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      Warning Issued Against New Buddhist Center in Israel

      Yad L'Achim expresses concerns over plans to build a Buddhist center in southern Israel under the guise of a 'spiritual university.'
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 1/13/2011, 5:09 AM / Last Update: 1/13/2011, 8:53 AM

      The anti-missionary organization Yad L'Achim has issued a warning against a new Buddhist center which is set to open in Israel’s Arava region.

      According to the warning, an agreement was recently signed by the Central Arava Regional Council and a non-profit organization by the name ‘Wisdom and Intelligence’ which allocates hundreds of acres in the Arava for the establishment of a ‘spiritual university’ based on and operating in accordance with the international principles of Buddhism.

      Yad L’Achim says it has been approached by concerned local residents who asked the organization to take action to prevent the center from opening. The organization subsequently looked into ‘Wisdom and Intelligence’ and found that its members are Buddhists.

      According to Yad L’Achim, the project is headed by Lama Dvora Tzvieli, an Israeli living in the United States where she was first exposed to Buddhism (Lama is the title given to a teacher or spiritual guide in Buddhism). A subsequent investigation by the organization found that during the contacts between ‘Wisdom and Intelligence’ and the Interior Ministry in order to obtain the necessary permits, not a word was spoken about Buddhism and all the paperwork on the project simply mentioned the words ‘spiritual university’ with no further details. This is despite the fact that all the material distributed by the organization, including information on its Hebrew website, suggests that the center will be devoted to the study of Tibetan Buddhism.

      An important part of Buddhism is devotion to the Buddha, and this includes bowing to images of the Buddha as well as to religious superiors, something which is literally idol worship, clearly prhibited in the Ten Commandments.

      In an attempt to stop the Buddhist center, Yad L'Achim Chairman Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifshitz has contacted in a letter Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Ezra Rabins, head of the Central Arava Regional Council.

      In his letter Rabbi Lifshitz wrote: “Buddhism is idolatry in every sense of the word and there is no doubt that every step possible must be taken to stop the construction of this idolatry center.”