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New Missionary Campaign in Shadow of Bible Contest Controversy

ICC Note

Only one tenth of one percent Jews believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. They face persecution from some Jewish groups.

By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

05/05/2008 Israel ( – The Christian missionary organization known as “Jews for Jesus” is about to launch a new proselytizing campaign in Israel . Their redoubled effort to gain Jewish converts comes on the heels of a controversy over the participation of an Israeli girl who worships Jesus in the annual International Bible Contest, to be held on Independence Day in Jerusalem .

The family of Bat-El Levy, 17, the winner of the Jerusalem District Bible contest for secular public schools, is known to be active in a group whose members call themselves “Messianic Jews.” Her success in the regional competition earned Bat-El a place among four students representing Israel in the Bible Contest finals on Independence Day, this Thursday. Dozens of Jewish youth come to Israel each year for the last leg of the Bible Contest.

In reaction to the participation of a worshiper of Jesus in the Bible Contest, the head of the anti-missionary organization Yad L’Achim sent a letter to rabbinical and lay leaders in the religious community last week calling for efforts to get Levy disqualified. Several rabbis agreed to call for a boycott of the contest if Levy was allowed to compete. Among the rabbis supporting the idea of a boycott are Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Chief Rabbi of Tzfat Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who is the son of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, son of the Shas party’s spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Rabbi Meir Mazuz, dean of Kissei Rachamim Yeshiva, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Motzkin Rabbi Meir Druckman, and Har Hamor Yeshiva dean Rabbi Tzvi Tau.

Levy Cannot Be Barred

New Jews-for-Jesus Missionary Campaigns

Even as the Bible Contest controversy is reaching its apex, in a letter to supporters, the Jews for Jesus organization announced a series of new campaigns in Israel . “The campaigns are scheduled to begin in 2008 and continue through 2013,” the missionary organization announced. “These campaigns could be the most important thing we in Jews for Jesus have ever done….”

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