Just days before Pesach, Jewish Israel posted a video of Pastor John Hagee hailing Jesus from the rooftop of Aish HaTorah’s World Center, overlooking the Kotel and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. The video was filmed when Pastor Hagee was in Israel for his ministry's March 2012 tour.

We then published a follow-up report after we spoke to Aish administration staff members at their Jerusalem center. John Hagee Ministries has since removed that video from their YouTube channel and Facebook page.

The incident sparked discussion on Facebook, and in the blogosphere. The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles carried two extensive articles on the episode:

Pastor Hagee Points to Christ’s Throne from Aish HaTorah Rooftop

Hagee, Aish, and Interfaith Respect

Jewish Israel was pleased to see Mark Paredes, a Gentile journalist for the Jewish Journal of LA, offer a response in his weekly column, "Jews and Mormons", which took Jewish sensibilities into consideration. Paredes felt that the video was "both insensitive and inappropriate".

In addition, Brad A. Greenberg of the Jewish Journal's "God Blog" seemed to feel the incident underscores "Hagee’s theological beliefs and his impetus for supporting Israel as a Jewish state".

Meanwhile, Yisrael Medad of My Right Word suggested that Jewish Israel had been "unfair" to Pastor Hagee. Dr. Mike Cohen, who serves as Rabbi Riskin's "traveling scholar" for the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation’s (CJCUC), chimed in with an extensive talkback under Medad's blog post.

We've included Mike's comment in full on this page, followed by our response to him below:

Dr. Mike Cohen said...

Shavua Tov All,

I wish I had the time to write a complete and comprehensive response, fortunately or unfortunately, between miluim, hosting groups and preparing for chag I can only but say a few words in support of Reb Yisrael.

Having just returned from six intensive weeks of activity on behalf of Torah and Tzion among friend and foe alike I have never been more sure that activity among the nations by tried and true, strong Torah Jews who are part of the hityashvut is necessary at critical levels as never before. We met modern Amalek face on hand in hand and won the day for Israel. We met real evil masquerading as friend and even as false Jew hand in hand and because we were there - many, many, many good people were saved from being fooled and supporting darkness.

Rashi's brilliant explanation of the kfilut in "Vehabor rek ein bo mayim" never meant so much to me as it did during this trip. We have a decision to make my friends - we can be at the bor and warn against the nachashim and akrabim, we can be IN the bor and clean it out by killing them ourselves, or we can let people who are willing and able to be true friends of Israel, in their own way, word and deed fall into it and perish in agonizing ways.

I choose a combination of options one and two. If we don't work together to clear the bor - the snakes and scorpions will win the day. If we are there to warn and eradicate - Israel will go on to win in ways we have yet to imagine.

Let Christians be Christians - and help Jews be Jews. Let’s teach all to be ardent Zionists and supporters of G-d's Land and His people.

To Ellen and JI - there are REAL dangers lurking out there. There are REAL haters pretending to be lovers. Why not let alone those of us who know enough to be able to work hard to tell them apart from each other and take on a real challenge - join with us to learn about and fight against the real enemy not the perceived ones like Pastor Hagee or true Torah Jew like Reb Yisrael who is fighting for us all.

If only we had hundreds or even only dozens more true Jewish warriors for Torah and Yisrael like Reb Yisrael - our world would be a much better place.

Koach Lechai Reb Yisrael! Don't let the fear mongers keep you down!

Chag Kasher VeSameach,



Jewish Israel responds…



Pesach puts us all on a spiritual high, but we shouldn't lose our grounding. So please come down to earth. 

You are currently working for a rabbi who has overturned his own renowned Rav's (Soloveitchik's) widely held halacha on interfaith matters.  You have actively partnered and worked with those who have supported ventures and the development of tools which are used to dupe and convert Jews to Christianity.  You publicized a video of yourself singing Jesus-centered hymns with leaders and members of a highly controversial church.  You boast about how you, as a Cohen, regularly give the Aaronic Blessing to Christian pastors – a blessing which is meant for the Jewish nation.  And you stood in front of a messianic congregation and declared that "the USA is really in the center of Jerusalem". BTW that video clip of you and other Torah observant activists is now being used to promote jesus as the messiah. You promoted a puppet show of CUFI Kids learning to say the Shema, but that's not very impressive (and perhaps misleading) Mike when you consider that those words are already in the new testament and that the very same pastor puppeteer teaches those same Cornerstone church children to, "raise your hands and surrender to jesus. Jesus is king and lord."

