Missionary converts: a history lesson

Israel National News (INN) has recently reported on two stories which threaten the very foundations of Judaism in the State of Israel; and put the government, the courts, and the rabbinate on a collision course.

Last week it was reported that the counter-missionary organization Yad L’achim handed the Chief Rabbinate a list of more than 60 recent converts to Judaism who continue to believe in Jesus – and are active missionaries.

This week a government ministerial committee will discuss a proposal to prevent the Rabbinate from canceling conversions.

Jewish Israel
notes that there was a time when the Israeli government, High Court, and the Chief Rabbinate were in sync with each other over these issues.

Israeli evangelical Christian attorney Michael Decker, of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice and Yehuda Raveh & Co., tells the story best:

"The first court decision which I will briefly review is in regards to Hatshins v. the Minister of Interior. This court decision deals with a family, belonging to the Christian religion, who decided to convert to Judaism in order to immigrate into Israel, by virtue of the "Law of Return", and to establish a congregation to teach Jews that it is possible to both believe in Yeshua and to remain Jewish. Immediately, when their plot was discovered, their conversion was cancelled, along with their right to immigrate into Israel. Justice Berenzon wrote words in his decision that echo in all the similar court decisions which were made after this particular one, and they are: “Concerning Yeshuim who are considered and recognized as Jews, we have never yet heard of. This is absolutely unacceptable…ask any Jew on the street if this phenomena is probable and their definite answer will be: ‘no’.”

Decker is referring to a case from the mid 1970’s involving well known “Christian Zionist” Chaplain and retired Brigadier General Dr. James Hutchens and his family. And even Michael Decker – a champion of messianic and evangelical rights here in Israel - defined Hutchens' plans and agenda as a “plot”. But Jewish Israel would like to suggest that it was more like the ultimate deception, as it involved a grave breach and disregard of religious as well as secular law in the State of Israel.

Hutchens expressed no remorse and even proudly published a book about his exploits, entitled “Guilty”.

One would have expected the Jewish community leaders in both Israel and the Diaspora to distance themselves indefinitely from a man who tried to spiritually defraud the Jewish people. And Torah observant Jews should have collectively shunned such an individual who counts himself among the founders of a Christian movement known as “messianic judaism”. And yet we find the opening endorsement in Hutchens' book penned by none other than Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ).

Thirty-some years after Hutchens' attempted con, we find him and his wife pictured with former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.Daniel Ayalon, and his wife Anne. The accompanying article, Knesset candidate wants to stem exodus of Christian Zionists , was published in the March-April edition of Hutchens' magazine, The Jerusalem Connection Report. It tells of Daniel Ayalon’s opposition to Israel’s “harsh policies against Christian volunteers living in the Holy Land”. Ayalon was referring to stricter Visa restrictions on the volunteer staffs at “Christian outreaches” in Israel, and feels, "we should be more open to our Christian brothers”.
[note: previously, Jewish Israel has reported on the missionary activities of Christian volunteers and their devastating effects].

Ayalon goes on to express his campaign promise in that article: "Israel Beiteinu will push for making relations between Christians and Jews and Israelis much closer, much stronger” ( is it coincidental that Yisrael Beiteinu convened a pre-election press conference at the "missionary village”, Yad Hashmona?).

It’s also intriguing that the article was written by, Nicole Jansezian, the same columnist who interviewed cover boy Larry Derfner for The Messianic Times last month.

And who sits on Hutchens' Advisory board? A menagerie of Israeli and Diaspora community and political leaders; rabbis; U.S senators, evangelical leaders; missionaries; and “Jewish believers in Jesus”.

As painful as this may be, read the list of board members, grasp who “Christian Zionist” Chaplain and retired Brigadier General Dr. James Hutchens really is, and then ask yourself if the “unconditional” money, political support, and empathy emanating from an actively evangelizing Christian community is helping or hindering Jewish continuity.

The Israeli government and courts, as well as our “evangelical friends” and the U.S. State Department, are all hoping to “defrock” the Israeli Rabbinate by delegitimizing Torah Judaism in Israel and superseding it with so-called “religious freedom”. One wonders if this Judeo-Christian, “Bible-believing” venture went awry. There’s a new alliance in town. Evangelicals and messianics have now joined forces with the secular Israeli system, and it poses a direct spiritual threat to everything a Jew should hold dear.

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