Israeli MKs sanction missionary ties and Christian settlement in Israel

This is the continuation of our previous report:  Christian sect seeks residency and settlement in Samaria


Last week we disclosed that Baruch Abrahamovich (Avramovich), the leader of a group of 1000 evangelicals attempting to make aliyah, purportedly convert to Judaism, and purchase land for a settlement in Samaria, is an active and committed messianic Christian.


The Christian group's initiative reportedly enjoys the enthusiastic backing of Knesset parliamentarian Lia Shemtov of the Yisrael Beteinu party, headed by current Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor (Evet) Lieberman


Indeed, MK Shemtov is well-positioned to assist in this radical venture, as she has served as Chairperson and presently sits on the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs; is the current Chairperson of the Subcommittee on Immigrant Absorption in Cities and the Periphery;  and Chairperson of the Lobby for Strengthening Ties with Christian Evangelists.


Accommodating Jewish Law for Christians


Ironically, MK Shemtov also serves as a member of the Lobby for the Prevention of Illegal Immigration to Israel.  It would appear that MK Shemtov is asking that the Israeli Law of Return be circumvented, in order to allow these Christians to receive "special treatment", because they wish to "make Aliyah first and then convert."


 [ note: The Law of Return grants every Jew the right to make Aliyah and defines a Jew as "a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion."]


Shemtov has conducted meetings with officials of the Yesha Council of Judea and Samaria, and claims that positive progress has been made in working out a practical plan to absorb the group. In addition, Shemtov is reportedly discussing the mass Christian aliyah-conversion endeavor with Nefesh b' Nefesh.


When asked about the possibility of a hidden missionary agenda, Shemtov told Arutz 7 that she does not believe that this is the case, but "her experience with the phenomenon of missionary work in Israel and abroad is limited".


Knesset members endorse missionary activity in Israel


MK Shemtov is either very naïve or suppressing the truth from the Israeli public, as she has previously met with and encouraged powerful and influential evangelical parties which actively target Jews in Israel for conversion.


Recently, the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) featured Lia Shemtov in their glitzy anniversary promotional, which hails TBN’s missionary accomplishments directed at the Russian Jewish community in Israel. Excerpts:

 “In Israel every fourth person is Jewish and speaks Russian. Many of them have received Jesus Christ as their Messiah because of TBN broadcasting there!” We knew that Russian TBN programming was coming into Israel and we were highly honored to receive Lia Shemtov, a member of the Knesset, who brought an official letter thanking TBN for bringing our programming into Israel. But, what we just learned was that TBN Russia has established two TV production studios: one in Jerusalem and one in Tel Aviv! …Now, live programs come right down from the center of Jerusalem with the Gospel to all our viewers in Israel and around the world!.."

 “Thanks to TBN, for the first time in history Messianic congregations hold praise and worship festivals and speak freely about Jesus Christ!”

“The Israeli people thirst to hear the Gospel since the door is now open”!


In August 2009, Jewish Israel reported on and warned about Russian TBN's inroads into Israel, with Israeli government collaboration.  At the time we posted  a letter from the President of TBN- Russia Igor Nikitin ". He penned:


“The time has come…for Jews and gentiles alike, to grow together into one creation through Christ” and that “Its pleasing to consider the fact that the Israelis are waiting for us impatiently.”


Another member of Yisrael Beitenu, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, is also cited in TBN's most recent "Praise the Lord" brochure. Excerpt:

"But, perhaps the most awesome word comes even from the government of Israel: 'The Israeli government sees TBN as their friend and highly esteems TBN as a vital part of the life of Israel.' Finally, one minister of government, Mr. Stas Misezhnikov said it best of all: 'I would like to thank TBN. You are our partners. We appreciate your friendship and your part to build up Israel very much'!  


Ah, dear partners, who could have dreamed that only after 38 years of plowing and planting would this harvest break open?" 


[note: Penina Taylor of Shomrei Emet has made it clear that when evangelicals speak about “the harvest” in relation to Israel and the Jewish people, it is intrinsically connected to “harvesting Jewish souls”.] 


The TBN brochure features a photo of a letter, authored by Israel Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, being presented by TBN-Russia President Igor Nikitin to TBN's missionary founder Paul Crouch which names Crouch as"official Ambassador of Peace for the State of Israel".


In an interview last year, Stas Misezhnikov went overboard and practically gave away the farm, in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network(CBN):

Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov sees evangelical Christians as much more than just tourists. “You are not the guests. You are partners. It’s also – the Holy Land – also belongs to you,” Misezhnikov said.


Jewish Israel has published a number of reports on the Ministry of Tourism's campaigns which promote Israel to the evangelizing Christian market.  But what are the costs of selling Israel as "the land of Jesus"? What are consequences of claiming that Jews and Christians share a "common faith" or affirming fundamentalist Christians as partners with the Jewish state?


Radio activity spreads from Moscow to Oregon to Israel


As noted in our previous report, Baruch Abrahamovich, Christian leader of the group of wannabe Christian settlers in Israel, is the director of Russian Christian Radio in Portland, Oregon.  As of January 2011, that station became a registered affiliate of "Russian Christian Radio Center" in Moscow.  Their stated mission: 


"Our radio format is preaching and teaching. Our program policy is geared toward non-believers and those searching for the meaning of life. We think that the radio should bring such people to Christ. This is our goal."


Andrey Nekrasov, the director of Russian Christian Radio Center, Inc., is also the producer of Beth Shalom Media, a radio ministry based in New York, which focuses its efforts on bringing Russian Jews to Jesus.


Lia Shemtov is pictured below with the same Andrey Nekarasov, as part of the current Russian Christian Radio Center  Photo Album.


