As with persons who are enthusiastic about their work, or too deeply ideological consumed by their mission (sorry about that play on words), or even needing to screed their message to obtain contributions, they hyper their call to action as well as fudge their 'facts'. They engage in classic guilt-by-association and in my specific case now, impugn one's motives and character.
I think even they have now committed a Jewish Halachic crime of 'halbant paninm' *.
In this post, the are attacking, mainly, Tommy Waller's efforts. But before Tommy and his HaYovel group of volunteers are touched upon, allow me to mention...me.
Here's what they write:
Jesus in Shiloh
Nitzana is not the only place where Jewish lines are being crossed by Christians. It seems that Yisrael Medad found Jesus in Shiloh. Medad, who works with the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and serves as a foreign media spokesperson for the communities in Yehuda and Shomron, blogged about new archaeological church excavations, which could put Shiloh on the map in a big way – for Christian pilgrims. What is most disturbing is the comparisons Medad draws, when perhaps he should have drawn differentiations instead...
...Medad's enthusiasm is most likely not theological in nature. It may derive from his hopes for a possible windfall for Shiloh, his hometown. With the prospect of increased Christian tourism and support, it is unlikely that interested parties in Yehuda and Shomron are going to call for a moratorium on cooperation with evangelical messianics anytime soon. However, rabbis, Jewish community leaders and activists should understand that they are playing with some pretty strange fire. Extreme caution is called for, lest Torah observant Jews break new theological ground, rather than hold Israel’s ground in Yehuda and Shomron.
From the halls of the CUFI Summit in Washington, to the Hills of Yehuda and Shomron, to liaison and winery offices, to the pages of a website, Mike Isley and Tommy Waller are united in messianic Christian fellowship.
I do not know who wrote that fiendish (I almost wrote devilish but I might have been accused of assuming Christian semanitcation - I made up that word, I think, but not to be confused with incantation or worse, incarnation) portrayal. I think one of the activists of JewishIsrael was for many years a Christian Messianist although she was born Jewish, later returning to the fold but, of course, Ellen Horowitz, a good Jewish girl, formerly of the Reform persuasion, and whose husband is trying to help people with other issues which need attention, is responsible for the content. I was informed, although not sure this was publicised, that Mina Fenton, one of the more fanatic anti-missionary activists, is no longer affiliated with JewishIsrael because she is too...ah, I cannot embarass anyone in public, so let's just say the two didn't see eye-to-eye anymore. I admit, I cooperated with the two women - and others - in the matter of Vatican attempts to wrest control of Mt. Zion from Israel over five years ago or more and would still do so. I harbor no guilt-by-association prejudices but try to deal from issue to issue and position by position. And in an aside, in the post, you can see a good few pictures of David Wilder who has 'repented' his previous cooperation and gone over to Ellen's side. Imagine what people are now thinking when they see David's picture there.
Now, as I seem to shun posts that go on and on, let's try to be to the point:
a) in writing this:
Nitzana is not the only place where Jewish lines are being crossed by Christians. It seems that Yisrael Medad found Jesus in Shiloh.
the logical intimation is 1) Jewish lines are being crossed; 2) they are being crossed like in Nitzana; 3) Yisrael Medad did what was done in Nitzana; 4) Yisrael Medad found Jesus.
And what was done in Nitzana?
a synagogue in Eretz Yisrael was deliberately used as a forum for a Jew-gone-Christian to publicly testify her faith in jesus
Did I do that? Did I do all that, including the above 1-4?
Is JewishIsrael crazy? Is the writer mentally disturbed? Or, perhaps, was caught up in an esctatic (I almost wrote orgiastic but I think that would be inapporiate) grip of religious fervor? Or theological thundering?
Well, just to assure you,what I found was the name of Jesus in several inscriptions from the Byzantine period (333 - 614 CE) at Tel Shiloh and environs. In addition, I have not "gone over". Moreover, I do not cooperate with either missionaries or Jews-for-Jesus people in matters of faith or other concerns. I do, however, seek to bolster Israel's security and the existence of the state, its diplomatic standing and other political matters and will work with anyone who is not engaged in using that cooperation to further 'soul-snatching'.
One of my mentors on this issue is the great nationalist poet Uri Tzvi Greenberg who was even bold enough to pen a poem, INRI פארן צלם that was typographically formed as a cross (here in Polish translation; see, too, this paper and especially p. 12 and here ands here). Oh, he didn't convert if you are wondering.
To return to Shiloh, Tel Shiloh has been know as a site of Christian residency for almost a century since a Danish excavation began to uncover what we now know are three Byzantine-era basillicas. In that sense, Tel Shiloh is no different from hundreds of other locations that attract Christian tourism. If JewishIsrael is suggesting all non-Jewish tourism to Israel be halted as part of their campaign, well, I know a good few tour guides, hotel owners, cafe managers, taxi and bus drivers and souvenir shop owners that may be upset.
