Two Jews Baptized in Tel Aviv
Rumors of a huge missionary rally being planned in central Israel had been making the rounds for weeks, but Yad L’Achim didn’t have enough details to act. Finally, last week, activists learned that the rally was scheduled for this past Friday-Shabbos at the “Gan Nachum” municipal sports center in Rishon LeZion, and was to “culminate” in the baptism of two Jews who had come under the influence of J’s Witnesses.
Armed with this information, Yad L’Achim turned to Rishon LezZion Deputy Mayor Rabbi Ayreh Cohen and apprised him of the planned event, stressing that it constituted a flagrant breach of the status quo in the city. At the same time, Yad L’Achim announced plans to hold a massive protest rally at the site Friday, including the city’s chief rabbis.
Acting on the basis of information supplied by Yad L’Achim, the city’s rabbanim flooded the office of Mayor Dov Tzur with pained appeals that he cancel the event. Shmuel Jamil, the head of the Shas Party delegation on the City Council, sent a sharply worded protest to the mayor: “It is inconceivable that the municipal sports hall should be operated on Shabbos, and especially for the benefit of an event whose entire essence is chilul Kodesh!”
Meanwhile, acting behind the scenes, Yad L’Achim took steps aimed at ensuring that the event would be canceled. While officials decline to elaborate on the steps, they insist that they were completely legal.
The efforts appeared to pay off, as, on Thursday, it was announced that the event would not be held in Rishon LeZion. However, at 12:00 a.m. Friday, Yad L’Achim learned that the missionaries had not given up, but were merely moving the event to a different city. Details on the new location were being kept secret to keep Yad L’Achim from interfering.
Yad L’Achim met throughout the night and decided to send its own vehicles to the pick-up points in Rishon LeZion, where those participating in the missionary rally were waiting for chartered buses. Yad L’Achim followed the buses and learned that new location for the two-day event was the Tel Aviv fair grounds.
Among those arriving for the gathering were children, elderly people and the handicapped, vulnerable populations that the missionaries pursue obsessively. Yad L’Achim activists succeeded in gaining entry to Pavilion A11, where the assembly was being held, and documenting the infuriating events. The activists confronted the cult leaders and told them in no uncertain terms that they would continue their legitimate activities in hampering the missionaries and saving Jews from shemad. At one point, they were seized by security guards who had been hired by the missionaries and taken outside.
In a demonstration that was quickly organized by Yad L’Achim, chareidi residents of Tel Aviv, headed by Deputy Mayor Rabbi Nafatali Lubart, protested the terrible shemad and the chillul Shabbos planned for the next day.
Thanks to the efforts of Rabbi Lubart, the police got involved and the missionaries were forced to move the baptism to another location, where, tragically, the two Jews were baptized.
Despite the bitter disappointment, it was learned that Yad L’Achim’s efforts had led to many cancellations to the event, including Jews who intended to participate.
In the wake of the horrifying event, Yad L’Achim called again for all those who have influence, especially Knesset members, to work toward passage of an amended law against missionaries, that will protect the country from the shemad crusade that threatens the country.