Keeping their campaign promises and their Christian constituency happy


Israel’s Yisrael Beiteinu political party caters primarily to Russian immigrants.  It is no state secret that multitudes of gentiles from the former Soviet Union managed to make aliyah as "Jews" by forging documents and taking advantage of Israeli immigration laws and loopholes.


In February 2010, Jewish Israel reported on an interview given by Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, to an evangelical journalist. Oren was quite open about the situation:


In an attempt to escape Soviet communism Oren said, 'Literally hundreds of thousands of Soviet people who were not Jewish, came into Israel and became Israeli citizens. So much so that at one point the Israeli army was printing out the New Testament in Hebrew so that soldiers could use it to swear in because they were practicing Christians serving in the Israeli army. We now have a great number.' He included in those numbers Russian Messianics, Pentecostals, Baptists and a significant Russian Orthodox population.”

Last April, Jewish Israel ran an extensive report on the growth of the Russian Orthodox Church in Israel and the evangelizing efforts of a number of messianic and evangelical organizations which are "fishing" for Jews in the former Soviet Union.

With a large gentile constituency that is thirsting for their Christian roots in Israel, it is no surprise that Yisrael Beitenu is indulging and cultivating the Russian Christian community in Israel while encouraging their foreign missionary sponsors. The implications are alarming.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Daniel Ayalon, is also a part of the Yisrael Beitenu faction.  When Ayalon was the outgoing Israeli ambassador to Washington, he told Christians, sitting at a gala farewell banquet in Washington, that he intended to be their "ambassador to Israel”.  Ayalon has made good on that pledge.


While running for the Knesset on the 2009 Yisrael Beiteinu ticket, Danny Ayalon criticized “the harsh policies against Christian volunteers living in the Holy Land”. An article which appeared in publications like the messianic magazine “Israel Today” and the evangelical publication “The Jerusalem Connection” quoted Ayalon as saying:


"We should be more open to our Christian brothers…Israel Beiteinu will push for making relations between Christians and Jews and Israelis much closer, much stronger." 


A few months before the 2009 elections, Yisrael Beiteinu "inadvertently "scheduled a press conference at the known messianic Christian moshav, Yad Hashmonah, in Israel.


Indeed, Daniel Ayalon has time and time again shown himself to be fiercely aligned and dedicated to the Evangelical community, as is his wife Anne, who frequently boasts of her Christian upbringing, works with missionaries and markets jesus in the land of Israel.  As part of the Foreign Ministry, Daniel Ayalon has spearheaded efforts to upgrade the status of evangelical Christians in Israel and recognize evangelicals as a sovereign group or an independent church.


US based Christian Missionary Joel Rosenberg’s May 11th blog entry is about his being a guest at a backyard barbeque at the home of Danny and Anne Ayalon and their family and a few friends. He reports:

"Anne is working with Orthodox Jews and evangelical Christians to purchase land along the shores of the Sea of Galilee and develop a conference center and resort that will allow Christians to have more and bigger events in the area where Jesus spent most of His time and did most of His ministry. It's a great project and I'm hopeful they can find Christian and Jewish investors to get it up and running in the next few years."


MK David Rotem is part of the Yisrael Beitenu faction and serves as Chairman of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus. Jewish Israel has repeatedly reported on the Caucus' collaboration with numerous missionary figures who are involved in developing the messianic church in Israel and in promoting activities which target Jews for conversion.


Likud gets tangled in Hebraic Roots


Yisrael Beitenu is not the only Knesset faction wooing Christian messianic support and treading where no Jew should go.


Back in 2007, it was the Likud's Danny Danon who as head of World Likud's board of Governors actively courted Christian fundamentalist leaders as well as sought evangelical funding for his own political campaign. Danon and the head of Young Likud, Sagiv Asulin, got tangled up with members of a messianic Hebraic Roots cult through their relationship with "Biblical Zionist" leader Joel Bell. The colorful group of messianic "Ephramites" met in Oregon in July 2008 to launch a series of conferences and to begin to develop plans for non- Jewish aliyah and settlement.


Is it a coincidence that Baruch Abrahamovich of Russian Christian Radio 7 also hails from Oregon? It seems there is indeed a connection,  as one of the messianic Hebraic Roots leaders, Ben Ehrhardt, who was present at the 2008 Ephramites conference, claims that he was the one who introduced Abrahamovich to his connections in Israel:


(Hat tip: Geula Girl)


So it seems we have come full circle.  Still, there remain some unanswered questions. Beyond the Israeli political assistance, it seems this group of 1000 Russian-American Christians are receiving guidance and support from “spiritual” sources in Israel.  Lia Shemtov stated in her A7 interview that, "the group's progress is being supervised by an Israeli rabbi."   


Jewish Israel contacted and interviewed rabbis who are involved with members of the Hebraic Roots movements and who are in contact with Baruch Abrahamovich.  


In our next installment of this report, we will take you on a spiritual journey beyond the absurd.


Related Posts:

Christian sect seeks residency and settlement in Samaria

Hebraic Roots and Rabbis Gone Wild


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Comment by Jewish Israel on July 20, 2011 at 12:27am
Well, it would be nice if some respected rabbis in the National Religious camp would get together with the Chareidi rabbis who understand the issues at hand, and together they could influence the appropriate Knesset members, otherwise this issue will exacerbate the religious-political rifts that already exist.
Comment by Moshe Burt on July 19, 2011 at 6:36pm

As I see it, however, there is one big monkey-wrench in their plans, the Chareidi parties, Baruch Hashem.  Just as the Chareidi Gedolim have ruled in Rabbinic courts that certain dati-leumi Rabbanim can't perform conversions in Israel and just as they've come down on conversions performed by certain sectors in America, so too I see them acting against such missionary conversions as you describe above.  

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