Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Missionary Billboards, and the Apology

Last week, numerous readers of the Muqata blog from Israel sent me notice and photos of Missionary billboards being posted in Israeli cities around Israel, including Lod, Rechovot, Petach Tikva and others.

They show a Hebrew letter progression/equation from "Yeshu" (Jesus) to "Yeshu'a" (Salvation) with a web address which is a proselytizing, missionary website.

These billboards are illegal as missionary activity in Israel is forbidden under law, and they outraged many. Some of the billboards were defaced.

Under intense public pressure, the Keshet advertising company took down all the signs and replaced them with a huge apology:

Dear Residents of Lod

We apologize for the anguish caused by the ad campaign which attacked your sensitivities. May G-d be with you and send you blessings, success, economic wealth, and prosperity.

With blessings for a plesant and enjoyable summer.
Keshet Signs.

hat-tip: the Luddite and rotter.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


Michael Sedley said...

I don't think that Missionary activity per-se is illegal in this country, only if involves material gain (e.g., we'll give you a free... is you attend our missionary session), and even then it has never been prosecuted in Israel.

Good to hear that the advertising took down the signs and apologized - I don't remember ever hearing of an advertising company apologizing before.

Happy Yom Yerushalayim,

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Hi Michael - Happy Yom Yerushalayim to you as well! (Today and tomorrow).

BTW - I believe there was an apology issued from a ad company about the extreme anti-Israel billboards in New Mexico a few weeks back...and there was also an apology from YES when they stopped advertising the YES HDTV "toy-ay-vah" commercial.

NormanF said...

Jews have never been convinced to convert. My late father wasn't a frum Jew but he would never turn to Christianity. Fear of G-d has always kept the Jew loyal and is the secret of Jewish survival. Missionary billboards in Israel won't change it.

Esh Tamid said...

Have we really put this crap above our freedom of speech?

nice to see we are taking lessons from our neighbors..

I hate missionaries as much as any other Israeli.. but seriously let them fail. You cant convince the Israeli public not to smoke indoors you think they can be lured away from being Jews?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Esh Tamid - there are laws against Missionaries...

Risa said...

At the mall in Rehovot I saw two women in yellow t-shirts that said:
יהודים למען ישוע
(Jews for Jesus?)

Gila said...

I saw those signs (I work in Lod) and was quite taken aback. But then I saw one that had been defaced in such a way that it read "Yesha=salvation".

I laughed out loud at that one. Very clever!

RivkA with a capital A said...

Missionary activity in Israel is on the rise, despite what NormanF and Esh Tamid would like to believe.

One of the missionaries greatest target group are assimilated Russians who are lacking in Jewish knowledge. Many do not realize that they are actually joining a Christian organization.

There are also Israeli Jews who are taken in by missionary groups.

It is naive (if not just plain stupid) to believe that Jews are immune to the influences of cults and other missionary groups.

There was an article about this in the paper not so long ago.

Rabelad said...

Unfortunately, it's a common belief that there is a law in Israel against missionary activity. I worked for a counter-missionary org for 14 years and there is not. There is a law against enticing someone to change their religion due to enticement for material gains, but a number of counter-missionary orgs had taken proof positive of incidents where this law was violated but the cops refused to allow a complaint to be submitted. So the police here are not interested in enforcing this law.

As far as missionaries and their activities go, Jerusalem and environs is fairly clean of them because counter-missionary orgs have done a good job educating the peoeple and there are plenty of yeshiva guys about that will challenge the missionaries. Up north, that is Tel-Aviv and up, the missionaries act without hinderance because of the many Russians who are naive and ignorant about how Christianity works and how missionaries opperate, as well as the lack of religious Jews educated against missionary teachings.

RivkA with a capital A said...

There was an article in the JPost Magazine, a year or two ago, about missionary communities. The article discussed the high number of Russians who attend.

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