The central Israel town of Raanana last week canceled a planned Jehovah’s Witnesses event after ultra-Orthodox activists insisted the gathering was to include a “mass baptism” of Jews.
The official schedule for the event, which was to be held last Saturday at the MetroWest Sports Center, included only seminars and made no mention of a baptism.
But that didn’t stop the anti-missionary organization Yad L’Achim from issuing an urgent warning that “buses all over the country would bring innocent Jews to be baptized on the Sabbath at the Raanana municipal sports center.”
Pressure from the group and Orthodox members of the Raanana City Council eventually resulted in the municipal government requesting that the Jehovah’s Witnesses move their event. When the Jehovah’s Witnesses declined, city hall canceled the event.
Raanana city officials later insisted that the cancellation had been ordered out of concern for public safety, noting that ultra-Orthodox groups had planned to protest – perhaps violently – outside the arena.
But representatives for the Jehovah’s Witnesses accused the city of impinging on their freedom of religion. There was some concern by other groups that Yad L’Achim could use this victory to shut down Christian “missionary” events in other parts of the country.
source: ISRAEL TODAY website #
Bellow Ra’anana city hall. Photo by Sharon Bukov
Aruts Sheva published:
“Once again, Yad L’Achim went into action, contacting hundreds of city residents and asking them to do what they could to have the ceremony canceled. Raanana’s Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Peretz and several City Council officials were also made known of the event and the local residents’ efforts to stop it.
Finally, on Wednesday, the city council members of the United Religious List of Raanana drafted a clear ultimatum to Mayor Ze’ev Bielski: “If the ceremony is held, we quit the city government coalition.” Israel National News.com