Christian baptism in Israel (archive image)
Christian baptism in Israel (archive image) Maxim Dinshtein/Flash 90

An American Christian missionary group is planning to carry out a mass baptism of Ukrainian Jews fleeing to Israel, a missionary watchdog group claimed Monday.

"Chosen People Ministries" – a missionary organization that was set up in the United States more than 100 years ago – turned to its Christian supporters this week with a request for assistance in absorbing Jewish families that escaped from Ukraine to Israel. In its request, the organization declares its intention to hold a large, centralized baptism for them on Passover Eve, the anti-missionary group Yad L'Achim said.

The organization maintains three churches in Israel – in Jerusalem, Ramat Gan and Bat Yam – which are active in converting Jews out of their religion. Yad L'Achim claimed that the associated with the Chosen People Ministries present themselves as Jews in order to spread their beliefs.

In their appeal, the missionaries write: "We set up an aid fund for Jews who were caught in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. We are helping with food, lodging and transportation to those who managed to escape to the western part of Ukraine. We even hope to help some of these precious souls make it to Israel."

In the letter, the missionaries refer to their efforts to convert Holocaust survivors to Christianity.

"If the Russia-Ukraine conflict ends quickly, whatever monies are left over in the fund will be applied to our work with elderly Holocaust survivors in Israel. Most of these speak Russian, and many are from Ukraine."

The letter declared the group's intention to hold a mass baptism before Passover.

"Nerya Arbov [one of the senior missionaries in Israel] has dedicated much time and effort to helping four Ukrainian families who escaped the war zone to move to an apartment in Israel. He writes: 'Not only did we meet them at the airport, but we also found them apartments that we furnished. These people have participated in meetings of our congregation and some have already accepted Yeshu. Before Pesach [Passover] we plan to baptize 15 people'."

A senior Yad L'Achim official vowed that his organization would foil the planned mass baptism.

"They won't succeed. We will stay in contact with rabbis in Ukraine and with absorption enters in Israel to ensure that the missionaries do not take advantage of the distress and won't be able to put their hands on innocent Jews escaping the war, in the hope and prayer that we will succeed in thwarting the missionary plot."