(JNS.org) The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) expressed disappointment in a letter issued by Israel’s chief rabbis describing the ICEJ’s upcoming Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem as a “spiritually dangerous” event that undermines the Jewish faith.
“The ICEJ has always respected and upheld the laws of the State of Israel, including those covering missionary activities, and it is regrettable that the Chief Rabbinate acted solely on the misrepresentations of those bearing false witness against us,” ICEJ said in a statement.
In a letter dated Sept. 3, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau and Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzak Yosef accused the annual celebration by evangelical Christians in Jerusalem of being an effort to convert Jews to Christianity.
“We call on the Jewish community in the Holy Land not to take part in this conference…the event is spiritually dangerous and undermines the nature of Judaism,” the letter said.
Citing its efforts to stand up for Israel across the world through sponsorship of aliyah and fighting anti-Semitism, ICEJ defended its relationship and support for Israel as a Jewish state, noting that it has always been warmly welcomed in Jerusalem in keeping with the biblical tradition of welcoming gentiles during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
“It is thus a shame that some are trying to scare the Israeli public against us,” ICEJ said. “We trust that the Chief Rabbinate will reconsider this decision, which could do much harm to the new level of close Jewish-Christian relations that have developed over the past 60 years.”
ICEJ’s Feast of Tabernacles draws thousands of Christians from across the world. This year’s event is scheduled to be held at Jerusalem’s Payis Arena from Sept. 27-Oct 2.