Over the past week, Beyneynu’s hotline has been flooded with shocking reports of missionaries approaching young children.
These incidents occur at frequent intervals, especially in communities where there are known to be active evangelical missionary organizations close by.
It is illegal to proselytize to minors in the State of Israel, but it still happens far more often than we’d like to think. Missionaries in Israel frequently use children to proselytize
to Jewish children in order to get around the law, but the most recent reports are of Evangelical Christian adults brazenly approaching young Jewish children, which Beyneynu notes is an alarming development.
One concerned parent noticed two adults speaking to her 9-year-old child on a playground and ran over to find out what was going on. Despite her outrage, the missionaries proceeded to share their message about Jesus with her as well. The child continued to ask her mother about who Jesus is and why they don’t celebrate Christmas, long after they left the playground.
Photo submitted to Beyneynu will full permission from parents for its use.
Earlier today, Beyneynu received a report from another concerned parent that her 12-year-old son found missionary material outside the school library. Once he realized what it was, he searched the area and found several more leaflets scattered around an area where young children usually come to play.
While this is of great concern, the openness of these encounters is also very strange. The law against proselytizing to minors in Israel is well known in the missionary community, and has even been the subject of many articles within the Christian world.
I suspect that the uptick in these situations are an attempt to provoke a response from the Jewish community, so that missionary groups can use the reaction in order to advocate for ridding the very limited concrete restrictions that the state has against people who try to convert Jews to Christianity.
Provoking a response and then crying persecution is unfortunately a common tactic used here. We suspect that these missionaries are hoping to stir up an outcry so they can complain that their free speech is being restricted and demand that anti-missionary laws are repealed.
Any incident of proselytizing involving a minor should be reported to the police. Submitting a copy of the complaint to Beyneynu will allow us to follow up as well.
We take great care in protecting the identity of victims if they do not wish to be known.
Beyneynu is a non-profit organization that monitors missionary activity in Israel and abroad. Based in Israel, we work with government and community leaders here and abroad to raise awareness of Jewish evangelism and its danger to the Jewish people; and we encourage safe and consistent boundaries in the interfaith relationships of our Jewish communities worldwide.