Yisrael MedadI am a resident of Shiloh, with my wife and children, and now grandchildren,...
A Donny Fuchs has published an attack on the Hayovel group of Christian volunteers who come to assist the harvesting, and pruning, of the vineyards of Samaria and Binyamin. He entitled it "Esau Rising: The War Against The Jewish Soul" and more than it is dramatic, and wrong is so many instances, it is composed in an embarrassing polemical tone with outlandish language and imagery. He does not deal with the authorization Rav Eliezer Melamed granted, which is unfortunate since then we would actually witness an argument.
There are two reasons I am briefly responding. The first is that falsehood and misrepresentation should be countered. Secondly, as Fuchs portratys himself so: "[My] religious perspective is deeply grounded in the Rambam's rational approach to Judaism", I think his irrationality shopuld be challenged. And again, please excuse my relative brevity.
1. "Our many spiritual foes desire our souls. They wish to convert us. Many religious Jews recognize the danger of the former, but not the latter. They have forgotten centuries of mass slaughter from those who merely wanted us to fall on our knees and kiss the cross."
Who is the “they”? Is it possible that there are non-Jews who seek to assist the Jewish People, and more specifically the rights of Jews in the Land of Israel? Is Fuchs not capable of distinguishing between those Christians who wish to convert and those who do not engage in missionary activity? Or does he negate all Christians?
2. As for his information, which is not at all first-hand, if he has depended mainly on what he describes as the “excellent website Jewish Israel…another goldmine of meticulously researched, documented information…”, that is most unfortunate. They have a record of guilt-by-association, misunderstanding basics, getting details wrong, and, in a personal note, besmirching Jews in conducting sucrrilous attacks ("It seems that Yisrael Medad found Jesus in Shiloh.").
3. His language is hateful: ‘These soul snatchers are planting a parasitic vine that will ultimately strangle those within the religious camp. This foe…is as patient as an adder.” And he uses the cover of metaphor as in “Jews who go to minyan thrice daily and learn Torah have allowed the cross to be put up in their homes, metaphorically speaking of course.’ This is quite an unfortunate display of childish semantics.
4.. In claiming we are "easy prey", if so, how successful has HaYovel been? How many Jews converted over the last decade? He paints the possinility of mixed marriages and asks, "Unlikely scenario? I think not. I think that it is more unlikely that this won’t happen, if things persist as they are. Frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if such “meetings” are already occurring." Well, is he in for a surprise.
5. He quites from a "trusted inside source". That, I admittedly, am guessing is some former Kach people who were wrong in the past.
6. He describes the leader of HaYovel as the "infamous Tommy Waller (of the notorious missionizing Waller family)". Really now.
7. He advocates violence, that we “smash their altars…”. That is not too smart.
8. He totally misrepresents Rav Soloveitchik's 'psak Halachah' that Jews ashould not be "engaged in one form or another of “interfaith-dialogue". It specifically referred to the Vatican II period and, in any case, there is no inter-faith dialoguing.
9. He insists "there is no definitive evidence that a specific historical Jesus existed… based upon two different figures in the Gemara" but as we know from the booklet חסרונות הש"ס and from any good historical research as "Jesus in the Talmud" by Peter Schäfer;
Scattered throughout the Talmud can be found quite a few references to Jesus. The Talmudic stories make fun of Jesus' birth from a virgin, fervently contest his claim to be the Messiah and Son of God, and maintain that he was rightfully executed as a blasphemer and idolater. They subvert the Christian idea of Jesus' resurrection and insist he got the punishment he deserved in hell--and that a similar fate awaits his followers. Schäfer contends that these stories betray a remarkable familiarity with the Gospels--especially Matthew and John.
10. He does inform us
Righteous gentiles who want to assist the nation of Israel may have opportunities to do so, but it must always be in accordance with Jewish law. This is where proper poskim need to come into the equation, since it is purely an Halachic matter. But those who are evangelical cannot have any foothold in the country!
As far as that goes, fair. However, when he writes of HaYovel "They are mingling, and spending considerable time with Jews in the vineyards.", he is wrong.
11. He then tries to cover himself, writing "Heaven Forbid that this should be taken as an an anti-gentile polemic.". but then moves into gear:
A spiritual contagion is growing in the Shomron. They are aided by religious Jews who, for economic and political reasons, have eagerly taken Brother Esau’s hand.
If there is any 'contagion', it is the type of argumentation and lack of facts displayed. Luckily, there is an antidote: the truth.
Those who seek to proselytize need be combated. Those who seek to aid are to be welcomed, with all due supervision.