Last month JewishIsrael posted a community update on the Elav missionary conference and concert which took place this year at Jerusalem’s First Station. Sponsored by the Succat Hallel ministry, the annual event openly calls for "a Jesus revolution in Israel" and for Jewish, Arab and Christian Israeli youth to surrender their lives to christ.
JewishIsrael found it disturbing that a Jerusalem Municipality property such as the First Station would lend their facilities to a concert which targets Israeli youth with an overtly conversionary agenda. However, we should all be especially taken aback to see Magen David Adom (MDA) actively partnering in a blood drive in conjunction with this messianic Christian event.
JewishIsrael is well aware that Anne Ayalon, President of Christian Friends of Magen David Adom (CFMDA) in Israel, has several known missionary leaders serving on her board, included among them, KKCJ's Wayne Hildsen, CMJ's David Pileggi, CFI's Ray and Sharon Sanders, and Rick Ridings of the same Succat Hallel, which sponsors the annual Elav conferences. However JewishIsrael did not expect MDA, the Jewish State's highly respected blood services and disaster relief organization, to be actively involved in an explicit messianic missionary event targeting youth. Nor was it expected that MDA leadership would be openly encouraging Christian theological aspirations for the State of Israel, something we will be addressing further on in this report.
MDA Vehicles an Affront - or a "Front" - for the Elav Conference
JewishIsrael went to Jerusalem's First Station to get an onsite report. Indeed there was a significant presence of MDA vehicles parked directly outside of the conference venue.
Martin Blackham, co-presenter of Revelation TV's "In the Last Days" was in MDA uniform and trying to solicit blood donations from non-participants of the conference who just happened to be walking on the sidewalk and bike path behind First Station. It should be noted that Blackham's wife, Nathalie serves as Executive Director of CFMDA Israel.
JewishIsrael's Ellen Horowitz, who was present at the time, confronted Mr. Blackham and another member of the MDA team with regards to the nature of the event taking place, and on MDA's cooperation and involvement. The young female volunteer with Mr. Blackham was quick to say that it was a messianic conference, but adamantly denied that there was any missionary activity taking place, even when confronted with the fact that the wording on the Elav Statement of Participant’s Parents clearly stated as such. She was not interested in seeing the parental consent form which says such things as:
"… we give our consent to the expose the participant to a religious persuading, which may lead to the conversion of his religion."
The mild-mannered and diplomatic Mr. Blackham was not anxious to discuss the messianic nature of the event. Instead Blackham played the religious freedoms card and suggested that the venue had been turned into a church for the conference. Blackham repeatedly mentioned that he was not allowed to enter into these types of discussions while wearing his MDA uniform. He emphasized that he and the other Christian volunteers were saving lives and that Jews and Christians in Israel must find a way to work together. JewishIsrael’s Ellen Horowitz made it clear that a missionary conference targeting Israeli youth was not conducive to the spirit of interfaith cooperation and that many Jewish people would find the incongruity of promoting blood donations to save lives at an event that encourages the targeting of Jewish souls anywhere, even more so in Jerusalem, to be something of an affront and an untenable equation.
When asked for a photo op, Mr. Blackham rejected the opportunity flat out. Ms. Horowitz respected his wishes. Nevertheless, it was very easy to find a number of photos of Blackham and the CFMDA team proudly displayed on Elav and CFMDA related Facebook, Twitter and website pages in the days following the conference.
Indeed there was also a group of Israelis from varying backgrounds protesting the missionary event. Much to the dismay of the Christian MDA volunteers, and in order to avert any misunderstanding, Ms. Horowitz spent some time explaining to the occasional inquiring and perplexed passerby that the protest in the distance was not against the MDA, as it may have seemed to appear, but rather against the missionary event that was taking place inside First Station.
From what JewishIsrael observed, the protest and counter-missionary presence seemed peaceful but apparently later took a turn, with the International Christian Embassy (ICEJ) reporting, "Haredi group disrupts Messianic conference in Jerusalem".
Also present outside of the conference venue were Yad L'Achim volunteers, equipped with their publication "Searching: a Journal for Jews Seeking Their Way". These volunteers were casually engaging people at the entrances to the event. Say, is that David Decker in the photo to the left?
The Gospel of Anne Ayalon
As mentioned earlier in this report Anne Ayalon serves as President of CFMDA and is working with a board which includes a number of missionary leaders who are living and working in Israel. A reported convert to Judaism, Ayalon comes from a devout evangelical home and her interfaith endeavors with the evangelizing Christian world have been the subject of a number of JewishIsrael reports. She admittedly sees little difference between Christianity and Judaism and, in a manner of speaking, is apparently "not ashamed to proclaim the Gospel":
“Anne Ayalon opened by stating that CFMDA had specifically chosen Palm Sunday for this dedication. She used the ministry of Jesus to exemplify the importance of saving lives and how CFMDA is endeavoring to carry this out in deed. She said that the Apostle Paul wrote that Christians are grafted in and as such should nourish the root! We all thought that was a significant point.” - MDA Ambulance Dedication Ceremony Christ Church, Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem Palm Sunday, March 29, 2015
At that same dedication ceremony, Norman Feingold, an Orthodox Jew who is the founder of CFMDA, spoke about Christians being "partners in the commonwealth of Israel". Feingold seems to have no problem collaborating with missionaries who are actively targeting Jews in Israel for conversion. In this video clip which is currently displayed on the homepage of the CFMDA website, Feingold can be heard preaching extensively from a new testament perspective at the repeated behest of missionary Christine Darg of Exploits Ministry. Of course, this is all being done in the name of saving lives, and in building theological bridges.
Basic morality, and common sense could and should inspire our relationship with those gentiles who wish to take a firm stand with the Jewish State and actively participate in the saving of lives in Israel via an organization such as MDA. Yet it seems that in Israel's relentless and all-encompassing battle to prioritize physical life, we have given up on the sanctity of our very souls. And unfortunately it seems that some of our very zealous Christian "friends" are acutely aware of this and taking advantage of our iniquity.