The ultra-Orthodox organization Yad L'Achim has long been a thorn in the side of Israel's Messianic Jewish community. Sometimes more than a thorn - Jack Teitel, the Jewish terrorist who almost killed Messianic youth Ami Ortiz, is believed to have strong ties to the group.
Now Yad L'Achim is targeting a blossoming Messianic community in the coastal city of Bat Yam. The local edition of the Hebrew daily Yediot Ahronot reported earlier this month that Yad L'Achim had received many complaints from residents upset about receiving "missionary material."
According to the article, local Messianic believers had visited homes in the area to share their faith. Yad L'Achim backers quoted in the piece also took offense at the reported recent founding of a new Messianic congregation, which they tried to paint as a "cult-ish" and "secretive" enterprise.
"We have a problem dealing with this issue, because the meetings take place in a private residential home in one of the apartment buildings so that naturally the activity there is very hidden and secretive," said one rabbi.
Oded Raban, a local Messianic Jew, refuted such nonsense, telling the paper that “there is nothing inappropriate in the [Messianic community's] activities ... [there is] no truth in the claims that we behave in an underhand manner. And if it comes across that way, the only reason is that we face such extreme antagonism, that it doesn’t leave us with many options.”
Raban reiterated what many other Messianic Israelis have stressed before:
"We have tens of thousands of believers in this country, and we are all citizens of this state. We are loyal to it, serve in the army, give to it, but our worldview is slightly different from other Jews’, and for that reason, other Jews see us as an anomaly. We, as our Jewish brothers, believe in God and see Him as the center of everything in this world."