Saturday, October 19, 2013

Responding to JewishIsrael's Ellen Horowitz

Ellen Horowitz, a good friend, in a personal sense, who heads JewishIsrael, a group that has erred in the matter of the HaYovel group, left a comment on a post here and I think I should upgrade the discussion.

She wrote:

JewishIsrael is taking a very painstaking and careful approach to this problem. People in Yehuda and Shomron were up in arms about the Wallers and their missionary affiliations long before JewishIsrael started investigating or issuing reports.

We don't know what kind of hot heads are dwelling among you who see fit to issue provocative poster campaigns and threaten rabbis. That is not JewishIsrael’s style. However, we don't need people like you and David Rubin leveling false accusations at us over an issue that requires serious debate and consideration by the Jewish community.

The rabbis who have thus far viewed the same material we presented at Har Bracha are very soft spoken, mild-mannered and thoughtful in their approach. And yet they concur that the material presented is "of great concern, very serious in nature, and requires follow-up" and "they can't understand how Rav Melamed could possibly ignore such vital information."

I'm reminding you that it was you who originally suggested to me that there be a serious site set-up to inform the Jewish community of the various problematic evangelical groups and personalities active in Israel.

At the very least these leaders in Yehuda and Shomron should have the integrity to admit to their own communities that, "Yes, for what we consider to be the good of the yishuv, we made a decision to partner with hundreds of Christian missionaries. But they have assured us that they will not proselytize or share their faith with you - at least not here in this community. But we don't have control over their larger agenda and what they do and what their plans are for the rest of Am Yisrael"

Perhaps it is the lack of honesty that is the real "Chilul Hashem".

Let's go over that and concisely respond.

"People in Yehuda and Shomron were up in arms about the Wallers"

People?  And there are people who aren't, who don't care or who are actually excited about their volunteering.  And maybe those "people" are wrong"?  And who cares if JI was late?  You're in at present and leading the charge.


Why not "you"?  How do you know they are amongst "us" but not "you"?  I don't.  But I can guess they are much more motivated by what "you" put out then anyone else on this planet.  They didn't get that link from out of thin air?  Or maybe it was Mina Fenton who was the source and she is much more connected to JI than HaYovel is to me. Or maybe they just fed off your misinformation?

False accusations?

No more than yours, and much less.

"The Rabbis".

Maybe the word threat should be clarified, soft-spoken or otherwise.  If a meeting is called by you, and you inform the person, a Rabbi, that if certain demands are not met, then verbal or published injury against the Rabbi will be taken, most people would think that a threat.

"The material".

Of course, the question is: is your "material" relevant, true, exact or supposed?  Does it actually indicate your main charge - that HaYovel is a danger in that its participants engage in missionary activity?  Does it?  How 'vital' is it?  Or is the innuendo?  Guilt-by-association?  Implied?

More important, is it not true that some of your rabbinical support not even care about the details?  For them, the issue is not missionary activity but something termed "achiza ba'aretz" and "ma'amd"?  For them, it is not an issue of halacha but theology and therefore, they prefer not to deal with the particulars and that, perhaps, even if I proved that I am correct as to what is actually happening, or more importantly, what is not happening, it wouldn't make a difference with them?  And so, all this discussion is useless.  They are interest in facts.

it was you who originally suggested

Well, if I was so smart then, why don't you trust me now?

I never said there wasn't a problem.  What I am saying is that in this specific instance, you're wrong.  And I will add that given the situation Israel is in, and given the guidelines I think exist in the Tanakh, and given halachic possibilities, we should not reject outright rapprochement but rather seek new frameworks.

"to partner with hundreds of Christian missionaries".

They aren't though.  Can't you get that?  Have you proof that they do missionize in Yesha?  Has anyone been snared?  I fully accept that a Christian, especially an evangelical, sees his purpose in life to convince others to believe in Jesus.  I trust our Rabbis and educators are doing their job to offset that threat.  The situation here is different.  You refuse do admit that and  prefer to smudge the reality to fit your agenda.

"Lack of honesty"?

What lack of honesty?  You haven't proven, in a solid, indisputable fashion, any of your specific claims.  Doesn't that count as a moral failing on your part?


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