Wednesday, May 06, 2020

 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

I have lived a large part of my life outside the Jewish bubble. I have known many Evangelical Christians, and some of them have been good friends. So I wasn’t surprised to hear about “God TV” and its attempt – which apparently did not succeed, although it came very close – to initiate a Hebrew language TV channel on HOT, Israel’s largest cable provider, that is an unabashed attempt to “broadcast the gospel of Jesus Christ – Yeshua the Messiah – in Israel on cable TV in the Hebrew language” (video here). The channel is called “Shelanu” [ours] to remind us that Jesus was one of us, a Jew – as if this is an argument for Jews to adopt Christianity!

Many Israelis and Jews are outraged by missionary activity aimed at us. From our point of view it is deeply insulting. How dare they try to subvert Judaism, especially considering the history of Christian (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) Jew hatred? Arguably, the very wellspring of all antisemitism is the response of non-Jews – leaders of the early Church, Mohammed, Martin Luther, the Inquisition, et al – to the stubborn refusal of Jews to replace their traditional beliefs and rituals with the “better” ones proposed by the various religious innovators. So naturally we vehemently reject modern-day attempts to convert us.

Jews are generally not judgmental toward those who practice other faiths (they specialize in criticizing other Jews). We do not go around telling Christians that they are practicing idolatry, nor do we attack Hindus for their polytheism. In modern times, most strains of Judaism do not engage in proselytizing. And so we have little patience when it is directed at us.

The legal discussion concerning whether the channel should be permitted will be interesting. Israel has freedom of religion, as indicated in the Declaration of IndependenceThe courts have upheld the right of free expression of religious beliefs, on the basis of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. There are, however, laws forbidding anyone from providing material benefit to someone for changing their religion, and forbidding attempts to persuade a person under 18 to change religion. Tourists can be prevented from entering the country or even deported for missionary activity.

Religious programming on TV is permitted. Even, theoretically, proselytizing programming. But if it is determined that it may influence young people, then it may not be allowed.

In order to understand why Evangelical Christians – who are otherwise supportive of Israel and may be quite friendly with Jews as a people and as individuals – would do something that is guaranteed to anger Jews and damage their relationship with them we need to look at some of their beliefs.

There of course is no one “Evangelical Christianity.” But Evangelicals generally believe that salvation requires an act of “conversion” or acceptance of Jesus as one’s savior and a renunciation of sin. The sometimes sudden life-changing experience is what some call being “born again.” Unlike Judaism, which requires above all observance of mitzvot [commandments], Evangelicals emphasize a radically powerful belief, which completely changes a person’s relationship to this world as well as his future in the world to come.

Along with the personal aspect of belief is the universal aspect, by which Evangelicals believe that one of their most important personal tasks, indeed one of the morally best things that they can do, is to bring others to the realization of the “good news.” If someone is resistant to the message, it can only be that they simply don’t understand what the stakes are; they don’t know what they are missing in this life, nor what will happen to them when they die, if they don’t accept Jesus while they still can.

Evangelicals believe that the Bible, including the Jewish Tanach, is the Word of God, either literally or by divine inspiration; and they study it carefully for guidance in all matters. Many Evangelicals are much more familiar with the Tanach than Jews, even Jews that have had Jewish educations. This naturally leads them to believe in the spiritual importance of the Jewish people. Often they quote biblical passages as the justification for their support and even love of Israel and the Jewish people. And how better to show your love for someone than to try to give them a better life, and save them from a horrible, eternally painful, doom?

It’s often said that Evangelical support for Israel, as well as their desire to convert Jews, is based on a belief in certain prophecies about the “End Times,” and they are acting in ways that will bring it closer. Some may believe this, but most of those who do accept such prophecies believe that the great upheavals and mass conversions that will mark the End Times are predestined, and not affected by human actions.

I think it should be clear that trying to explain to Evangelicals that it is inappropriate to proselytize among Jews will not be successful. Sharing and spreading their faith is a fundamental part of that faith itself; we can no more get them to renounce it then a Christian could get us to accept the Trinitarian nature of God.

At the same time, Jews have a right not to be bombarded with attempts to persuade them to abandon their own faith (I know Christian missionaries say they are just adding something to it, but that is disingenuous). The people behind the Shelanu TV channel are guilty of what popular psychology calls “bad boundaries.” One of the reasons for the existence of a Jewish state is to provide a place in which we can fully realize the Jewish dimension of our personal identity, something that is difficult or impossible in the diaspora. Part of the problem is the continuous pressure, even coercion, by the majority population, to give up our spiritual uniqueness. Missionary activity reintroduces that pressure. And the fact that it happens here in our own country diminishes our sovereignty.

Although it is important to protect the rights to freedom of expression and religion, no rights can be absolute, because of conflicts among them. Here in the Jewish state, unlike in the diaspora, there are special rights, or privileges, or benefits, for Jews and Judaism. We’ve tried to express some of this “specialness” in the controversial Basic Law: Israel – the Nation-State of the Jewish People.

So I think that if it becomes necessary to limit some of the rights exercised by those who love us so much that they find it acceptable to trespass on our boundaries, we might look to this law as a justification for that limitation.

That’s a job for the lawyers and judges. Meanwhile – and I really mean this – with the utmost respect for my Evangelical friends and strong supporters of Israel, I would like to see “God TV” out of the Jewish state.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

Support EoZ by shopping!

search eoz



follow me

Follow by Email


Share on Whatsapp


For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts in recent years


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Interesting Blogs


#PayForSlay Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews AmericanZionism Amnesty analysis anti-semitism anti-Zionism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Bernie Sanders Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo cartoon of the day Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent coexistence Community Standards conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Fake Civilians 2019 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow Ilan Pappe Ilhan Omar impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia international law interview intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya James Zogby jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Mairav Zonszein Malaysia max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Lynk Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO NIF Noah Phillips norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion Opinon oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Reuters Richard Falk Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Tomer Ilan Trump Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zionophobia Ziophobia Zvi

Blog Archive