Even as IDF soldiers grit their teeth to fight a tough war against Israel's Hamas enemies, they have other threats to worry about – like missionaries seeking to convert IDF soldiers, preventing them from concentrating on their mission.
Anti-missionary group Yad L'Achim said Sunday that it had gotten numerous complaints from residents of Ashkelon and from soldiers that missionaries had made a nuisance of themselves several times at an Iron Dome installation.
The location of the installations are supposed to be secret, but because Israelis can see where the missiles that intercept Hamas rockets are fired from, the location of the Iron Dome batteries is an “open secret.” Israelis, anxious to see the vaunted system that had prevented Hamas rockets from wreaking havoc on Israeli cities, flock to the launching sites to cheer on soldiers and bring them refreshments and gifts.
The missionaries have come as well, said Yad L'achim – but their purpose in coming is not to cheer soldiers on, but to preach Christianity to them. Such incidents have been happening throughout the country where Iron Dome installations are located, the organization said, with missionaries harassing soldiers before, during, and after they finish their shifts.
Besides preaching, the missionaries distribute what they promote as “holy books” to the soldiers – New Testaments, in Hebrew. Yad L'achim volunteers have been collecting the books and dealing with them in an appropriate manner, the group said.
The missionary preaching hasn't been making much of an impression on the soldiers from an ideological or religious viewpoint, soldiers reported to Yad L'achim, but they do find the preaching very annoying.
In a letter to Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Yad L'achim demanded that the missionary activity be stopped. “This activity is unprecedented and has crossed all red lines,” the group said. “We respectfully ask that these people be banned from areas where soldiers serve and congregate.”