October 2: Candidly speaking

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Candidly Speaking 
Isi Leibler’s “Chief rabbis besmirch Christian Embassy” (Candidly Speaking, September 22) is inaccurate and misleading.
Leibler cites former chief rabbi Shlomo Goren as blessing the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s Succot gathering in 1981, but the situation has changed dramatically since then.
In the early 1980s, the number of “Jewish believers in Jesus” residing in Israel was estimated to be in the hundreds. Today, Christian, Jewish and international organizations are putting the figure at 20,000. Messianic leaders openly credit Christian visitors for spawning this revolution, with young Israeli messianics frequently appearing at ICEJ events.
Although the ICEJ expresses solidarity with Israel and is involved in numerous philanthropic endeavors, in recent years it has become increasingly transparent regarding its active collaboration with Israel’s missionaries. By hosting ICEJ events, Israel is empowering and legitimizing the messianic movement and its evangelical missionary network.
It is not “misguided zealots” who have raised concerns over the ICEJ’s greater agenda. Rather, it is those who have worked extensively with pro-Israel Christian organizations, and we are taking note of the problems and providing the Chief Rabbinate and government representatives with documentation.
Since 2007, Jewish- Israel.com has been urging Jewish leadership to draw appropriate red lines and issue guidelines on a theologically loaded relationship with Evangelicals.
Mr. Leibler routinely uses his columns as a forum to critique the Chief Rabbinate.
This time, however, he is ignoring the facts. It is first and foremost the responsibility of the Chief Rabbinate to uphold the Torah and ensure Jewish spiritual continuity in the Land of Israel – and this includes warning Jews not to associate with missionaries and their activities, which is what it did.
The writer is a rabbi and rabbinic director of JewishIsrael.com.
Into the Fray
Martin Sherman’s factual destruction of Yair Lapid over the latter’s criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not being more proactive in endorsing the Saudi peace initiative (“Loopy, loopier...
Lapid,” Into the Fray, September 25) apparently angered some of your readers (“Sherman gets personal,” Letters, September 30).
Sherman showed how Lapid opposes four main points of the initiative. Why, then, is the columnist attacked for “demagoguery” and “fear mongering”? Lapid is the phony.
One need not be a biblical prophet to know that Lapid’s party will implode in one or two more elections.
AVIGDOR BONCHEK Jerusalem I religiously read “Into the Fray.” Very seldom do I disagree with Martin Sherman’s well-thought-out columns.
I therefore find it baffling that you saw fit to publish four letters excoriating his “Loopy, loopier...Lapid” column – a most unusual number for a single column – without publishing even one letter of support.
A look online at the talkbacks to the column shows that favorable responses outnumber those that are critical by over 20 to 1.
Could it be that The Jerusalem Post bowed to political pressure and tried to mollify Lapid and his voters by printing only the letters with negative sentiments? I do hope not.
Zichron Ya’acov
The letters editor responds: Six letters directly referring to the September 25 column were received by press time on September 29. All were piercing, and all were negative. There was no indication of an organized letter-writing campaign, so it was clear that Martin Sherman had struck a nerve. To reflect this, four of the letters were chosen for publication. The two positive letters that arrived (this and the one above it) came solely in response to the negative letters. Please be assured that I view the letters section as the readers’ soapbox.
I bow to no pressure, political or otherwise, and try to present letters in a way that reflects the tone and balance of the material that arrives.