Thursday, December 31, 2020


     If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there....

And, of course, the road will get you there. The episode discussed here points to one of our legacy Jewish organizational partners which is, at least in the instance discussed here, in The Jerusalem Post, and in an article on ejewishphilanthropy, an organization that has lost its way but still might regain it. The Post report can be read here:

If you are an American Board member of JAFI, how might you react to this headline: Messianic Evangelicals Partner with Jewish Agency Running Absorption Center for Olim and Lone Soldiers? I might want to get to the bottom of this mess. But, hey, that's just me. You??? Jewish Agency leaders? Any one else? The leadership of the  Jewish Agency now appears to be both in denial and fully engaged with this balagan. There has been no better piece on this mess than in ejp's article today:

Who would have thought that as 2020 finally comes to an end, we would have learned that the Jewish Agency for Israel appears to have partnered four-plus years ago with a messianic Christian entity dedicated to bringing Jews to Israel and converting them. But, so it was and so it is. Yes, take a careful look at the Jewish Agency's "partnership" with "Return Ministries" in the development, operation and populating of the Bikat Kinarot Village. Here is how "Return Ministries," a Canadian messianic Christian entity, described it:  The Jewish Agency's weak denials in the Post article of the Ministries' involvement rang as hollow as did the Ministries' denial of purpose; and in statements issued since, JAFI has tried to redefine Return Ministries roles and minimize them.

So begin with a written commitment in the Return Ministries project materials to refrain from engaging in efforts to convert those who stay at Bikat Kinarot. But, that appeared to be at best misleading and at worst a misrepresentation. Return Ministries asserts on its website:

"Clarity for our Jewish Friends

    ...not a proselytizing missionary institution

             ...not a messianic Jewish institution..."

One organization decided to take a closer look. A group of concerned Jews within the non-profit Outreach Judaism began asking the right questions:

"Outreach Judaism is an international organization that responds directly to the issues raised by missionaries and cults, by exploring Judaism in contradistinction to fundamentalist Christianity."

Outreach and Beyneynu, another organization fighting those entities which may be engaged in conversion activities, have led the fight and, in doing so, have engaged with some American Jewish leaders.

Here is the video that Outreach Judaism prepared:          You must watch it; and, then, the question: who proposed that JAFI partner with a messianic fundamentalist Christian entity in a Project clearly focused on converting Jews to Christianity? Yes, how was this approved? Was JAFI lay leadership even aware of the "partnership?" And, now that they are, what are they doing about it? Outreach Judaism framed the question for us: 

Why are Jewish Agency programs for vulnerable populations being run by Christian missionaries? (Jewish Agency counsel asserted, among other demands, in the letter cited below: "Return Ministries has no involvement in the Jewish Agency's programs and the Jewish Agency strongly opposes to [sic] any prohibited missionary activity..."  In other words: "don't believe your lying eyes.")

With no real answers forthcoming as yet since these questions first arose, Beyneynu  leaders asked again in a letter to JAFI and other leadership on December 6. And, how has the Jewish Agency responded to the Beyneynu letter? With its in-house counsel's letter threatening the Beyneynu authors with legal action for, among other things: violating Israeli law by failing to obtain the consent of the letter's recipients prior to their receiving it (under this theory, all correspondence in Israel could not be sent without acceptance by the addressee in advance); not having its facts correct (without explaining what the true facts are); a demand to cease and desist; and a threat of legal action against the organization and the authors. 

Many were expecting a factual response at the least; one that would explain how and why the Jewish Agency embarked on this "partnership" in the first place and what it is doing to terminate it. Instead...none of the above and threats to those who exposed the "partnership" in the first place. As one of my friends described. it: "READY, FIRE, AIM."

And, over the past months, while all of these events were transpiring, some American Jewish leaders raised these questions quietly and directly with Jewish Agency lay and professional leaders who, to their credit, took these concerns far more seriously than the Agency's counsel's letter would have suggested. But, should not the Agency act to terminate this 10 year contract and the missionary entity's presence on the Bikat Kinarot campus

There have been many positive changes in the Jewish Agency's leadership since the deal was made with Return Ministries. The current leadership appeares to be taking this matter seriously. And, so, JAFI needs to provide clear and unequivocal answers, not threats and unsubtantiated denials ...and its leaders need to do so and to act now.

I  wish all of you a healthy and safe and far better 2021.



Anonymous said...

That is all I can say after reading the articles you quote and seeing the video.

Robert, thank you for publicizing this.

Where is the responsibility at JFNA? How can anyone allow this continue even one day longer?

How many years have they been allowed to proselytize partially funded by my Federation dollars?

I know you said JFNA Israel was a complete waste, but this is proof enough.

Shouldn’t JFNA and all the large city Federations stand up today - yes even New Year’s weekend - and end this before they proselytize another Jew, such as the Argentinian woman the video you link to identifies?

Marc Wilf, where are you? Please stop this NOW!

Anonymous said...

One needs know anything else but this article:

Anonymous said...

The really disturbing thing here is that there is nothing new about it. Many different Evangelical Christian organizations have been providing services to assist the Jewish Agency in its aliyah work for decades, mostly but not only in the FSU. The justification has always been a lack of adequate budget to get the aliyah job done without this kind of logistical support. Instead of financial assistance these organizatiins always offer direct logistical support services provided by their own staff and volunteers.
Why should anyone be surprised that these kinds of things happen when we willingly involve Evangelicals in the work of the Jewish Agency? The very definitiin of "Evangelical' includes 'as paramount the tenet that salvation is achieved by personal conversion to faith in the atonement of Christ' (source:

Anonymous said...

The doctrine is to show them unconditional love with no strings attached until they eventually realize that this is Christ's uncomditional love.

RETURN Ministries - almost Zionist, at least the first part of it...
The doctrine is to "return" the Jews to Israel and then they will accept the love of Christ the Messiah (i.e. convert to Christianity) and then he will "return."

Anonymous said...

Can we all finally agree that JAFI should be put out of its misery and eliminated?!

Shannon said...

It gets worse. Watch this one all the way through and you'll see the head of Aliyah Return Center boast about how they're not just any ministry in Israel, but they have the backing of the government - "a kosher stamp".

Legitimacy - Credibility.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Again, the surprising thing about this is that only now, after many decades, is this type of organized cooperstion being noticed and discussed!

Anonymous said...

JAFI has been aware of the problems with Return Ministries since 2016. I personally know of meetings that took place in Jerusalem with Sharansky's staff 5 years ago, JAFI executive administrators in 2019 and again with Herzog in 2020. Return Ministries was at the top of the agenda at those meetings. JAFI staff and directors took the video footage and documentation seriously and asked for follow-up. Ironically the now director of Beyneynu presented at those meetings and was welcomed. In fact, she was given those mailing list contacts by BOG and Federation heads. So what is going on?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Haaretz Breaking News: Jewish Agency Expels Christian Group From Galilee Campus Over Proselytizing Scandal