Israeli Ambassador Rejects American Jews, Embraces Hagee, Christian Zionists
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 03:22:46 PM EST
Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., is apparently rejecting the invitation by J Street for their upcoming conference.  It should be shocking that the ambassador would reject the invitation to speak to a conference of American Jews coming together in support of Israel, particularly since he was quite willing to speak to John Hagee's Christians United for Israel this past July, a few months after being named as ambassador.   Oren's excuse for snubbing J Street is that the organization could "impair Israeli interests."

[Graphic, above, is from a donor request webpage for Maoz Israel, a Messianic ministry in Israel that includes a Messianic congregation, Hebrew publishing center for charismatic books, and a charitable arm,, that accesses Jews through the donation of millions of dollars of goods.  It is endorsed by John Hagee and other CUFI directors who claim not to proselytize. ]

In the strange world of today's interpretation of pro-Israel politics, those of us who are "liberal Jews" are now considered more of a threat to Israel's future than the Christian Zionists who have fantasized about the destruction of Judaism for generations.   One can assume that Ambassador Oren does not view Hagee's CUFI as impairing Israel's interests.   The tunnel vision and shortsighted preference for the embrace of millennial zealots over the support of those who have a vested interest in preserving the humanity of Jews and the perpetuation of Judaism, is tragic, and not just for Israel.

Who is really impairing the interests of Israel?  

Last year, on October 26, 2008, Oren spoke at John Hagee's Cornerstone Church in San Antonio as part of their Feast of Tabernacles celebration, a Christian Zionist adaptation of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.  Feast of Tabernacle celebrants believe the holiday will usher in the utopian Millennium of Jesus Christ.  As Hagee stated in his book Final Dawn Over Jerusalem, "when 6,000 years pass and that Sukkot moment has come, Jesus 1,000 year reign will begin...We'll trade in the condom culture and politically correct madhouse for paradise.  This AIDS-infected, abortion-loving, pornography-addicted, secular-humanist sewer will disappear as Jesus Christ redeems the entire creation."  The Feast of Tabernacles was popularized in the Latter Rain revival of the 1940s and 1950s and became a centerpiece of the movement as described in George Warnock's 1951 book "Feast of the Tabernacles."  It is now being celebrated by growing numbers of Christian Zionists in nations all over the world including Africa and Asia and has been hosted by charismatic Christian Zionists in Jerusalem for almost thirty years.

Christian Zionists "impair the interests" of Israel in numerous ways.  This is particularly true if one considers the survival of Judaism to be in the best interest of Israel or Jews worldwide.  Unfortunately in the chest thumping contests of "pro-Israel" zealotry, the damage done by Christian Zionists gets little attention.  Behind the protestations of love for Israel, and the adoption of external trappings of Jewish practice, the core of the Christian Zionist agenda is the termination of Judaism as a religion separate from Christianity.  In the thousands of pages of and hundreds of hours of narrative I have watched over the last seven years, the Christian Zionist scripts vary only slightly.  There is currently disagreement about the timing, and where the born again believers will be during the Tribulation, but the ending is always the same - the  "restoration" and "salvation" of Israel is the trigger which brings about the Christian millennial utopia. This is achieved through the termination of Judaism, one way or another.  One way is proselytizing.

Israeli and American Jewish communities have been told elaborate explanations by leaders like David Brog, the Jewish director of Hagee's CUFI, and to a lesser extent, Ambassador Oren, as to why these Christian Zionists no longer proselytize.  These explanations may sound plausible to those not familiar with Christian Zionist organizations, but the myth that these ministries are not involved in proselytizing can easily be dispelled, unless one limits the definition of proselytizing to handing out pamphlets to the Jewish participants they are trying to entice.  This is an outdated stereotype and not how sophisticated modern evangelical proselytizing works.  

