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New Messianic Jewish center in Jerusalem drawing angry protests

ICC Note

“This center will be erected over our dead bodies,”

By Dan Wooding

April 8, 2008 Israel (ANS) — According to a story from ICEJ News (www.icej.org), Jerusalem planning authorities have approved the renovation of a house in the capital’s secular Rehavia neighborhood to serve as a worship and activity center for the Messianic Jewish organization Netiviah, but some religious elements have vowed to stop the building project even if it means rioting or appealing the High Court of Justice.

“This center will be erected over our dead bodies,” declared one opponent of the project. Another threatened “an all-out war” if the renovations start as planned. “We don’t care if a mosque or a church [is] built here, but we won’t tolerate the presence of missionary Messianic Jews,” he said, reported Ynetnews.

The ICEJ News story said that Pastor Joseph Shulam responded that while the threats from ultra-Orthodox activists were nothing new, he insisted his group had conducted charitable activities in the neighborhood for years and had been welcomed by local residents until outside Haredi elements [Haredi or Chareidi Judaism is the most theologically conservative form of Orthodox Judaism] began inciting against his ministry.

“Throughout the years we have operated in the neighborhood, everybody knew what we were doing… All we do is help Jews by opening soup kitchens, giving alms, nothing more.”