Messianic Jews Singled Out in Israeli Town
Messianic Jews in a suburb west of Jerusalem continue to be harassed for following their faith, this time by someone anonymously placing flyers in public areas singling out members of Messianic congregations. According to a September 15 article in Compass Direct News, the flyers began appearing three weeks ago in the town of Mevasseret Zion. Asher Intrater, leader of the Ahavat Yeshua Congregation, said he thinks the flyers are “an effort to drive us out of the neighborhood.” The flyers posted the addresses and phone numbers of the Messianic Jews, and in some cases, included their photographs. Intrater said he thinks the addresses were placed on the flyers to incite others to harass or harm them. “Why else would you put the addresses on the flyers?” he said.
This ridicule is not an isolated event for Messianic Jews in Mevasseret Zion. Last June, protests by members of Yad L’Achim, an ultra-Orthodox, anti-Christian group, were held outside the home of Serge and Naama Kogen, a messianic couple. Yad L’Achim claimed the couple had befriended and then manipulated a teenager into becoming a Christian. The Kogens denied the charge, as did the 16-year-old girl who was the alleged conversion target. The girl’s parents, with considerable help from Yad L’Achim, filed charges against the Kogens and Intrater. The judge found in favor of the Kogens and dismissed all the charges.
It is unclear who actually posted the flyers in the September incident, but the flyers match a well-established pattern in Israel. According to a classified communique issued by the U.S. State Department in May 2008 and leaked on Aug. 30 by Internet activist group Wikileaks, “‘Outing’ Messianic Jews and Evangelical Christians through the publication of names, photos and addresses alongside flyers with hysterical allegations about ‘soul stealing’ and ‘brainwashing’ is a favorite tactic of Yad L’Achim branches throughout the country.” The State Department further noted links between Yad L’Achim and both national and local governments in Israel.
“Yad L’Achim, and other anti-missionary activists, may also have allies in the Interior Ministry and police departments. Here clerks and police officers have wide discretion in deciding which national benefits a person is entitled to and which crimes are worth investigating,” the State Department communique said.
Kogen said that the flyers in Mevasseret Zion are up only for a short time before someone rips them down. Intrater added that the latest round of harassment has been viewed as an invasion of privacy that it may have “backfired a little bit.” “This is the first time we have seen a positive response from the local government, The Jerusalem Post and possibly the police,” Intrater said.
Father, we pray for our brother and sisters in Israel who are facing persecution from their neighbors. Father, protect them from those that intend to slander or discredit them. Also we ask that Your Spirit is evident in the midst of these trials drawing those who do not yet know You into a saving grace relationship with Your Son Jesus. Amen.
Source: Compass Direct News