Messianic Presence at Hebrew Book Week Angers Ultra-Orthodox

Anti-missionaries go so far as to file police complaint against Messianic publisher with booth at local book fair

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Israel last week conducted Hebrew Book Week, an annual week-long event celebrating Hebrew literature.

The event is marked with book fairs in cities across the country. And the presence of Messianic book publishers at several of these fairs had ultra-Orthodox Jewish "anti-missionaries" fuming.

In fact, the often-violent anti-missionary group Yad L'achim filed an official police complaint after discovering a booth operated by the "HaGefen" publishing house at the book fair in Rishon Letzion.

HaGefen is a well-known Messianic publisher. Among its offerings at the book fair its series titled "The Testimony," which is a modern translation of the Bible with Israeli youths in mind.

Yad L'achim claimed that the books constituted "incitement and solicitation of minors to convert."

What most bothers groups like Yad L'achim is that these books are not identified as "Christian." They refuse to accept that Messianic Jews are very much an integral part of the Jewish people as a whole and of Israel.

"The innocent buyers do not know that these are missionary books that encourage conversion to Christianity," read the Yad L'achim complaint.

HaGefen issued a response noting that it has been a registered non-profit in Rishon Letzion for no fewer than 42 years. It further pointed out that the "offending" series of books, "The Testimony," consist almost entirely of a literal modern translation of the Bible.

PHOTO: President Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nechama visit a Hebrew Book Week book fair at the First Station in Jerusalem. Photo by Mark Neyman/GPO

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