Latest UPDATE: (October 2011)
Important UPDATE (January 2011)
Remember the Waltons – a popular television series focused on a salt-of-the-earth American family living in rural America? Well say “good-night” to John Boy, because the Wallers are in Israel - and this wholesome, hard-working, Jesus-loving family is bigger-than-life and a whole lot better-looking than the Walton clan. But looks can be deceiving...
Tommy Waller and his family of 13, plus a company of many more, are here to help with the grape harvest and do other agricultural work in or near the communities of Har Bracha, Ariel, Itamar and Shiloh.
It’s not that the Wallers aren’t good, moral, upstanding Christians – because they are. It’s just that the old “one new man” and grafted thing keeps getting in the way. As devout evangelicals the Wallers have a hankerin’ for “breaking barriers” and “planting the grapes in Samaria, with the people of Israel and at the same time, chipping away at that wall.” Meanwhile, the Jews are obligated to keep those fences intact and avoid avoda zarah at all costs.
If it helps clear the air, Jewish Israel would like evangelicals (and Jews for that matter) to understand that our avoidance of a theologically-based Jewish-Christian reconciliation is not due to generations of anti-Semitic baggage. Rather, it is an halachic issue of the highest order.
Geula Girl blogged powerfully about the Waller’s no-wall stance and " the duty of every Torah Jew to strengthen the wall that they are so determined to bring down.”
Devash has done extensive research on the Wallers as missionaries . Jewish Israel suggests that you read both posts.
So whereas some bloggers are taken-aback by the activities of the Waller’s, others appear to be taken-in…
Yisrael Medad , recently spoke to a group affiliated with the Waller Family and he blogs, “they didn't try to convert me. We bonded as persons of a spiritual consciousness, recognizing the importance of a Jewish presence in our Land.”
[Jewish Israel wonders if the usage of “our land” was intentional or Freudian, as Sherri Waller expressed similar feelings when she laid claim to the Land of Israel…“For us it’s a spiritual deal – a faith deal,” said Sherri Waller. “The battle is over the land because God gave it to the descendents of Abraham – that includes us.”].
Before continuing, it’s important to note that the Wallers are close with missionary Pastor David Ortiz of the messianic congregation in Ariel and they participate in worship activities at Succat Hallel – a missionary worship center on Mt. Zion promoting activities which clearly target Israeli youth.
Christian bloggers pretty much say it like it is: “The Waller family lives in Israel part-time, helping the settlers in the West Bank tend their gardens and, in the process, sharing the love of Christ with them.”
The Waller Family itself has a Ministry site and mission: “We are dedicated as a family to sharing the Gospel of Yeshua (Jesus) by serving the people of Israel within the agricultural settlements and Kibbutzim. We believe that we are living in, what has been prophesied as, the end times.”
Zac Waller exclaims, “the harvest is so incredible! Just seeing the fruit of your labor is rewarding but to think about the greater harvest, when all of Israel is saved! Such an awesome picture!
Penina Taylor of Shomrei Emet reminds us that when evangelicals speak about “the harvest”, it is intrinsically connected to “harvesting Jewish souls”.
A member of the Waller’s Harvesting Team pens, “This year I'll be going with the Wallers, plus twenty-five+ other people to Israel. We will spend about two-three weeks pruning the vineyards… The Bible mentions we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and that Jesus would not return until knowledge of Him had returned to the Jews. The Wallers are directly working towards this goal.”
That same harvester is fervently praying for Shiloh’s David Rubin, “Please pray for Mr. Rubin, he is not a ‘Completed Jew’, and does not believe in Jesus, but I think that he is open, and honest enough to look into the matter earnestly.”
It seems David Rubin put in an appearance at Michael W. Smith’s New River Fellowship Church in Tennessee, and “Smith has always had a heart for the land of Isreal and for the Jewish people to come to know Jesus. Much of their mission outreach is directed to Israel.” And just look at the results.
(if it helps, Jewish Israel is praying for you too, David. We pray that you stop speaking at missionary and messianic churches).
We’re also praying for Eliezer Braun of Shomron. He was recently a guest at East River Ministries, which is actively supporting “harvesting” in Tel Aviv . Braun supports the Waller’s endeavors through his organization Shuva Israel.
The Itamar News Update: “ Itamar enjoyed the visit of their dear friend Tom Waller together with his group of other American supporters of Israel. The group was so special and included people from different states like Tennessee, Ohio, OK, Kentucky, California, and more. We want to express our great appreciation for their coming to show their support with Itamar.”
Anita Tucker a Jewish Israel board member, and former farmer in Gush Katif, understands drip irrigation and missionaries well. She gave us a drop of her common sense:
“Missionizing is not dumping me in the water to baptize me. It is the slow drip of fogging my definitions and their definitions until they seem as one. While they [the Christians] are still as clear as day on what their goal is; we [the Jews] are left confused.”
Jewish Israel isn’t confused, but it seems certain Jewish leaders are, and rather than strengthen the Jewish people, and reinforce those fences around the Torah, during a time of spiritual confusion; they just keep crossing and blurring the lines.
It’s Erev Succot and “harvest” time in Israel.