File: Evangelical prayer session at ICEJ even
File: Evangelical prayer session at ICEJ even Flash90

In apparent misunderstanding of the prophecies of Zechariah, throngs of evangelical pilgrims and ministries have assembled in Jerusalem to celebrate - in their own way - the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). 

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has issued a ban on Jewish participation in a prayer vigil to be held on Wednesday by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ). The vigil is to take place at the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount, adjacent to the Hulda Gate. Chief Rabbis David Lau and Yitzchak Yosef not only reaffirmed the halakhic [Jewish legal] ban on interfaith worship, but also noted with concern the evangelical message of ICEJ's vigil.

JewishIsrael reports that although the ICEJ has no "interfaith" prayer vigil listed on its official Feast of the Tabernacles itinerary for this year, the organization is promoting an "Israeli Guest Night" for Tuesday. The organization specifically calls on its guests to "invite as many Israelis as you can to attend."

Mina Fenton, a former Jerusalem City Council member who has long been in the forefront of anti-evangelical activity, issued a statement blaming Israel's Ministry of Religious Affairs for partially funding the event. She notes bitterly that the event is to be held in a location that is sacred for Jews – adjacent to the Temple Mount – and on a day that is sacred for Jews: Hoshana Rabba, the seventh day of Sukkot and Simchat Torah Eve.

The theme of the ICEJ mission this year is Restoration, referring to the revival and strengthening of the Church and its messiah.

"The rabbis and political leaders in the Jewish state are faced with a formidable challenge," writes JewishIsrael. "Will they be able to take a wise and firm stand on behalf of the Torah, and uphold the integrity [and] sanctity of the Land of Israel without totally alienating visitors of other faiths?"

In response to the criticism, the heads of the ICEJ have responded that the prayer event itself "is for pilgrims only" - and is "not in any way an interfaith event."  

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