Honestly, this should have been a Purim Post and will best go down with a good shot of whiskey.
In the name of democracy and religious freedom, the messianic Christian website the Rosh Pina Project is calling on Christian leaders to lobby Jewish legislators and Jewish diplomats of the Jewish state to disband Yad l’Achim - a 60-year old anti-assimilation and counter missionary organization which reaches out and assists lost Jews in Israel .
Rosh Pina’s efforts accompany the endeavors of evangelical attorney Calev [Caleb] Myers of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ). Myers has petitioned Israel’s Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, to use his authority to “dismantle Yad L'Achim by officially recognizing it as an anti-democratic terrorist organization”.
Myers who is heavily into labels, and can perhaps be likened to a verbal terrorist, has accused Yad l’Achim of promoting “an agenda of religious-ethnic cleansing” and employing tactics “eerily similar to methods employed by the KGB and the Gestapo.”In his recent petition he compared Yad l’Achim’s rhetoric and activities to that of the KKK (Ku Klux Klan). His latest JIJ enewsletter refers to Yad L’Achim as “an ultra-orthodox supremacy organization”.
Putting a new face on JIJ:
A particularly illustrative example of Myer’s utter deception can be found on the opening shot of the JIJ homepage. There you will find three young Haredi boys facing the Kotel in prayer with an overlay: “safeguarding Civil Rights, Freedom of Religion & Social Justice in the Nation of Israel”.But based on his rabid propaganda campaign, which targets the “Ultra-Orthodox “in particular, one has to wonder what really goes through Myers’ head when he sees three Hareidi boys lined up against the Wall.
JIJ’s site has gone through a number of recent face-lifts in order to whitewash Calev Myers’ christ-centered agenda for the Jewish State.
Two years ago it was clear that Myers’ JIJ project was inspired by and dedicated to rectifying “the illegal mistreatment of Judeo-Christian Minorities.” In Myer’s original bio (Oops JIJ can’t seem to find that page, but Jewish Israel retains it) you can read how “…Calev became acutely aware of the inferior state of the civil rights of Israeli Evangelical believers, Messianic Jews and families of mixed (Jewish-Christian) marriages (‘Judeo-Christian Minorities’).” But his current page sports none of that history.
Myers’ Senior Legal Activist, Michael Decker, has a “lost page” covering Israel’s minority evangelical community, Messianic Jews, and Israeli evangelical believers. But, again, Decker’s new page bears none of those references.
The old “about us” page leaves no question as to Myer’s intention to compel Israel to widen her definition of “who is a Jew” to “include Evangelical believers who are descendants of Jews, Messianic Jews and families of mixed marriages…” The new “about us” page is bereft of any references to “Christians” or “messianics”, but after a tiring discourse on Muslim oppression, we finally get to the following:
“Oftentimes, members of the Jewish majority discriminate against non-Jews, or those whom they do not consider Jewish. By offering pro-bono and/or highly subsidized litigation and consultation services, and by spearheading various other projects, the Jerusalem Institute of Justice stands at the forefront of the battle for religious freedom and religious tolerance in Israel.”
And the secularized Goals page is rife with references to “advancing civil rights”; “freedom of religion”; “social justice” ; “strengthening Israel's democracy”; “advocacy primarily on behalf of religious minorities”. There’s mention of “strengthening the legitimacy of Israel's existence as a Jewish state…”, but any direct references to “messianic jews”, “evangelicals” and “judeo-christian minorities” have been cyber-erased.
The Numbers Game:
It’s beyond irony that Myers, a purported champion of minority rights, spends a good deal of time and energy blasting the Orthodox minority in Israel. Myers claims that organizations like Yad L’Achim are “constantly exaggerating the size of the Messianic Jewish movement”. He attributes this to a “siege mentality”. But it is Myers and his partner Michael Decker (also an evangelical/messianic Christian) who have been fueling and playing a frantic numbers game, while Yad l’Achim is the one organization which has stated that, “the figures are seriously exaggerated…”
Jewish Israel has been keeping tabs on the various figures, fluctuations and claims being thrown about on the size of the “messianic community” in Israel, which range from a low of 8000 – to a high of 25,000 members.
For years the numbers in Israel held somewhere between 3,000 to 5,000, but by 2005 Messianic groups claimed that their numbers had doubled to 10,000 due to immigration. A mere 2 years later - in September of 2007 - JIJ’s Michael Decker first dropped the 15,000 figure. This time sources attributed the major jump to “proselytizing activities”. By February 2008, Decker was claiming Israel had “hundreds of Messianic congregations”. In March 2008 Calev Myers used the 15,000 figure in a YNET interview and a few days later Rav Lifshitz of Yad l’Achim quoted those numbers in the Jerusalem Post. But by May 2008 Calev Myers was still holding by those figures, whereas Rav Lifshitz of Yad l’Achim made an adjustment and called them an exaggeration
Myers, founder and chief counsel of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, which represents their [the messianic] interests, claims their ranks have swelled to almost 15,000, representing a 30% growth in the last half-decade. Yad L’Achim says the figures are seriously exaggerated for public relations purposes. No independent statistics exist, but press accounts frequently cite a figure of 8,000.
