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Rabbis Ban Participation in ICEJ Conference

Israel's Chief Rabbinate welcomes the Christians arriving for the annual Feast of Tabernacles conference - and bans Jews from participating.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 9/17/2007, 6:29 PM

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has issued a ruling welcoming the Christians arriving for the annual Feast of Tabernacles conference - and banning Jews from participating.

Feast of Tabernacles is sponsored by the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, self-described as the world's largest Christian Zionist organization. The annual get-together is a week-long multicultural event held during the Sukkot holiday, which begins this year on Sept. 27.  It draws tens of thousands of Christians from around the world for a week of teaching, worship, and prayer, and culminates with a march through the streets of Jerusalem. 

The line-up of speakers at this year's event, which will be held at Jerusalem's Binyanei HaUmah Convention Center, includes David Pawson.  In a speech entitled "God's Eternal Covenant with Israel" (reprinted in Family Restoration Magazine), Pawson stated,

"One day the people of Israel as a whole will become Messianic Jews [believing in Jesus - ed.]...  Prayer for Israel is not enough; preaching is also necessary. The church's silence over the holocaust was bad enough; her silence about hell would be a worse betrayal... True lovers of Israel will speak on behalf of Jews to Christians and on behalf of Christ to Jews. To pray for the peace of Jerusalem must include that peace with God which only Jesus can bring."

"'Zionism' is only 'Christian'," Pawson stated, "when He [Jesus] has the pre-eminence."

In case it may be objected that it is offensive to the Jews to speak of such things, and that Christians must "comfort" Israel, Pawson explained: "There is no final comfort in a lie... We cannot help but be missionaries, and I have discovered that some Jews despise us if we pretend not to be..."

Ze'ev Shtieglitz of the anti-missionary Lev L'Achim organization has presented evidence of actual missionary activity by ICEJ to the Chief Rabbinate. "For instance," he recently told Arutz-7, "ICEJ Liaison Officer Doron Schneider is the head of the Messianic Jewish community in Maaleh Adumim... Dr. George Giacumakis, the one-time Chairman of the Board of Trustees of ICEJ, has said straight out that it is hoped, through various 'friendship' organizations with Jews, and by giving financial and political support to Israel, that Jews will start showing interest in Christianity."

Another featured Feast of Tabernacles speaker, Jack Hayford, was one of 1,100 Christian Zionists and Messianic Jews who took part in the Road to Jerusalem conference in California last year.  He spoke there of “helping the church understand what God’s doing among Jews today and how to relate to it.”  Co-speakers at that Road to Jerusalem event were co-founder Rev. Raleigh Washington -- who said, "when a Jewish person recognizes that Jesus is his messiah, he becomes a Jew who has now found his messiah” -- and Rev. Mike Bickle of Kansas City, Mo., who used the phrase “unsaved Jews” and said a Satan-like leader “will be required to exterminate the Jewish race.” 

The Rabbis' Decision
The Chief Rabbinate Council's Committee for the Prevention of Missionary Work in the Holy Land, in a decision last month that was later ratified by the two Chief Rabbis, resolved as follows:

A. [We] bless the tourists who will arrive in our Holy Land for the upcoming holidays, among them also those of different religions.
B. It is forbidden for any Jew to take part in the gatherings in the Binyanei HaUmah Jerusalem Convention Center and in the marches taking place during the Sukkot holiday, because the information we have states that some of the bodies gathering there are active, inter alia, in attempting to convert us from our faith.  "One who fears for his soul will stay far away."

Jerusalem City Council member Mina Fenton has taken a strong stand against the ICEJ event. She has written, "Missionary organization leaders will appear there as the central speakers and preachers, working together with a clear missionary agenda while 'adopting' the Sukkot holiday as Christian... [They are] partners in musical, drama, and spiritual productions... Jews are invited to attend, and missionary literature will be disseminated..."

Spiritual "Help" for the Needy and Vulnerable
A phenomenon recently revealed by anti-missionary elements involve the offer by a Christian Zionist organization of hundreds of dollars a month in pocket money to Jewish youths who have lost contact with their families. The organization then promises them high-paying jobs, after they complete their army service, simply to distribute food packages to needy Jews on behalf of the Christian organization.  It is well-documented that missionary organizations throw in "spiritual help," together with their offers of material help, to poverty-stricken Jews who are, invariably, more vulnerable than they would otherwise be.

Jews Disappear in the Play's 4th Act
CBS reporter Bob Simon, in a 1992 "60 Minutes" program on Christian Zionists, asked, "What propels them? Why do they love Israel so much? Because the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland is seen by evangelicals as a precondition for the Second Coming of Christ. Therefore, when the Jewish state was created in 1948, they saw it as a sign. Israel's conquest of Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967 deepened their excitement, heightened their anticipation... The final battle in the history of the future will be fought on this ancient battleground in northern Israel called Armageddon... And the Jews? Well, two-thirds of them will have been wiped out by [then], and the survivors will accept Jesus at last."
 
Simon's show then screens Gershom Gorenberg, author of "The End of Days," who says, "The Jews die or convert. As a Jew, I can't feel very comfortable with the affections of somebody who looks forward to that scenario... They don't love the real Jewish people. They love us as characters in their story, in their play, and that's not who we are. And we never auditioned for that part, and the play is not one that ends up good for us... If you listen to the drama that they are describing, essentially, it's a five-act play in which the Jews disappear in the fourth act."