(Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 08:30 PM)
School principals were invited to a Jerusalem district kenos to take place on Tuesday, 12 Kislev. However, many of the invited participants did not attend as it was learned the Pavilion Hall hosting the event usually serves as a missionary base.
Officials in Bennett’s office explained the kenos was on a district level and has nothing to do with the ministry. Kippa News turned to Jerusalem district officials for a response, and were told “The Pavilion Hall in the Klall Building has a badatz hashgacha, has been used numerous times by Shas and previous conferences were held there as well”.
Yad L’Achim officials’ turned to Education Minister Naftali Bennett to change the venue. Following questions from a number of persons wishing to attend, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner Shlita announced one may not participate in a kenos at the venue, since it is used by missionaries. He called on participants not to attend.
Missionary activity is not illegal in Israel except when a financial incentive is offered or when approaching minors under the age of eighteen. Organizations therefore attempt it openly. Many missionaries are of Jewish origin, including Avi Mizrachi, an Israeli-born “Messianic” in Tel Aviv. He does not merely have his own congregation; he also runs the Dugit Messianic Outreach Center in Tel Aviv, where free coffee and entertainment are offered, mostly to secular youth. The trained staff is more than happy to share their faith.
In Jerusalem, the Clal building where the Pavilion is located, at 97 Jaffa Road, is headquarters for missionary groups. King of Kings Ministries has an office on the 14th floor along with a “prayer tower,” and on the bottom floor is Café Forte. There had been on-and-off controversies about its hechsher in the past, but it currently has a Jerusalem Rabbinate kosher certification. Nonetheless, whoever patronizes this café is helping support the missionary effort.
More information about other missionary activity Israel may be found here.