Several Christian news outlets are reporting that a harassment campaign targeting Messianic Jews in Israel is kicking off again following the reopening of a Messianic Jewish outreach center.
Harassment Campaign at Messianic Center in Israel
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (Matthew 5:11)
The Middle East Concern advocacy group, an organization dedicated to “defending the religious freedom of Christians” says the campaign is specifically targeting a Messianic Center in Dimona, Israel. Opposition from the Haredi community closed the center in May after damaging the homes of Messianic Jewish leaders in Israel, breaking windows and traumatizing two according to Messianic news outlet Kehila News Israel.
Albert and Esther Knoester, leaders in the Dimona Messianic community, told Kehila News that the center is meant to be a meeting place, a place where people can walk in, sit down, have a cup of coffee or tea and can chat. They claim that the local media have misrepresented the center as a “mission post,” and, according to an article by Christian Headlines, opponents have raised false reports including accusations of bribing Jews to convert them to Christianity. Regardless of the allegations, it is fair to characterize the “Open House” in Dimona as a venue intended for sharing the gospel with Israelis.
The MEC also reports that a bookshop in Tel Aviv is being pressured to shut down for selling Christian literature, an alleged breach of contract by the building’s owner.
Knoester told Kehila News that the negative attention is also sparking conversations with community members.
“Because of all the negative attention we received in the local news papers, people came to us to talk with us also about what we believe. Some of them had never ever talked with Christians. It caused severe reactions from others.”
Polish Bill Bans Saying “Polish Death Camps,” Riles Israelis
If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? (Proverbs 24:12)
A new bill working its way through the Polish legislature that would make it a crime to blame Poland for Holocaust atrocities, specifically relating to the concentration camps on Polish soil.
The bill criminalizes the use of terms such as “Polish death camps” when referring to the Holocaust camps in Poland has sparked outrage in Israel and the broader Jewish community.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a chorus of voices have criticized this bill accusing Poland of seeking to separate itself from complicity in the Nazi atrocities on Polish soil. In a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said Israel has zero tolerance for “distorting the truth, rewriting history or denying the Holocaust.”
After Nazi Germany conquered Poland, they created labor and death camps across Poland for the Jewish population. Between 1941 and 1945 six camps in German-occupied Polish territory were established - Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek. Auschwitz and Majdanek functioned as concentration and forced-labor camps as well as killing centers.
While these atrocities were committed under Nazi rule there were both Poles who resisted the occupation and those who conspired with the Nazi regime. Post-WWII the Polish state has committed a great deal to Holocaust memorials by preserving elements of the death camps to serve as reminders of the past.
This latest bill, however, reveals a new state attitude that is aimed at renouncing claims of any Polish involvement in the Nazi concentration camps. That is why Israeli and Jewish leaders around the world have condemned this bill as revisionist history.
Poland officials deny that there was official state complicity with the Nazis, but the Israeli ambassador to Poland has demanded that this law, which was introduced on the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, be struck down. Many historians say the extermination of Jews in Poland would not have been possible without some Polish cooperation.
Polish officials say they are not trying to whitewash history but that they are unfairly blamed for the devastation of Poland’s Jews, especially given that an estimated 2.7 million non-Jewish Poles were killed in the camps as well.
Snow, Heavy Rains Douse Israel
Then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. (Leviticus 26:4)
Heavy downpours in northern and central Israel are overtaxing the limited drainage systems leading to flooded roads and extensive water damage in some areas.
In Tel Aviv, garbage cans were floating on the roads and buses began filling with water around passengers’ feet, according to Ynet News. They also reported that in the coastal city of Rishon LeZion, forklifts were used to lift vehicles trapped on flooded streets.
In parts of northern Israel the temperature dropped low enough for snow to fall around Hermon. Despite the recent rainfall for the past couple weeks, Israel’s national water company, Mekorot, said the overall deficit in the country's natural water reserves is still at a ten-year low.