Two weeks later Calev Myers rolled-back his estimates to the 10,000 figure (perhaps 5000 “messianic Jews” suddenly saw the light and dropped the jesus).
[Note: organizations like Jews for Judaism and Outreach Judaism maintain figures as high as 20,000 to 25,000 “messianic Jews” in Israel. But with throngs of evangelical Christians living in Israel, who now refer to themselves as “messianic Jews”, one really can’t get an accurate breakdown on how many Jewish-born individuals in Israel became apostates compared with the number of Christians who are feigning Judaism.]
Calev Myers and company wouldn’t be playing the deceptive website and numbers games if they hadn’t gotten the message that a full spectrum of Israeli Jews are unwilling to accept jesus in any way, shape, or form. A seemingly frustrated Myers appears to have turned up his vitriol level in reaction to a threatened law suit that’s currently hanging over his head…
On February 19th Jewish Israel reported that attorney Yoram Sheftel had recommended Yad l’Achim sue Myers for slander. A few days after that announcement Myer’s Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) reacted by filing a petition with the Attorney General.
The messianic community is on the alert to boost Myer’s efforts. Everything from prayers on Twitter
to the Rosh Pina Project’s community alerts are soaring through cyberspace. But the arguments are untenable, unethical and undemocratic. For example:
· Why would messianic Christian Joseph (aka Yeze) Weissman post an alert requesting that Christian leaders appeal to the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus when, according to The Christian Edition of the Jerusalem Post, the Caucus’ policy on messianic Jews is in line with Yad l’Achim’s stance?:
“Even the Christian Allies Caucus in the Knesset seems to be in agreement with Yad L’achim…
Josh Reinstein, the Caucus’ director, told The Jerusalem Post Christian Edition that ‘any Christian
who faces harassment is a concern to us’ but that ‘the Caucus does not work with’ and is ‘fully
against’ the work of Messianic Jews in Israel. “
· Why would Weissman post an alert requesting that Christians contact Israeli embassies over this issue when just recently an evangelical Christian reporter elicited the following comment from Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren?:
“I have no statistics on the size of the Messianic community, but I think certainly that the State of Israel wants the Jewish people to remain Jewish…” While noting that "Israel greatly values its relationship with the evangelical community and other Christian communities in the world,” Oren cautioned that, “we are very sensitive to the notion of proselytizing -- very sensitive.”
· Has the messianic community –which is so concerned with democratic rights - heard of due process? The trial of Ya’acov Teitel hasn’t begun and yet the Rosh Pina Project has already issued a verdict.
“Yaakov Teitel placed a bomb in the home of a Messianic Jewish family, which resulted in serious injuries to the family’s teenage son Ami Ortiz.” (Rosh Pina post)
Until the trial is complete and a judgment rendered, the word “allegedly” should be inserted between “Teitel “and “placed a bomb”.
· Based on something Teitel reportedly said in an interrogation, Rosh Pina posts as fact that Teitel was connected to Yad l’Achim. But Teitel is an alleged criminal who has lied to his interrogators previously and is reportedly mentally unstable.
“It has recently emerged that YakovTeitel was connected with the Yad L’Achim organisation over a 5 year period prior to his arrest.” (Rosh Pina post)
Nothing has “emerged”, as nothing has been proven. All we have is an Haaretz report on what was reportedly said in an interrogation by a man known to lie about his criminal activity.
For the record, Jewish Israel spoke with Yad l’achim and they claim
1) There are no records of Teitel having worked for Yad L’achim (and Yad l’Achim does keep records of their volunteers)
2) They have never been approached by the police regarding the Ortiz bombing case
· Calev Myers uses State Department Religious Freedoms reports to bolster his claims against Yad l’Achim.
But it was Myers and the JIJ staff which penned much of the information referring to the “messianic community” which is cited in those reports. That sounds just a wee bit unethical.
Meanwhile, Joseph of the Rosh Pina Project has resurrected the term “Satan’s Lawyer” in reference to Yad l’Achim’s lawyer, Yoram Sheftel. Now here’s Rosh Pina’s equation:
“Yad L’Achim is represented by an advocate who protects Nazi criminals. Whereas the firm of Hausner [Myers’ affiliated firm], the prosecutor of Nazis, is fighting for freedom of religion in Israel.”
We need to remind Joseph Weissman and the entire gang at the Rosh Pina Project that Yoram Sheftel is a competent and serious attorney, whereas JIJ’s Chief Counsel and company appear to be crusading ass backwards.
Jewish Israel will continue to keep our readership on top of this story.