Rav Melamed’s article was published in the Times of Israel on September 17, 2013. The article was based on Rav Melamed's original column in Hebrew, published by Arutz 7 in its weekly printed newspaper B’Sheva.
"Jumping the Geula Gun"
Rabbi Eliezer Melamed and other community leaders in Israel and America attribute the current outpouring of fundamentalist Christian support for Israel to a prophetic era of change. But we need to remind our leaders that regardless of their worldview, and Judaism's ultimate expectations and hopes for the future, we Jews are obligated to hold our spiritual and physical ground.
The reality of the State of Israel has triggered changes for the good in much of the Christian world. However it is not our role as Torah-true Jews to grapple with, to accommodate, or to incorporate the prophetic views and shifting theology of various Christian sects. There is no rationale for jeopardizing or compromising the Jewish faith by openly embracing and encouraging evangelical designs for Israel.
For a Torah observant Jewish leader to advance, strengthen and encourage a theologically motivated evangelical Christian ministry and mission in Eretz Yisrael is nothing short of playing with fire. It should not be done, not in the name of interfaith reconciliation, nor as an attempt to second-guess biblical prophecy, nor as a means to encourage tourism, commerce and/ or settlement in Eretz Yisrael. It is the height of irresponsibility for a Torah observant scholar or rabbi to engage in such endeavors. One wonders if such spiritual leaders have lost their grounding or are perhaps suffering from a type of "messianic complex."
As these words are being written, the Jewish community is reeling from a recent and widely reported poll revealing devastating assimilation rates among Jews in the US, in which Christian influence plays a major roll. Meanwhile, messianic Christian leaders are celebrating the breaking down of walls between faiths. At the same time, the IFCJ's Yechiel Eckstein, who trail-blazed the money trail which led to this blurring of lines between faiths, recently predicted that "within the next dozen years, there will be a recognized religious category between Judaism and Christianity, ,of people who feel Jewish but accept Christian doctrines regarding Jesus’ status as the Messiah and the concept of the holy trinity, among other Christian ideas".
It's nothing less than tragic that at a time like this, when the Jewish community is confused and divided, that certain Torah observant leaders in Israel are unable to recognize and clearly respond to the viable spiritual threat presented by foreign Christian messianic sects whose adherents are here to "love" and "serve" Israel - which is precisely the classic definition of a "missionary"!
It is crucial at this time that such rabbis stop hosting and promoting those messianic driven Christian ministries and individuals who are determined to destroy the theological boundaries between Judaism and Christianity. The rabbis involved are accomplishing nothing less than contributing to, inspiring, and establishing a first century type Christian Restoration cult in Eretz Yisrael.
We can only hope and pray that these rabbis return to themselves and their initial calling by guiding their own Jewish people through these spiritually perilous times.
The issues of Redemption and the arrival of the Mashiach are sacred principles of the Jewish faith. We believe that openly encouraging and strengthening Christian evangelicals who are mesmerized by end-of-days scenarios which run contrary to Judaism, is ethically questionable, spiritually untenable and jeopardizes the future of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael.
Rabbi Dr.Sholom Gold
Rabbinic Director of Jewishisrael.com