Last Thursday night an angry Orthodox Jewish mob tried to interfere with an indigenous Israeli Messianic music event in downtown Jerusalem.
Not only that, but the Orthodox group tried to paint the event as “missionaries” preying upon Israeli children.
That is a patently false charge.
The concert was a continuation of a series of music conferences aimed to increase the quality and quantity of Hebrew-language praise and worship songs being written and sung in the Israeli Messianic Jewish congregations. The popular initiative started over a decade ago. It consists of collecting and selecting songs and then holding a recorded live concert approximately once every two years. The concerts fill a 600-seat auditorium twice over, and garner millions of video views on YouTube.
Those who attended the back-to-back concerts on Thursday had to brave a gauntlet of young Orthodox activists who had been riled up by their leaders into a state of fear and hostility. The fear stretches back to antisemitic European Church history in which Jews were persecuted, forced to convert to Christianity and expelled over the centuries.
A handful of young Orthodox Jewish activists tried to disrupt and prevent a Messianic Jewish concert in Jerusalem last week. They did not succeed. pic.twitter.com/0OgVEHnc6f
— Israel Today (@israeltoday) June 26, 2023
Around 50 protestors intermittently succeeded in blocking the entrance amidst jostling and noisy intimidation. The initial police force present seemed to allow the antagonists to protest almost right up to the doors of the Messianic “Pavilion” venue, but eventually received reinforcements and asserted control. The Pavilion is located in the Klal Building’s indoor mall, just a stone’s throw from the outdoor Mahane Yehuda market.
עימותים קשים בין כוחות משטרה לעשרות פעילי ימין שהגיעו להפגין נגד כנס ״מיסיונרי״ בבניין כלל בירושלים. גם בני גופשטיין פה pic.twitter.com/vlCqpNyTmd
— לירן תמרי | Liran Tamari (@liran__tamari) June 22, 2023
In light of the partial blockage, the organizers of the concert occasionally channeled ticket holders into the auditorium through a side door.
Despite considerable resistance and intimidation, the event still took place, and gave renewed significance to the term “freedom of worship.”
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