Attempts to proselytize to Israeli Jewish soldiers in IDF bases will not be tolerated, says army’s top brass.
By World Israel News Staff
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi’s office responded to an investigation about covert Christian missionaries attempting to convert Jewish IDF soldiers to Christianity in a letter to the NGO Yad L’Achim, writing that the army would not tolerate such actions.
“According to IDF orders, it is forbidden to distribute propaganda and proselytizing material. Enforcement of these rules is the responsibility of the direct commanders,” the IDF Chief of Staff’s Office said in a statement.
The commanders can impose consequences such as “disciplinary measures, when soldiers act against army regulations,” the statement said.
“In any event, these missionary organizations have no access to the army and hold no activities on army bases.”
Yad L’Achim had reached out to the IDF with testimony from soldiers who were approached by covert Christian missionaries at their army bases.
The NGO also shared an instructional pamphlet intended to optimize the missionaries’ proselytizing efforts with the IDF.
“Military service is a special, challenging period with many opportunities. The day-to-day interaction in the army opens many doors to preach the gospel,” the pamphlet said, according to Israel National News.
“This [document] is meant to give practical tools for preaching to different groups in Israeli society which we encounter during regular military service.”
“Judaism respects all people of all faiths. We simply demand the same of others. The army is no place for coercion of any type – physical, religious, or otherwise,” said Shannon Nuszen, founder and director of anti-missionary watchdog group Beyneynu.
“If a soldier is found to be in the service with a purpose of anything but the protection of our country and our people, it should be handled accordingly.
“The military is not the place for this,” Nuszen said.
Several high-profile cases of covert missionary activity recently made headlines.
The revelation that several Christian missionaries, including father and son duo Michael and Calev Dawson and married couple Michael and Amanda Elk, were able to impersonate Jews and successfully ingratiate themselves in Israeli and American Jewish communities sent shockwaves throughout the Jewish world.
Rabbi Tovia Singer, who has worked for decades to raise awareness about covert missionary activity, told World Israel News that while the Elks and Dawsons have attracted major attention, they are just the tip of the iceberg.
“What we’re observing in these spectacles…are not an anomaly,” he warned, adding that these large-scale deceptions “pose an existential threat to Jewish communities worldwide.”