CHRISTIAN LEADER CALLS TO STOP PROSELYTIZING JEWS

“Recently, I met a Christian American, Tommy Waller, and I asked him: ‘If a Jew were to come to you and ask, what’s better: to be a Jew or a Christian, what would you say to him?’ He replied: ‘I would tell him to be a Jew.’ ‘Although,’ he added, ‘I didn’t always think that way. At first, all Christians want everyone to be Christian, but this position stems from ignorance.’”

Founder of HaYovel says agreeing with “replacement theology” is disagreeing with God.

Christians around the world must stop trying to proselytize Jews, said the founder of a nonprofit which brings thousands of Christian volunteers to help Jewish farmers in Judea and Samaria.   Just days before the High Holy Day of Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Tommy Waller sent out a video saying that Christian-Jewish relations have changed, and they must continue to change. “I would like to appeal to my Christian brothers and sisters: Please stop any missionary attempt to take away Jewish identity from those [people] whom God chose to carry his name,” said Waller in the eight-minute video, released to the media.  In the video, Waller, who founded HaYovel in 2005, said that any agreement with “replacement theology” is a disagreement with God, Who identifies Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – as the God of Israel.

Paul of Tarsus became one of the first known missionaries, preaching the new religion to the peoples of Asia Minor and Greece.  “I would like to say to the Jews: Please forgive me and please forgive my forefathers for the horrible crimes they committed against you,” he said in the video. “With every fiber of my being, I am committed to supporting you in the fight for the restoration of Israel.”

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, the chief rabbi of the Har Bracha settlement in Samaria, an area abundant with vineyards, (as Jeremiah prophesied in 31:5: “Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit,”) met Waller and wrote about his conversation with him in a column in 2001 in the BeShevaweekly.

“Recently, I met a Christian American, Tommy Waller, and I asked him: ‘If a Jew were to come to you and ask, what’s better: to be a Jew or a Christian, what would you say to him?’ He replied: ‘I would tell him to be a Jew.’ ‘Although,’ he added, ‘I didn’t always think that way. At first, all Christians want everyone to be Christian, but this position stems from ignorance.’”

The two have got on together well, and the rabbi said that as long as volunteers to Israel are not trying to proselytize, then they must be treated with the utmost appreciation.

Waller, who was born and raised in Tennessee, first came to the Holy Land 13 years ago. He was inspired by the sight of a farmer working in a vineyard, with an M-16 slung over his back.

According to the organization’s website, he founded the organization “with the mission of facilitating the prophetic restoration of Israel through support of small independent farmers in the heartland.”

Since then, his wife, Sherri, 11 children and their spouses, friends and followers have joined him to work the land. The volunteers come to Israel during the harvest and pruning seasons.

HaYovel, which also advocates for a return to biblical patterns of marriage, family and Israel as a people and a nation, came under criticism by some rabbis who worried the volunteers were really missionaries in disguise. Waller said that when he first started his work, he was under the impression that Jews “needed to be saved,” but much has changed since then.   “I would like to say to the Jews: Please forgive me and please forgive my forefathers for the horrible crimes they committed against you,” he said in the video. “With every fiber of my being, I am committed to supporting you in the fight for the restoration of Israel.”  Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, the chief rabbi of the Har Bracha settlement in Samaria, an area abundant with vineyards, (as Jeremiah prophesied in 31:5: “Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit,”) met Waller and wrote about his conversation with him in a column in 2001 in the BeShevaweekly.

“Recently, I met a Christian American, Tommy Waller, and I asked him: ‘If a Jew were to come to you and ask, what’s better: to be a Jew or a Christian, what would you say to him?’ He replied: ‘I would tell him to be a Jew.’ ‘Although,’ he added, ‘I didn’t always think that way. At first, all Christians want everyone to be Christian, but this position stems from ignorance.’”

The two have got on together well, and the rabbi said that as long as volunteers to Israel are not trying to proselytize, then they must be treated with the utmost appreciation.

“There is still room to ask: Maybe there are some missionaries amongst our friends who want to convert us? Indeed, if such a thing is proven – they must be fought,” Rabbi Melamed wrote. “However, as far as anyone who has not been proven to be a missionary is concerned, we must return to the basic, appropriate conduct – respect and love.”

Waller continued in his video saying that HaYovel is committed to purposefully raising up a new generation of Christians who firmly agree with God’s choosing and renounce the shameful teaching of replacement theology.

“I challenge all Christians this year to replace replacement theology with a new restoration mandate.”

Rabbi Tuly Weisz, founder of Israel365, said more and more Christians are seeing in the restoration of the Jews to their land God’s everlasting love and compassion for His people.

“Today is the golden age of Christian-Jewish relations,” he said.

 

CHRISTIAN ANALYST: YOU CAN CONDEMN JEWS BUT NOT JIHADISTS?

“Offend the sensibilities of Islamists and you might get killed,” says CAMERA’s Van Zile.

Christians’ condemnation of Israel – and not jihad – have turned themselves into dhimmis, non-Muslims who have already submitted to Muslim rule, a Christian media analyst said. Writing for the Gatestone Institute in an essay titled “Jihadism: The fear that dare not speak its name,” Dexter Van Zile, the Christian media analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), said that although Christian groups occasionally blame the perpetrators of violence and terrorism, such as the Assad regime, Islamic State and Boko Haram in West Africa, it is never nearly close to the way they blame Israel.  “Yes, they issue condemnations, but their statements are lamentations that really do not approach in ferocity the ugly denunciations these institutions target at Israel,” he said.

Van Zile said the root of the issue is knowing that Israel and the Jewish people do not react the same way that the extreme, jihadi terrorists act.

“One source of the problem is that it is simply a lot easier and safer to speak out about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians than it is to confront the violence against Christians in the rest of the Middle East,” he said.  Israel has been allowing the entry of boycott supporters and detractors of the state, and only during the summer did the government begin preventing these activists from entering the country. Never did Israel do what other Middle East countries – and much more so terrorist groups – did to their critics.

“If you fly to Israel, you can participate in a protest against the IDF at the security barrier in the morning and be eating in a nice restaurant in Tel Aviv that afternoon without having to worry about getting shot,” he said. “Protesting against ISIS or the misdeeds of the Iranian government, which puts Westerners in jail, is another, rather more courageous, thing altogether.”

Van Zile said that one of the worst responses an attacker of Israel may get is a letter from his organization.

“Another factor is fear – fear of Islam. The threat of violence that comes with confronting the impact of Sharia law and jihadism on human rights and national security has been significant, but it has remained doggedly unstated in the witness of churches in the United States,” he said. “Condemn Israel unfairly or engage in Jew-baiting and you get a letter from CAMERA, the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] or the local board of rabbis. Offend the sensibilities of jihadists and you might get killed.”  Van Zile traced the Presbyterian Church USA’s anti-Zionist platform back to the election of Benjamin Weir, a former missionary who was kidnapped by Hezbollah in Lebanon, who had a significant influence on the church’s proceedings. Upon his release, while he did criticize Hezbollah, he used American support for Israel as his punching bag.

“Israel was a safe target for the rage he felt over being kidnapped and having a year of his life stolen from him,” Van Zile said. “The jihadists who kidnapped him were not a safe target.”

The analyst said that now is the time for Christians to speak out.

“In this time of trial, during which the very foundations of our moral and intellectual order are under assault, it is time we find our voice to address this problem while we still can.”

[written by BY BENJAMIN GLATT]