The soldiers of the dusty Nachal Oz army base in southern Israel were happy to see a group of orange-clad Israeli-flag-waving youths with musical instruments appear at their gates one day last month.  Religious and not religious soldiers gathered around them, singing and dancing - and only when the music quieted down did the visitors begin to spread their real message.

"We believe in him, we call him Jesus," they said.  "He was Jewish, not Christian.  We are here to say thank you and we are sorry, and may the Lord protect you."

At that point, the soldiers realized they had been tricked.  One of them contacted the rabbi of the base, who apparently was not there at the time, and banished the unwelcome visitors.  "The missionaries then looked for other prey in the base," the soldier told Nitzan Keidar of HaTzofeh, "but I followed them and made sure they left the base altogether."

The soldiers also contacted the Yad L'Achim [Hand to Brothers] anti-missionary organization about the event.  Yad L'Achim says that missionaries have long targeted the army, and have even published a page of instructions headlined with the Hebrew acronym for the IDF - Tz.H.L. - but standing for something else: "Listen Today to the Lord" (Tzaytu hayom la'adon). The rest of the sheet contains the following tips to missionary soldiers: "The army is one of the best places to spread the message. When you're stuck for ten hours in a jeep in the streets of Ramallah, conversations about G-d, death and other spiritual matters have to come up.  I want to encourage you: Use these opportunities that the army gives you, on guard duty, long trips, and the like."

Missionaries Attack in Netanya

Both missionary and anti-missionary work continue apace throughout Israel, and two incidents of missionaries attacking anti-missionaries in Netanya were recently reported.  Two female Yad L'Achim volunteers were attacked by missionaries as they were distributing anti-missionary literature from door-to-door, and a male was attacked under similar circumstances the next day.  The incidents occurred at 5 Dr. Skop St. and 9 Motzkin St.  In both cases, the police were called and arrested or detained the attackers.

Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifshitz, the Chairman of Yad L'Achim, said afterwards, "Our success in using their own method of house-to-house visits stops their activities time after time - and has apparently also revealed their true face as being violent and totally unrestrained... In many places, our volunteers have argued with the missionaries and caused them to leave in disgrace.  Our response to these two incidents is to increase our house visits to fight the missionaries."