Two more points. The first, in writing:
a moratorium on cooperation with evangelical messianics...playing with some pretty strange fire. Extreme caution is called for, lest Torah observant Jews break new theological ground, rather than hold Israel’s ground in Yehuda and Shomron.
I am aware that there are those among Christians who seek to advance Christianity over the true essence of God's Covenant with People of Israel as expressed in His promises regarding the Land of Israel. If there is "strange fire", it is that which is being stoked by JewishIsrael. If any "extreme caution" is required, I know who needs to review their methodology of argumentation and analysis. If anyone is breaking new ground, - theological - no; political - yes, then it is JewishIsrael. If anyone may be contributing to a weakening of the Jewish people's hold on the ground in Judea and Samaria, I think it is JewishIsrael.
My second point, in summary, is that in writing
From the halls of the CUFI Summit in Washington, to the Hills of Yehuda and Shomron, to liaison and winery offices, to the pages of a website, Mike Isley and Tommy Waller are united in messianic Christian fellowship
you can see, again, an invidious maneuver to smear anyone - and most certainly me -involved in the effort to seek links between Jews and Christians, to be tainted as potential "messianic Christians" fellow travellers, at the least.
This is an intolerable line of argumentation, to be rejected and denounced.
Oh, and one last point, the title of the post is "The Sons of the Foreigners will Plant Strange Worship in Your Land" which you may assume echoes this from Isaiah 62:8 - "The LORD hath sworn by His right hand, and by the arm of His strength: Surely I will no more give thy corn to be food for thine enemies; and strangers shall not drink thy wine, for which thou hast laboured."
But the phrase "sons of foreigners", in Hebrew בני נכר, is in other portions of Isaiah's prophecy and most definitely not in the way JewishIsrael would want you to think about relations with non-Jews.
In Isaiah 60, you can read:
And aliens shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee; for in My wrath I smote thee, but in My favour have I had compassion on thee. 11 Thy gates also shall be open continually, day and night, they shall not be shut; that men may bring unto thee the wealth of the nations, and their kings in procession. 12 For that nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. 13 The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the cypress, the plane-tree and the larch together; to beautify the place of My sanctuary, and I will make the place of My feet glorious. 14 And the sons of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee, and all they that despised thee shall bow down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee the city of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. 15 Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man passed through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. 16 Thou shalt also suck the milk of the nations, and shalt suck the breast of kings; and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour, and I, the Mighty One of Jacob, thy Redeemer. 17 For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron; I will also make thy officers peace, and righteousness thy magistrates. 18 Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, desolation nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. 19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. 20 Thy sun shall no more go down, Neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. 21 Thy people also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the land for ever; the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, wherein I glory. 22 The smallest shall become a thousand, and the least a mighty nation; I the LORD will hasten it in its time.
And in Isaiah 61, we further read:
5 And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and aliens shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. 6 But ye shall be named the priests of the LORD, men shall call you the ministers of our God; ye shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their splendour shall ye revel.
I have pointed out this prophecy to Ellen, her assistants and even Rabbis who advise her. It is the exact opposite of the message they are propagating. It suggests that what I am doing is most definitely what should be done. Carefully, intelligently and wisely.
So far, no one has even attempted to address its import. Empty responses. Hollowness. No wise reactions. No intelligent discussion. No careful debate. The Rabbis they are spoonfeeding with information who cannot read or understand English is another issue, like Rav Dov Lior and Rabbi Elchanan Bin-Nun. The ganging up on Rav Eliezer Melamed is also atrocious.
That says a lot about what JewishIsrael is all about.
If you think like me, please, let Ellen know. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Current Board Members include:
Administrative Director: Avraham Leibler
Public Relations Director: Shulamit Leibler
Content and Research Director: Ellen W. Horowitz
Rabbinic Director: Rabbi Dr. Sholom Gold
Academic and Religious Advisor: Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey R. Woolf
Academic Advisor: Professor Richard A. Landes
Community Affairs Advisor: Anita Tucker
If you want to let them know what you think, and you don't have to agree with me, for it's a free blogosphere, let them know as well.
P.S. In truth, I could have written 3000 more words, but it's erev Shabbat. I managed to do the chicken soup and shop. And there is so much more positive things to do.
halbanat panim, literally "whitening the face," but understood as doing something which shames or embarrasses someone in public. For example...Rabbi Elazar HaModai warns us that someone who shames another in public has no share in the world to come! (Avot 3:15) .
And yes, my wife has that post up, but I try to keep personal issues out of my blogging life.
PPS I left this as a comment over at JewishIsrael's blog. Will it go up? It has.