A seemingly innocuous radio ad aimed at people in emotional distress turned out to be a targeted Christian missionary campaign, but it was quickly blocked by Yad L'Achim.
The organization heard the ad aired two weeks ago on government-run Voice of Israel's Radio Reka, its foreign language radio station.
The ad, which was noticed during Russian language programming, claimed to offer a solution to emotional distress. It offered to send a booklet to listeners who called in and provided contact information.
The booklet, “The Power to Change,” was subheaded, “He Changed Me.” Included within was Christian preaching that urged faith in “that man.” It also called on people to be sure to “share the message of faith” with their friends.”
Yad L'Achim's counter missionary department contacted its legal counsel, Doron Beckerman, who sent a letter to the radio station's management to demand they immediately pull the ad.
"Over the past few days you have been airing missionary ads in your broadcasts,” Beckerman wrote. “Clause 7 of the Israel Broadcasting Authority bylaws cites a list of advertisements that cannot be aired, which includes those coming from missionaries and cults. You are therefore asked to put an immediate halt to the airing of these ads – otherwise my client will be forced to take all legal steps at his disposal.”
Radio station general manager Alexander Marbin wrote in response that he had ordered the missionary ads to be pulled.
Yad L'Achim noted that it would continue to monitor missionary activities that “aim to further their goal of persuading Jews to convert out of their religion.”
The agency pointed out that such a campaign is in full swing in many communities throughout Israel.