Jewish and Gentile supporters of Israel found pastor Hagee's actions on the rooftop of Aish to be highly inappropriate. In the words of Mormon columnist Mark Paredes of the Jewish Journal of LA:

"I think that the pastor’s video was both insensitive and inappropriate…I have also written in this space that Jews should accept Evangelical support for Israel even if they suspect their motives for doing so. Interfaith relations have to be based on common decency and fairness, and I think that in this case the good pastor abused the trust of his hosts…it was highly inappropriate for Pastor Hagee to preach of every knee bowing to Jesus while standing atop Aish’s building. I would of course feel differently if he had asked permission from Aish to make the video, but it’s highly unlikely that Aish would have approved such a request…"

There is not a member of the Jewish Israel board who does not actively work to ensure the spiritual and physical integrity of Eretz Yisrael.   We are also working to unite Am Yisrael, and it seems that a demand for Jewish continuity, concerns about spiritual assimilation, and an aversion to idolatry remain common denominators which unite a wide spectrum of our people.

Yisrael Medad knows very well which side of the fence this writer and the rest of the Jewish Israel staff stands on. His personal endorsement is prominently featured  on the back cover of this writer's book concerning the Oslo years, "…her insights are right on target and her prose is assuring in its commitment to truth, logic and rationality…".  Yisrael may vehemently disagree with Jewish Israel's approach and direction vis a vis the evangelical-Israel relationship, but I think he knows that we remain guided by Jewish principles and foundations and committed to truth, logic and rationality.

Moadim l'Simcha to all. 

Related Post:

Hagee Preaches the Gospel from the Aish HaTorah Rooftop

Related Video:

John Hagee exposes all on Aish HaTorah's Old City rooftop 

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Comment by Mordechai Yaakov Allen on April 11, 2012 at 7:38pm

Yisrael! Unless I totally misunderstood your point, I can’t believe you asked “What is meant by ‘My house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples’?...what is the meaning of ‘…the Lord’s house…the house of the God of Jacob…He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths….the lawword of the Lord’...?”

These questions actually bother you??!!!…You desire proper frameworks???!!! You want those of us who are appalled at the duplicity you openly display with Amalek to have an open mind regarding this matter???!!!

If, by “open mind” you would cite yourself as an example, I would hasten to advise that one’s mind not be so open that his brains fall out.  In this regard, and to help you in your anguished search for answers to the heartfelt questions you posted, Isaiah 56 is very clear.

6 “Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
To minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord,
To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath  and holds fast My covenant;
7 Even those I will bring to My holy mountain
And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar;

For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”
8 The Lord G_d, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares,
“Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.”

So, be comforted…or not.

Comment by Jewish Israel on April 11, 2012 at 1:19pm

Rav Soloveitchik's psak was reaffirmed by the RCA in 2006 and, in that organization's words, "shall continue to remain the cornerstone of all dialogue between us and non-Jewish denominations".  Rav Soloveitchik's position on interfaith matters  goes beyond any specific historic contest of Vatican ll,  as evidenced by his personal letters and by the testimony of those who were his closest advisors.  But "Confrontation" is a worthwhile read and very timely, if not timeless.

With regards to prophecy, Jewish Israel acknowledges that there are certain rabbinic and community leaders in Israel and America who attribute the current outpouring of fundamentalist Christian support for Israel to a prophetic era of apocalyptic change. We feel a need to remind them that, regardless of one’s worldview, we Jews are obligated to hold our spiritual and physical ground and there is no rationale for breaking halachic fences, blurring lines, and jeopardizing or compromising the Jewish faith by openly embracing and encouraging evangelical designs for Israel.

An open mind with "proper frameworks" may be the name of game…but nobody seems to want to play – lest they alienate and stifle friends with uncomfortable frameworks.

Comment by Yisrael Medad on April 11, 2012 at 12:30pm

a) yes, you do remain "guided by Jewish principles and foundations and committed to truth, logic and rationality" even though the blurb was for a book that has nothing to do with Jewish-Non-Jewish relations.


b) on that issue, we do have differences of opinion, perspective and comprehension.  and despite what has been implied here a few months ago - that I "found Jesus" - I am still Jewish (http://myrightword.blogspot.com/2011/10/jewishisrael-claims-medad-f...).


c) As far as I understand Rav Solovietchik's position, he was referring to disputationary activity and in a specific historic contest of Vatican II.  As regards the issue of what is the role of the Jew towards the non-Jew within the redemptive process of the return of the Jews to Zion, what is permitted and what not, I am not sure one could use his "Confrontation" article in a practical sense.


d) for example, what is meant by "my house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples"?  what is the meaning of "And it shall come to pass in the end of days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many peoples shall go and say: 'Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." or "And aliens shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee; for in My wrath I smote thee, but in My favour have I had compassion on thee" or "Neither let the alien, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying: 'The LORD will surely separate me from His people';"  Are these "aliens" (which means worshippers of foreign gods) coverts?  or just believers in God?  why are they not called Jews?  Can aliens build up the walls of Jerusalem while alien?


These questions bother me, among many others, and with friends, who appreciate sincere and honest respect for the fulfillment of prophecy by what we Jews are doing in Israel and specifically Judea and Samaria, and realize that in the current political and diplomatic constellation, assistance is to be welcomed within proper frameworks, and so have an open mind regarding this matter.

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