Bus tour (Shutterstock) Shutterstock
Bus tour (Shutterstock)

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It is against Israeli law to offer money or gifts in order to entice someone to convert out of his or her religion.

By United With Israel Staff

Following suspicions that missionaries were advertising free tours last week in order to urge people to convert, a Bat Yam woman contacted the counter-missionary organization Yad L’Achim, who found that her suspicions were true, reported Arutz7.

The advertisements appeared in a large number of communication outlets in the center of Israel entitled, “Arise and walk the land of the forefathers.”

“[T]he fact that the tours were offered for free raised my suspicions,” she said.

A field worker for Yad L’Achim “signed up” for the tour in order to find out when and where the next bus was leaving. Volunteers from the organization then converged at the location to warn participants that the tour was missionary in nature.

“When we arrived, we discovered 20 people who’d assembled to join the tour,” said Shimon Abargil, a field coordinator for Yad L’Achim, according to Arutz7. “When they understood that they’d been tricked by the missionaries and enticed by a tour that was aimed at getting them to convert out of their religion, they began screaming and cursing [at] the missionaries. Most of them backed out of the tour.”

Only five people boarded the bus, three of whom were non-Jews, according to the report.

The organization verified that the tour did include stops at Christian missionary sites, such as the church at Mercaz Clal in the center of Jerusalem.

While there, participants were forced to listen to missionary sermons urging them to convert.

Each member was handed a New Testament by missionary Shlomi Abramov, organizer of the tour.

On Sunday, Yad L’Achim filed a complaint against Abramov at the police station in Bnei Brak. They claimed that the tour is in violation of Israeli Clause 174a that forbids offering monetary benefit to get people to convert out of their religion.

“We have in our possession testimony proving that [Abramov] engaged in such activity, and we hope that this time the police will not hasten to bury the file due to ‘lack of public interest,’ as it usually does,” said Abargil, according to Arutz 7. “The Jewish public in Israel, in all its shades, is very interested in the subject of conversion out of our faith and there is broad consensus against Christian missionary activity.”

The organization urges the public to be aware of mounting missionary activities. “The missionaries are taking advantage of summer vacation to sermonize, including, as we see in this case, with deceitful offers of vacations and gifts,” noted Yad L’Achim.