a major Succos event in Jerusalem to try and convince Jews to convert out of their religion.
The event, known as "The Jerusalem March," is held during Chol Hamo'ed in tribute to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It is organized by the municipality with the help of several corporate sponsorships.
"The missionaries arrived in colored shirts like other participating groups and with thousands of flyers to distribute to passersby," said a senior Yad L'Achim official. "Only the quick response of our activists and volunteers in the capital prevented a major missionary success. We managed to alert people to the dangers and kept them from falling into the trap. They either tore up the flyers or turned them over to our activists."
What is particularly disturbing about last week's incident is that the missionary group, "Vision for Israel," marched openly with all the other legitimate delegations, under the auspices of the municipality of Jerusalem. "It has been many years since we've seen such a serious breach," the official added.
Yad L'Achim immediately fired off a letter to the mayor of Jerusalem demanding that he issue an order banning the group from future marches. Yad L'Achim stressed that the municipality, in failing to act, was lending a hand to activities that are forbidden by law.
"From the calls we received," Yad L'Achim said in its letter to the mayor, "it emerges that in some cases the missionaries violated the law barring missionary activity directed at youngsters, which carries a prison sentence. By ignoring this criminal activity, the city is in effect giving the missionaries a permit to brazenly break the law, making it an accomplice to a crime."
A copy of the letter was sent to the chief rabbis of Israel, the chief rabbis of Jerusalem, chareidi Knesset members and members of the religious council, asking that they help Yad L'Achim in closing this dangerous missionary breach.
A copy was also sent to the candidates for mayor of Jerusalem to gauge their response and to illicit a commitment to put a stop to missionaries going wild in the holy city.
A significant portion of the calls that came into Yad L'Achim's hotline included criticism of the police. Many parents said they had complained to police that missionaries were giving their children cult materials, but the officers didn't lift a finger – even though the missionaries were in violation of Article 368a of the penal code.
Yad L'Achim expressed deep sorrow at Christian missionaries taking advantage of such events to spread their message, violating the law and the spirit of the capital, the march and the holiday.
"As long as the law-enforcement agencies don't take action at violations of the current law banning preaching to minors, and as long as a comprehensive law banning missionary activity throughout Israel isn't passed, these kinds of humiliating events will continue.
"Only a law that is enforced will put an end to the shemad activities of missionaries who've acted unchecked for dozens of years."
Missionary material contaminates the streets of the holy city.