We Must Overcome — An Editorial (Vol. 29, Issue 5)
The problem of missionaries in Israel has always been disturbing and at last concrete action is being taken by a large number of Jewish organizations. Coverage in the Jewish papers is now extensive, though a great deal of space has unfortunately been wasted on exaggerations of picketing by yeshiva students.
Here at Yeshiva, questions have been raised concerning the problem to Mrs. Golda Meir, Dr. Yitzchak Raphael, and Dr. Joseph Burg. And undoubtedly the stirring speech of Rabbi Soloveitchik alerted the entire student body to the scope of the mission menace.
Questions may still rage but the time for action is now. With a positive program mapped out, a student coordinating commission is currently in the process of enlisting the aid of American Jewry to voice a unified protest against missions.
Represented on the committee are leaders of Yeshiva College, RIETS, TI, JSP, Mizrachi Hatzair, Yavneh, Z’eiri Agudas Yisrael, and Young Israel with the list still growing. Some of the tasks which the committee is undertaking include:
1) Collecting and disseminating information. An extensive effort is being made to collect accurate and detailed information on the scope of missionary activity. Pamphlets from missions are available plus reports of organizations which are actively engaged in combating the evangelists and eyewitness reports from students in Israel.
2) A fund raising campaign. The money collected (and a drive is now underway in the morning divisions of YU) will go to aid anti-missionary organizations and help supply information to the Jewish populace.
3) A petition. This will present in outline form the need for a law to outlaw missions in Israel plus a possible formulation of that law based on statutes now extant in Egypt, India, and many of the new Afro-Asian countries.
4) A symposium. Jewish intellectuals from all walks of life will be asked to state their opinions on missionary activities and use their moral suasion on the Israeli government in a plea for action.
The committee needs active support. The students of Yeshiva must play a vital role in raising money, collecting information, and obtaining signatures. If we can show the Israeli government 100,000 names, we can expect to arouse the concern of the Knesset.
We finally have a chance to do more than bemoan a situation. There is no time to waste. Saving a Jewish child from shmad is equivalent halachically to saving a life and the opportunity is ours, now!