Skip to main content

Ultra-Orthodox fight to restrict Christian missions in Israel

Ultra-Orthodox and other Jewish organizations are pushing for an amendment to the Israeli law against proselytizing that they say is currently unenforced.
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 08:  David Lau, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, speaks to a man at the Or Avner traditional Jewish school ahead of the 75th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms on November 8, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Germany is commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms, during which Nazi gangs burned down synagogues, smashed shops and looted residences across Germany and Austria in a fury of anti-semitic violence in 1938. Persecution of Jews was a central component of A

In recent years, the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth) has become a significant religious holiday for evangelical Christians who support Israel. They come to Jerusalem by the thousands from all over the world for a week of celebrations that include study sessions of the Bible and the New Testament. This year, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem held a convention at an auditorium in Jerusalem attended by thousands of Christian Zionists.

It seems, however, that certain groups in Israel are deeply concerned by the growing phenomenon and even fighting it. According to those opposing it — for the most part, ultra-Orthodox and other religious Jews — it is actually Christian missionary activity aimed at encouraging Jews to convert to Christianity. Recently, in an unusual move, Israel's Chief Rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef issued an appeal against the convention, describing it as "a spiritual danger" "undermining the Jewish character" of Israel.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.