month was the featured speaker, along with two known “messianic” missionaries at IHOP’s Israel Mandate Conference. Based on this promotional video for the event it is clear that the intention is to target Jews with the gospel.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We hope that as a result of our reports, Rabbi Riskin will make good on his promise.
Next Post: Who’s Who on the Ayalon -Zwebner list
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