Guest post from Yad L’Achim
Yad L’achim, is a non-profit NGO dedicated to rescuing women and children trapped in Arab villages in Israel, which works to combat “Messianic Jews” – missionaries who target vulnerable olim to join their Christian cult.
These “Messianic Jews” have, over the years, targeted new immigrants immediately upon their arrival in Israel taking advantage of the immigrants’ innocence and need for a support group that speaks their language, the missionaries have worked relentlessly to get them to join their Christian cult.
Yad L’Achim battles daily against the phenomenon, making enormous efforts to reach the immigrants in time and warn them of the danger. But recently, with the assistance of an absorption center in a major city in Israel, the organization’s counter-missionary department had the opportunity to contact the immigrants, all of them doctors by profession, just a few days after their Aliyah.
It all began when an absorption center began preparing to absorb 30 doctors and their families, totalling some 140 people from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Latvia.
Local missionaries repeatedly asked the absorption center for permission to contact the new immigrants; they know from past experience that new immigrants are easy prey and that doctors who convert to Christianity can be used as leverage to get others to follow suit.
The director of the absorption center, understanding what the missionaries were up to, contacted Yad L’Achim, which needed only 24 hours to organize a conference for the immigrants titled “Absorption with Wide-open Arms.”
The speakers focused on two themes: The support and assistance that Yad L’Achim offers, both material and spiritual, and the dangers posed by the missionaries, who operate undisturbed throughout Israel in their efforts to get as many Jews as possible to abandon their religion for Christianity, r”l.
“The feedback was astounding,”
said Rabbi Chanoch Gechtman, head of the counter-missionary department at Yad L’Achim.
“The immigrants were moved to hear about the range of services that Yad L’Achim offers, the emotional and material support. At the end of the conference we distributed forms and received requests for assistance on a range of topics. Many asked for assistance in obtaining religious articles and other things related to Yiddishkeit.”
At the conclusion of the event, Yad L’Achim handed out gifts and invited participants to a special tour of Yerushalayim that included visits to the Kotel, the tunnels at the holy site and other places of Jewish interest. Registration was full, as immigrants jumped at the opportunity to make their first visit to Yerushalayim.
Right before leaving the absorption center, Yad L’Achim staffers met a Jewish family that escaped to Israel three weeks ago from a hostile Muslim county and offered them assistance in all areas, material and spiritual. The family shed tears of joy at the offer.
An official at Yad L’Achim said that these activities show that the Jewish heart is awake to Hashem and His Torah.
“Once again, we see proof that Jews who reach out to the missionaries do so because they feel they have no other option, and that if we provide an attentive ear and support we will be able to stymie missionary activity in Israel.”