A Christian prayer event near the Western Wall at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem became the site of protests today.
The Isaiah 62 Fast prayer event, which featured different Christian groups from around the world, took place today on the southern steps of the Temple Mount. According to the Western Christian calendar, today is the day of Pentecost.
The large gathering of Christians also attracted at least two groups of religious Jewish protesters.
One group of demonstrators faced the prayer event and used a loudspeaker to project ritual prayers and chants.
“Missionaries go home!” the group chanted several times.
[In Israel, and among many Jewish groups, the term missionary is a negative term. They believe that Christians try to get Jews to leave Judaism and stop being Jewish.]
“There are Christian missionary organizations that are trying to get into the Western Wall and into Israel,” one of the protesters said when asked why they were demonstrating.
“They invest many millions, and no one even asked them to come. Why is this country important to them?” he asked, while claiming that Christian groups are “trying on purpose to infiltrate our most holy places.”
“We are simply here trying to protect the thing that is precious to us,” he added.
While this group was protesting peacefully, despite the use of loudspeakers, another group of primarily radical religious youth protested at the entrance to the Jerusalem Archaeological Park. The protesters were more outspoken and engaged in violent pushing and shoving with Israel Police and towards Christians trying to make their way to the park.
During the scuffles, one of the glass doors to the archaeological park was shattered when a protester pushed a police officer into it.
“There are over 100 missionary organizations here. They’re trying to increase the missionary activity in Israel. We came to interrupt them and stop them,” said one of the religious youth.
Dr. Wayne Hilsden, former Israeli pastor of King of Kings Community Jerusalem and co-founder of Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries (FIRM) told ALL ISRAEL NEWS that the event was not about Christians trying to infiltrate Jewish sites. He said the event is about “praying for the salvation of Jerusalem.”
One of the Christian worshippers entering the event told ALL ISRAEL NEWS, “It’s Pentecost, and we want to see the Holy Spirit work.”
The Pentecost gathering featured Christian worship leaders from around the world, along with Evangelical Arab worship leaders and Messianic Jewish worship teams.
One of the Messianic Jewish leaders, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “This is a private event. It is not an evangelistic event.” In addition, he said that local authorities had given permission for the event.
“We’ve definitely seen a rise in overt attacks since [the coalition came into power],” he said.
“Certainly, the government has an effect on legitimizing protests like this,” he added, when asked if the increase in attacks could be linked to the coalition government’s rise to power.
Regarding the protesters who resorted to pushing and shouting at event attendees to go home, he said, “I think part of the calling of Evangelical groups is to ‘turn the other cheek’ and to love in spite of violence and hatred. And that is maybe the clearest witness.".
Ariel Hyde of Tree of Life Ministries said, “I think it was a wonderful, historic event, that so many believers from around the world joined us, as the body in Israel, to pray for the salvation of Israel.”
“It’s beautiful to see the connection between the prayer for the salvation of Israel and the call for the Gospel to go into all the world,” Hyde said. “They really are connected, and yet many did not connect them over the last 2,000 years.”
Hyde said he was not bothered by the protesters, and said many of the attendees were also not upset by their presence.
“It was so beautiful to see the response of the believers [to the protesters]. I saw the believers, it startled them, all the noise and the people trying to stop them. But they responded with love, they blew kisses and said to the protesters: ‘We love you. We bless you.’"
"I think this shows the love of Yeshua, that love conquers anger and hate,” Hyde added.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.