07/13/2023 Israel (International Christian Concern) – Christians, Messianic Jews, and missionaries face increasing hostility from Jewish radicals in Israel. Recently, activists from the Lehava organization and the Or l’Achim organization physically attempted to block persons from attending a convention of Messianic Jews in Jerusalem. Israeli law enforcement responded to the scene to disperse the activists and ensure the event’s safety, leading to one activist’s arrest.
The Lehava and Or l’Achim organizations oppose Christian presence and proselytization in Israel. This comes as the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Arieh King, recently led a group of religious Jews chanting “missionaries go home” as a group of Christians gathered by the Western Wall for a prayer event. King opposed allowing “Christian missionaries to hold a Christian worship and ceremony designed to prepare a missionary effort directed at Israeli residents.” King also stated that he did not oppose Christian presence in Israel per se but rather Christian proselytization.
While there have long been occasional incidents of hostility and even violence towards Christians in Israel, there has been a rise in recent months. Some analysts assess that the rise in hostility and violence is tied to the current Israeli ruling coalition, which is largely supported by radical factions strongly protective of the Israeli Orthodox Jewish character and opposed to Christianity in the public square.
Some senior Israeli figures have condemned violence against Christians, including statements by the chief Sephardic rabbi of Jerusalem and the leader of the opposition party in the Jerusalem city government.
These incidents come amid ongoing civil unrest in Israel, as protests against proposed judicial reforms by the current Israeli government have caused widespread disruptions.
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