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Israel group exposes rabbi as Christian missionary

Rabbis and members of the congregation pray during morning service at The Great Synagogue on December 17, 2020 [Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images]
Rabbis and members of the congregation pray during morning service at The Great Synagogue on December 17, 2020 [Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images]

Residents of Jerusalem's French Hill neighbourhood were left aghast after a rabbi was outed as a Christian missionary in disguise, reported the Times of Israel.

The man and his family, who have not been named, were rumbled by Beyneynu, a non-profit organisation which monitors the activities of missionaries in Israel, claiming it had the family under surveillance for seven years and was investigating suspicions of a covert missionary operating in the area.

The incident allegedly "blew up" a week ago when the 13-year-old daughter of the man told classmates that Jesus "accepts everyone even if they are wrong".

The father was posing as a rabbi, scribe, and mohel, even conducting ritual circumcisions.

A spokesperson for Beyneynu, Shannon Nussan claimed they had confronted the man in 2014, but he had disappeared, re-emerging in the ultra-orthodox neighbourhood, to start a new "life of lies".

The man and his family allegedly faked documentation to appear Jewish in order to enter Israel under the 'Law of Return', and moved his family from New Jersey, embedding themselves in the ultra-orthodox Charedi community in the French Hill neighbourhood.

After thorough investigations, Beyneynu claimed that the wife had lied about being the daughter of holocaust survivors. The family's parents were discovered to be from New Jersey and non-Jewish, and posted missionary material excessively on social media.

READ: European police forces arrest fraud suspects linked to Israel

The man's late father was identified as a member of the Friendship Mennonite Church and buried in a non-Jewish cemetery.

The community expressed shock and horror at the revelations, as they had been supporting the family after the wife had died of cancer, even setting up a fund.

"The family looked completely ultra-Orthodox, he had a long beard and a hat, the boys had side-curls, the girls went to Beis Yaakov schools," said local community member Yoni Kayman.

"For five years we have been supporting them, paying for their groceries, school buses, for everything, and they deceived us," he continued.

The man had allegedly attempted to cover his tracks, by deleting social media content and taking his daughters out of the local religious school.

The community and Beyneynu are looking to get the man expelled from Israel since he and his family entered the country fraudulently.

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