Hate-Fest in Ashdod

Persecution against Messianic Jews has increased lately in Israel, and last Monday night, February 21st, nearly 1,000 protesters gathered outside a Messianic congregation in Ashdod to spew vicious hatred and lies. The event was organized by Yad L’Achim and was attended by many well-known rabbis who participated in delivering virulent speeches – spewing the typical epithets that Messianic Jews steal Jewish souls, prey on children, and equating us with Hitler. The following quote is taken from an eye witness to the events as they unfolded:

“Before I realized what was happening I had between 50-100 people surrounding me, calling me a missionary and asking me what I was doing in Israel. Boys as young as 6-7 years old were hissing at me, making hateful faces. The group closed in more and more trying to intimidate and I’ll be honest it worked.

There was a heavy police presence in the area, but it took the police a while to notice (or want to notice) that suddenly I had become a topic of interest to many in the crowd …

The spirit of hate, the demonic spirit that just radiated off of them is hard to put into words. I tried to look some in the eyes, but I found only a cold, death-like gaze staring back at me.

After about 15 minutes of the crowd getting closer and closer and becoming more and more vocal, I knew it was time to go. I asked a police officer to escort me to my car and then left.

I felt so sick to my stomach. I wasn’t really afraid. I was honestly just so sad. These are my fellow Jews, my fellow Israelis, my family … and they wanted to kill me. I’m convinced that if the police had not been there, they would have tried.”

We must pray, speak-up, and stand together with our holy brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael who are at the forefront and paving the way for the rest of us.

Update: Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 1st, hundreds of Ultra-Orthodox protesters are expected to stage a similar protest in Arad. Messianic Jews in that city have faced violent persecution for years. Please pray for the safety of our fellow Messianic Jews in Arad … and we’ll keep you posted.

About Rabbi Joshua

I'm a Rabbi, writer, thinker, mountain biker, father and husband ... not necessarily in that order. According to my wife, however, I'm just a big nerd. I have degrees in dead languages and ancient stuff. I have studied in various Jewish institutions, including an Orthodox yeshiva in Europe. I get in trouble for making friends with perfect strangers, and for standing on chairs to sing during Shabbos dinner. In addition to being the Senior Rabbi of Simchat Yisrael Messianic Synagogue in West Haven, CT, I write regularly for several publications and speak widely in congregations and conferences. My wife is a Southern-fried Jewish Beltway bandit and a smokin' hot human rights attorney... and please don’t take offense if I dump Tabasco sauce on your cooking.
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4 Responses to Hate-Fest in Ashdod

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow! This is just horrible. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hakeber says:

    I was in Arad in 2008, having dinner at a restaurant with friends – some known Messianics – when a group of about 20 black-clad Haredis showed up and began harrassing us. What the eyewitness describes as a "spirit of hate" is precisely what we felt from them. I remember the face of one man in particular: contorted with hatred and rage, muttering what I assume were curses non-stop. Their numbers kept growing and growing until we finally left. There are some residents of Arad who can scarcely eat in a public restaurant without this kind of thing happening.It is a shame that these devoted Orthodox Jews spend so much time on this project; I'm sure there are much more important prayers they could be praying, than for the demise of fellow Jews. How about for the protection of the whole nation of Israel, in the face of heightening tension throughought the middle east? It reminds me of the parable of the unforgiving debtor in Matthew 18, this passing the buck of persecution.

  3. David Lazarus says:

    Thank you all for standing with us. This just in from Calev Meyers for your info and prayersDear Brothers,Many of you are heard of the demonstration of the Ultra-Orthodox community which took place on 22.02.11 in Ashdod. The demonstration was organized by Yad L'Achim, an organization whose specific goal was to harm and scare the Messianic Jewish community in the city of Ashdod. During the demonstration the speakers espoused words of hate against the believers, including Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Ashdod, Yosef Sheinin who equated the Messianic Jewish community to Hitler. In addition, speakers made calls to expel the "missionaries" from the country, through the allegation that they seek to destroy all traces of the people of Israel.Please find here a video of the speeches made at the demonstration, so you can have your own impression of the event: http://vimeo.com/20604297. The demonstration was covered by the local media, some of which even posted online surveys evaluating the public opinion about the approach and manner of expression that took place:http://www.mynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4033415,00.htmlWe urge as many people as possible to click on the above link and vote, in order that we may influence the survey results, and accordingly, public opinion. Moreover, and more importantly, it our legal understanding that the content of this demonstration stands in contradiction to the criminal laws prohibiting incitement to racism and violence. Given the above violation, we urge that as many people as possible file a formal complaint to the police against the Chief Rabbi of Ashdod. All you need to do is take quotes from the video, go to the police station nearest your home and request to file a complaint, and hand them the a copy of the video as an attachment to your complaint. A police officer will register the complaint on the spot, and hand you a "certificate for a filed complaint." Attached you'll find an example copy of a complaint.All complaints (the more the better) will be sent to the Ashdod police station where officers shall be required to summon Rabbi Yosef Sheinin for questioning. In the event that the Police decide not to open an investigation, we will employ another method through legal channels before the Attorney General, the Legal Advisor of the Government, and the High Court of Justice to demand an investigation of this incitement. Blessings, CalevCalev MyersFounder and Chief CounselJerusalem Institute of JusticeP.O. Box 2708, Jerusalem 91026Tel. +972 (0)2 5371777Fax. +972 (0)2 5370777www.jij.org.il

  4. Rabbi Joshua says:

    David and Hakeber,Thank you for your comments and update.

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