David Wilder retracts on CUFI article

From: hebron.mail-owner@lists.hebron.org.il [mailto:hebron.mail-owner@lists.hebron.org.il] On Behalf Of Hebron
Sent: Sunday, August 07, 2011 8:43 PM
To: hebron.mail@lists.hebron.org.il
Subject: Beware! by David Wilder



by David Wilder
The Jewish Community of Hebron
August 5, 2011


This is being written during the ‘nine days’ – a week and a half leading to the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av, the day marking the destruction of the first and second Temples, thousands of years ago. These days of mourning allow us a period of introspection, studying about Beit HaMikdash, the Temple, as life was then, prior to the destruction, the reasons for the devastation, and life, as it’s been, ever since. It’s not easy to weep for something you’ve never physically known, for a spiritual entity unknown to us. However, the sparks of that reality continue to nourish us to this very day, and we cry out, desiring not only the sparks, but the restoration of life as it was, before the Temples were erased from our history.

At present, during these days of sorrow, my introspection has led me down unexpected paths. Last week I wrote an article titled, “Christians and Jews, United for Israel .” The article includes photographs from a conference in Washington , of me and some of my friends, who participated in this event.

Since the article’s posting, I received numerous responses, most of them being quite positive. However, I knew, prior to publication, that there would be those who opposed the entire concept of Jews and Christians working together. I also received reactions from people, including friends of mine in Hebron , who were greatly perturbed by the article and what it seemed to represent.  Some of those reactions were general; others, more specific. 

Despite my disagreements with them, I read their thoughts, and also contacted a friend of mine in the US , who has dealt with such topics for the past two and a half decades. Mark (Akiva) Powers, American director of the Magen counter-missionary organization, is an expert on battling missionary work in the United States and around the world. He also started looking into some of the comments I received, and to my surprise, disappointment, and chagrin, found that some of my ‘friends’ aren’t really so. In other words, some of those reactions to my article were accurate, and my own personal assessment, was wrong.

About a year ago I was introduced to Tommy Waller, from Tennessee . Tommy’s a big guy, with a big beard, and a big smile. I’d heard that he and his family, - his wife Sherri, eleven children, and grandchild, were in Israel to help Israeli farmers. They brought over to Israel dozens of volunteers, who spent days and weeks in fields, primarily in Samaria , working hard, planting, harvesting, and pruning. He and his group came into Hebron for an evening tour, and even slept outside in the park across from Ma’arat HaMachpela.

It wasn’t hard to be Tommy’s friend. Charismatically expressing his love for Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael and Torat Yisrael, Tommy, his family and compatriots seemed to fit right in; non-Jewish believers, believers in the right of Jews to live in their land, and practice freely their religion. Tommy told me numerous times that he wouldn’t want me to act ‘like a Christian,’ that Jews should act like Jews, practicing and observing the Torah, as it is written, as the word of G-d.

Tommy was at the convention in Washington ; we spent time together there too. He appears with me in one of those photographs, in last week’s article. Immediately following its conclusion, he came back to Israel with his family, in preparation for the arrival of two to three hundred Christian volunteers from around the world (14 countries, I believe he told me). Earlier this week I spent a day with him in Samaria . He showed me around, taking pride in the events planned for the future. He’s setting up five different ‘camping grounds’ in various Samaria communities, hoping to build some Tzimmers, that is, vacation homes, and camp grounds, for the hundreds (and thousands he expects in the future, as he expressed to me). One of those areas, in the midst of  a vineyard across from Shilo, is to include bath houses and some permanent structures.

Tommy Waller

 Camping site, opposite the Shilo community


We spent quite a nice day together, and talked quite a bit. Tommy seemed somewhat upset about the fact that some Jews in Israel suspect him of missionary work, which he denied vigorously. I was a little taken aback by the seeming defensiveness of his comments, numerously repeated. I was also a little upset when he suggested that the dialogue he initiated, also be carried over into the ‘messianic Christian’ community in Israel . ‘Messianics’ are former Jews who have accepted jesus as a deity.  I told him that this wasn’t a very good idea; that these people are very dangerous, actively and deceptively attempting to convert Jews, and that any contact with them was to be rejected. He didn’t answer, but didn’t look overly happy with my comments.  I let it pass.

A few days ago I received information about ‘my friend’ Tommy Waller, that almost made me sick to my stomach. I found information directly tying him to David Ortiz, a ‘messianic jew’ living in Ariel (where Tommy and his family also live). Oritz’ son Ami was injured in a bomb blast, an attack allegedly perpetrated by Jack Teitel.  He was badly hurt, but recovered. Waller posted numerous ‘updates on Ami Oritz’ condition, as can be viewed here: http://goo.gl/EMeMS.  Note some of his terminology, which is frequently used by such ‘messianics.’

The Waller family is also prominently featured in Korean-made movie about Ortiz called ‘Restoration,’ and extremely anti-Israel, anti-Semitic feature, parts of which can be viewed here: http://goo.gl/60m1N.