Maoz Israel is a Messianic mission in Tel Aviv headed by Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram.  The mission has in recent years had an annual income of over 2.5 million dollars despite the rapidly growing but modest size of its Messianic congregation.  The Sorko-Rams have branches in Texas, Canada, and Britain, and collect money from Christian Zionists all over the world including poverty stricken areas of Africa.  Christian Zionists teach that God will bless those who bless Israel, and  even the poorest of the poor are giving in order to receive these tangible blessings.  For Maoz this has included thousands of dollars from Burkina Faso, where it is believed that giving donations to Israel leads to prosperity and improved crops.  (Maoz Israel is part of a group that sponsors an agricultural missionary in Burkina Faso in order to spread the gospel and stem the growth of Islam in the area.)  Pictures of  groups with glowing faces and Israeli flags can be seen in this and many other accounts that I have read from Africa and Asia.

The blessing goes the other way as the Messianic missions use these funds to "bless Israel" by aggressive proselytizing the young, needy Holocaust survivors, and terrorism victims.  Access is gained through the large scale distribution of charitable goods. and the publishing in Hebrew of books by charismatic evangelists.  Maoz Israel advertises a Hebrew book of the month club, history center, and even a Messianic themed hotel.  The ministry reaches out to Jewish youth through Messianic rap music and a coffee shop.

Maoz Israel's charitable arm is and is endorsed on its website by John Hagee, Pat Robertson, Jack Hayford, Robert Stearns, and Christian Broadcast Network CEO Michael Little, along with a list of Messianic leaders.  Jack Hayford and Robert Stearns are the co-founders of the largest international Christian Zionist event, the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, held on the first Sunday of October in over 200,000 churches in 175 countries.  Stearns and Little are both CUFI directors.

Link to the Maoz Israel endorsement at nts

Maoz Israel and other Israeli Messianic ministries solicit support through Charisma magazine, published by CUFI director Stephen Strang.  Strang's charismatic publishing empire is also the publisher of books by John Hagee, Robert Stearns, and David Brog.  Brog's book "Standing with Israel," was endorsed on the cover by Daniel Ayalon, Israeli ambassador at that time.  Strang's Charisma magazine celebrated the 60th anniversary of Israel with a cover article about charismatic Messianic and Christian Zionist missionaries who proselytize Jews in Israel, and the issue featured full page and double page ads for ministries including Maoz Israel.  The September 30, 2008 issue suggested ways that Charisma readers could "bless Israel" including to visit and "evangelize in Israel through Dugit Messianic Outreach Center.  A few months later, in the  April 29, 2009 issue, Strang reported in Charisma that he had been asked by the Israel Ministry of Tourism to find pastors to come to Israel - free of charge.

Now that Messianic missionaries are gaining a foothold in Israel, one of the regular themes in Charisma magazine and books by Christian Zionists such as Robert Stearns, is their persecution by Israeli Jews. Accounts of persecution of Messianics are marketed to churches around the world as evidence of the great need for the conversion of Israelis, and as a fundraising tool for Messianic ministries.  Stearns claims that conversion is happening at a rate unprecedented in history, and describes it in his book "Prepare the Way" as  "Our elder brother is risen from the dead."

Jack Hayford, a rising superstar in international Christian Zionism, introduced the husband/wife team of Maoz Israel, Ari Sorko-Ram and Shira, previously known as Carole Lindsay, the daughter of Gordon and Freda Lindsay.  The late Gordon Lindsay was the manager of the ministry of William Branham, and worked with Ern Baxter, leaders in the Latter Rain revival.  (Warnock, author of the Feast of Tabernacles was Ern Baxter's secretary.)  Lindsay was also publisher of "The Voice of Healing" and  the founder of Christ for All Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas.  The institute has trained numerous Messianic and Christian Zionist missionaries to Israel including Avi and Chaya Mizrachi of Dugit Messianic Outreach Center.

