Convert them to Judaism

The writer suggests that the way to combat Muslim terrorists is to convert them to Judaism. What do you think? INN would like to know.

Victor Sharpe

OpEds Victor Sharp;e
Victor Sharp;e

Walid Shoebat, an erstwhile Muslim PLO terrorist, saw the error of his ways and subsequently converted to Christianity. He now supports Israel and America and has an excellent website:

Mr. Shoebat was asked a question recently on a radio Talk Show. The question was, “… how should a Christian combat Muslim terrorism?” His answer was simple. “Convert them to Christianity.”

That is what I think Jews should be doing in Israel or anywhere else - convert the Muslim terrorists to Judaism. I have felt for a very long time that it should be an appropriate religious undertaking to bring the Jewish faith to the gentiles just as it is an obligation for Jews to love and cherish, above much else, the blessed converts among us.

If many previous Muslims can reject their Islamic beliefs and adopt the Christian faith why cannot they also be attracted to the unassailable divine truths inherent within the Jewish faith?

The current belief is that Jewish proselytizing is frowned upon. The rabbis claim that members of all faiths have equal opportunities for redemption. They suggest that non-Jews seeking to be a part of the Jewish people and faith need not pursue such a goal if they can live according to the Noahide laws.

Indeed, Orthodox rabbis in particular are enjoined to go out of their way to deliberately discourage aspiring converts. That has become, it seems, the current tradition, but traditions are only the present manifestation of earlier religious revolutions. So, they forget that a much earlier authentic Jewish tradition was to eagerly seek out converts from among the peoples of the Middle East and the Mediterranean basin.

Judaism was the most active proselytizing religion from the Maccabean period (though the Hasmoneans sinned by forcibly converting the Idumeans) through to the time when Rome finally embraced Christianity. Then the Church fathers, using the temporal power of Rome, banned Jewish missionary work upon pain of death. Thus the current tradition of discouraging such proselytizing emerged and has lasted for over a thousand years.

Judaism first spread across the Middle East and throughout the Mediterranean region. For instance, the Jewish kingdom of Adiabene in the first century of the Common or Christian era was created in what is now modern Kurdistan.

Many Roman writers told of the missionary activities of the Jews. It is believed that at one time some 20% of the population of the Roman Empire were Jewish, significantly through conversion. Seneca and Juvenal were among Roman writers who even expressed concern at the successful conversion activities of the Jews.

Christianity triumphed in the 4th century and Judaism became defensive in the face of more and more onerous anti-Jewish strictures. However, missionary work continued where there was little or no Christian influence or pressure.

For instance, in what is today’s Yemen, a Jewish Kingdom arose in Himyar. These new Jews fought to preserve their Jewish faith in the face of Islamic depredations from the 7th century onwards, and their descendants arrived en masse to reconstituted Israel in Operation Magic Carpet when, in May, 1949, the Imam of Yemen permitted 45,000 of the 46,000 Jews in his land to emigrate. This attests to the love of Judaism throughout the long centuries by those whose ancestors were converts but who nevertheless prevailed and remained steadfast in the face of persecution and pressure upon them to abandon their faith.

We know of Jewish tribes throughout Arabia and along the North African lateral. Indeed Jewish kings and queens, who all were descendants of early Jewish converts, fought against the ever encroaching tide of Arabs who were invading under their new banner of Islam. Similarly the Black Jews (the Beta Yisrael) in the mountainous Gondar region of Ethiopia have a glorious history of kings and queens leading armies against their oppressors and enemies, be they Christian or Muslim.

The Khazar kingdom is probably the best known example of mass conversion to Judaism. Situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, this enormous Jewish kingdom resisted the pagan and early Christian Russian pressure along its borders for centuries before at last being overwhelmed.

One of my earliest prized possessions was a copy of that wondrous book, The Exiled and the Redeemed, written by the late Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. In Ben-Zvi’s book is priceless information on the many exotic peoples and tribes, from India to south-east Asia and from China to Africa, who clung tenaciously to their Jewish faith.

Most of the Bene Israel from Cochin in India and the Beta Yisraelfrom Ethiopia have returned to the Jewish ancestral homeland. Many of these peoples - often from early conversion to Judaism - trace their ancestry back through long, long centuries, even millennia, and have kept their Jewish faith intact.

Israel faces a hostile Muslim population, whether within the 1967 borders or within the Jewish biblical heartland, Judea and Samaria (the erroneously named West Bank). If Jews once had a tradition for centuries of converting their neighbors up until Christendom and Islam dominated so much of the world, there is no reason now not to recover and redeem that earlier tradition.

Certainly one way to gradually overcome Muslim terror from among the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians, is to do what the Christians have done to an erstwhile Muslim Palestinian terrorist like Walid Shoebat and to many others – convert them to Judaism. And even though the vast majority of Arabs who call themselves Palestinians can trace their ancestry back merely to the illegal Arab immigration into British Mandatory Palestine during the early years of the 20th century from neighboring stagnant areas, nevertheless a tiny minority may have ancestors who had once been Jews forcibly converted to Islam. Bringing them back into the Jewish fold would in itself be a holy mitzvah, would it not?  

Just imagine if it had been Israeli and rabbinical policy from the inception of the reborn Jewish state in 1948 to actively bring Judaism to the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians, how different the demographic, political, social and religious landscape might now be. There would probably be far, far more Jews and far fewer Muslims within the narrow land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

If our ancient rabbis saw no contradiction in their divinely inspired mission to encourage all non-Jews to embrace the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, King of Israel, Creator of the Universe, the One and Only God, invisible and indivisible, then why not now?

At least, we all - especially today’s rabbinate - should think about it as a peaceful way to erode the Arab Muslim presence and hostility.

Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer and author of Volumes One & Two of Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state. &