However, the icing on the cake is from a movie about the Waller family, that they helped produce. Called, ‘a journey home,’ about 35 minutes into the film: Tommy’s son Brayden says: “we work in their (Israeli’s) fields, we visit in their homes, and we pray that god will use us to have an impact on families we come to know and love in Israel …”

Tommy: “For us, sharing the gospel is not only verbal, it has an action to it. It’s based on relationships, that’s the impact I think we can have on the nation of Israel . It’s just one family at a time or one person at a time. As we’re working with these people, we’ll be able to share with them this jesus that we know, and it’s not going to be something that, ok, we don’t really trust you guys. They’re going to know us.”

This is an extremely accurate description of what the Wallers have been doing here in Israel : building up personal relationships with people, one at a time, earning their trust. They do it quite well. They fooled me!

This film was described in a blog by a young Christian woman from Kansas : “Mr. Waller believes God has called their family to move to Israel to minister to the Jewish people through farming alongside them and forming friendships with the people in the area to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. http://goo.gl/6m8Aj”


Tommy found out that he was being investigated, and wrote a letter of denial to some of his friends here in Israel trying to defend himself, but never denies personal missionary work.

The final nail in the coffin came from the following. Tommy's oldest son, Brayden, in a video available on youtube: "Our family has begun a ministry called HaYovel. The vision of HaYovel is to develop a network of individuals, families and congregations [churches and messianic 'synagogues'] ready to labor side by side with the people of Israel, to bless them, to stand with them, to share with them a passion for the soon coming of the Jubilee in yeshua, the messiah."

There is more, but I don't think any more proof is necessary to comprehend Tommy's missionary intentions. His organization, HaYovel, is called, by more than one follower, a 'ministry.' That has only one definition also. A very sad, unfortunate, and dangerous commentary on an attempt to infiltrate Israel and steal Jewish souls.


Need more be said?

Another point:

One of the organizations mentioned in one of the comments is called ffoz – First Fruits of Zion. I played a little game with them. Dressing myself up as someone whom I’m not, I wrote them a letter asking how I could ‘spread the word’ during a visit to Israel . The response:

“As for sharing Messiah over there, things get a little sticky. So much of what has been presented to the Jewish people has been a Gentile western Jesus that does not look Jewish in the slightest nor Torah observant. What I feel Jews in Israel need the most right now is to see believers who love the Jewish people and are interested in returning to the roots of their faith. I would recommend just going over there and learning all you can about Israel  and the foundations of our faith. In time I think HaShem will open doors for more witnessing.”

In other words, there are those, dressing themselves up as so-called “Torah-observant” gentiles, hoping that eventually, we real Jews will understand that it’s possible to be both Torah-observant, and, at the same time, believe in their beliefs. This is ‘undercover missionizing,’ and it is very dangerous.

What are the conclusions from all of the above? Are all non-Jews subversively trying to convert us, or have us believe their beliefs? No. Are all non-Jews using love of Israel as a ‘front’ to reach a defined goal? No. Must Jews cut off all contacts with Christians? No.

I still believe that there are many thousands of people, who truly love Israel and the Jewish people, as we are - without any hidden agendas. But, I also realize, better now than I did a week ago, that there are those out there, like ‘my friend’ Tommy Waller and his family, who are fakes, advocating ‘the ends justify the means,’ using their expressed ‘love for Israel’ and hard physical labor as an ‘investment’ in the future, building personal relationships with a goal of adding just one little feature to our Torah observance, that being a belief in jesus. Something we will never accept.

After the destruction of Beit HaMikdash and the exile from Israel , Jews died for 2,000 years refusing to accept jesus as a god. They were burned at the stake, tortured, hung from their feet, and cut to pieces, because they rejected this ‘little addition’ to our faith. Now, we have finally come home. Here, in Israel , they think they’ll be able to convince us? No way. Not expressed love, not money, not work in the fields, will ever convince a Jew to relinquish his age-old belief in one G-d, without any additions, subtractions, multiplications or divisions. That is the essence, the password of Judaism: Shema Yisrael, HaShem Elokenu, HaShem Echad – Hear Israel , G-d is our L-rd, G-d is One!

On this eve of Tisha b'Av, the day of the destruction of the Temples , this must be the final conclusion reached from my experiences of the past few weeks:  Friends, keep your eyes open and Beware!


[note from Jewish Israel: Kol HaKavod to David Wilder for a courageous and very difficult move. 

Jewish Israel has been posting on the Wallers since October 2009 and have provided reports in both English and Hebrew to a wide list of Jewish rabbis, community leaders, politicians, and activists in Israel and the Diaspora.  Members of the Hebron community have certainly received and disseminated an extensive report on the Wallers which we published last January. 

As soon as David Wilder's CUFI report hit the net we received requests from the Hebron community and from others for information on the personalities appearing in the photos as well as on the general content in David's report.  The information was taken to Rav Lior , who took the matter very seriously. We refrained from publishing a public report in order to give David an opportunity to reflect and retract. 

We are pleased that Akiva Powers of Magen was able to facilitate in this matter.  We hope that David and other activists and leaders, who work so hard for Am Yisrael, will take an even deeper look at the inroads evangelizing Christians have been making in Israel. We also hope David will take the time to investigate some of the other personalities who appeared in his CUFI photos.]








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