The Israeli governments endorsement of these Christian Zionists who are "blessing Israel" through a full scale assault on Judaism, is contradictory when considering the government's support of recent advertisements attacking interfaith marriage by Jews.  The campaign sponsored by MASA and Netanyahu's office targeted the intermarried as "lost" and included "missing person" posters.
[See video of the ad here]

This is the same Prime Minister Netanyahu who has personally endorsed Robert Stearns' Eagles Wings ministry and whose Likud colleagues are promoting aliyah (moving to Israel) of Christian Zionists who think they have a biblical right to the land of Israel.   The Christian Allies Caucus of the Israeli Knesset endorses and promotes the DPPJ.  (Watch for more details on the Worldwide Biblical Zionists, as well as the DPPJ and its leadership in future articles.)

Proselytizing is not just recruitment to a "different club" but involves the blatant demonization of Judaism by those who are the most outspoken about their love for Jews and Israel.  Jewish leadership in this partnership often point to the sincerity of Christian Zionists as evidence of their trustworthiness and unlimited support.  Christian Zionists are indeed very sincere in their concern for Israel and Jews, and many have committed their entire careers to this project.  Robert Stearns has claimed recently that he would die for Israel.  They very sincerely wish to save Israel from Islam, and Jews from Judaism.  It would be hard to say which they see as the greater threat - both must be eradicated to bring about the Millennium.

If I was able to read the minds of the current conservative Israeli government leaders, it would not surprise me at all to find that they are willing to accept the financial support and political cheerleading of their hawkish allies amongst the Christian Zionists while simultaneously having a chuckle over their allies' bizarre End-Times beliefs.

With so much money and political sway is at stake, I doubt they see much problem with such compartmentalization.  I have no doubt that their shared enmity of Islam and their desire to take a tough stand on the Palestinians and the expansion of the settlements trumps any underlying worries that the fanaticism of their friends may in some way bring ultimate destruction.  In fact, I suspect they would view such a likelihood as nonsense.

by tacitus on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 05:53:17 PM EST

Good comment, tacitus. I've often wondered if the Israeli right understands the agenda of its "partner" or if it takes the agenda seriously. I fear that they underestimate the resolve and resources of Christian Zionists. Excellent article. The writer is brilliant!

by protectdemocracy on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 08:07:20 PM EST
I think the Israeli right's leadership, at least, is well aware of their "partner's" agenda. (It would be hard not to, given Hagee's hunters and fishers comments.) But organizations like CUFI are now showing their real value as partners in opposing saner Jewish groups in the U.S. "J" Street will stand little chance of actually swaying US policy against the relentless combined assaults of Hagee, et. al., and the "regular" Israeli lobby. Throw in people like Beck and Hannity, and you've got the perfect propaganda storm. But you are right--in the end, they've no idea of the "resolve and resources of the Christian Zionists." Apocalypse does indeed make for strange bedfellow.

by iowan786 on Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 08:12:11 AM EST
I agree with this. As long as people like Hagee are simply raising funds and acting as valued political allies, the Israeli right wingers couldn't care less about their kooky ideas about hastening the apocalypse.

They are no doubt fully aware of what's going on and likely understand that it's in the Zionist's interests to remain friendly with their allies because that's the only way they will remain relevant in Middle Eastern affairs.

I liken this to a UFO nut donating large sums of money to the SETI (Search of Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute.  The people at SETI understand why the UFO nut is donating the money (he wants to confirm his kooky beliefs about little green men) and that it's not really anything to do with their stated goals, but they are perfectly happy to accept the check and spend his money.

by tacitus on Sun Oct 18, 2009 at 06:19:32 PM EST

Dr. Max Naumann was the founder of the League of German Nationalist Jews during the Weimar Republic. When the Nazis came to power, Naumann and his corts tried to come to some accomodation with them. You know where that got them.
Methinks this would make a fine cautionary tale for the current Israeli government to take heed of.

by Frank Frey on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 08:38:43 PM EST
yet possibly their worst enemies are welcomed with open arms, and closed minds.

by trog69 on Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 06:39:11 PM EST

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