A man who has been living and working in Jerusalem as a rabbi for years has been accused of being a secret Christian missionary.
Beyneynu is one of several groups in Israel that monitors for Christian proselytism amongst the Jewish population. Beyneynu spokesperson Shannon Nussan told the Guardian the man in question has been under surveillance for several years despite the fact that he has dressed in ultra-Orthodox clothing and performed Jewish rites. Nussan said the group had confronted the man in the past but that he and his family had disappeared for seven years before being outed again in 2021.
The Guardian reports that the organization allegedly recorded that the man’s now deceased wife — who received a Jewish funeral in Jerusalem — “promoted Judaism on social media but incorporated content from Christianity.’”
The Guardian has been unable to reach the man for comment. However, speaking to the local Channel 13 news station, the accused denied the allegations.
“It’s a lie. I was born Jewish,” he said. He added that while he had worked as a missionary seven or eight years ago, he had since “repented”.
Behadrei Haredim, an ultra-Orthodox website that first reported the news, said the incident “blew up” a week ago after the man’s 13-year-old daughter told a classmate that Jesus “accepts everyone, even if they are wrong”.
It quoted a resident as saying that the neighbourhood was “in great shock”.
Israel does not ban missionary activity, but it is illegal there to preach to anyone younger than 18 without parental consent.
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