Police beat protesters against Christian missionizing at Judaism’s holiest site, 9 arrested

Three policemen refused to say why they beat protesters, and a fourth said it was because they were yelling at tourists and blocking the way.

By Atara Beck, World Israel News

Approximately 150 Orthodox Jewish protesters attended a demonstration Sunday morning in the Old City of Jerusalem in response to a call by the city’s Deputy Mayor Arieh King and several rabbinical leaders, urging the public to “take a strong stance against a large-scale missionary event.”

The Pentecost 2023 event, King explained, was “set to include a worship service, a communion ceremony, and a united prayer initiative involving 100 million Christians worldwide.” Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl, former rabbinical head of the Old City, urged his followers to attend the protest.

A description of the event on its website demonstrates the goal of the organizers, which is not merely to pray for Israel and Jerusalem, but to make Jews into “believers.” It marks the launch of an aggressive, 10-year missionary campaign.

“On May 27th and 28th, 2023 a coalition of believers in Israel and the Nations, denominations, missions and prayer organizations are calling believers everywhere to set aside an hour to pray both for Jerusalem and the Jewish people and for the Gospel to go to the ends of the earth and communities of worshiping disciples to be raised up everywhere.

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“To assist and bring focus to the prayer, we are partnering with different groups from Israel and the nations of the earth in a 26-hour broadcast with different key partners leading prayer from their part of the world. Crescendoing in several high points throughout the day including a broadcast from the Southern Steps of the Temple in Jerusalem at 10 a.m.-12 noon.

“At the very place that 3000 were added to the number of the gathering of believers on the Day of Pentecost, many of the organizations who are participating in the decade of activities responding to Jesus’ Great Apostolic Commission to Go and Make Disciples of all nations and who have set a goal of 2033 (the 2000th Anniversary of the death, resurrection, ascension and pouring out of the Spirit) for many discipleship goals. As well as a commissioning broadcast to raise intercession for Jerusalem at 6 p.m.-8 p.m.”

Prominent missionaries spotted at the event – held near the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site – included, among others, Chaim Malespin, director of the Aliyah Return Center; Asher Intrater, President of Revive Israel; Avi Mizrachi, Pastor of Adonai Roi Messianic Congregation; Ron Cantor of Tikkun International and God TV; and Lou Engle, Lou Engle Ministries and Vertical House of Prayer.

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“Would it be conceivable that Jews would do this next to the Vatican? Could anyone imagine if Jews did this next to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?” King asked.

Meanwhile, protesters were screaming “Missionaries, Go Home,” and some tried blocking the entrance. Police responded violently.

Nine protesters were arrested, according to the Honenu legal aid organization.

World Israel News asked four different police why they beat the protesters. Three refused to answer, and a fourth said they were yelling at tourists and blocking the way.

Although the program was widely broadcast across multiple television networks across the globe and included reporters from the Christian Broadcasting Network, security at the entrance prohibited World Israel News from attending, insisting that “this is a private event. No journalists are allowed.”

A senior city official said they had no right to block a journalist – or, for that matter, any private person – from entering.