Christian missionaries have escalated a new campaign targeting kibbutzim (agricultural communities founded on socialist values) in the Jordan Valley, in an attempt to pull Jews away from their faith.
Dan Shalev, who was born and raised at Kibbutz Beit Zera and currently lives in Judea's Gush Etzion, told Arutz Sheva on Wednesday about how he found missionary books in his mother's kitchen at the kibbutz.
"I arrived at the kibbutz, at my mom's, and I saw on the table two books that didn't hide their purpose – one of them was 'The New Covenant' with a quote from Isaiah on it, and another called 'Betrayal!,' which on its back cover wrote about a Jew whose daughter wanted to convert to Christianity and he tried to clarify and contradict her words, and the continuation apparently is that he finds out that she was right."
How did the missionary books reach his parents' kitchen table?
Shalev found out that on the pathways of the kibbutz, his mother met a woman who told her how much she loves Israel, and asked her to give her, and a family member who is ill, a blessing.
The two continued talking, until at a certain point "it happened that she had two books, if she (Shalev's mother – ed.) wanted to read and take them."
Shalev reported that his mother heard about other women in the kibbutz whose homes were also visited by people distributing the books.
"It appears that those who are doing it aren't doing any field tests," he added with a grin, noting that those familiar with the Hashomer Hatzair socialist-secular kibbutz movement know it rejected Judaism to the point that trying to get them to embrace Christianity also is doomed to failure, due to the fact that Christianity historically was created as a branch out of Judaism.
Kibbutz residents may read the books but there's no reason to think they will change their ideology, according to Shalev, who based his prediction on many long conversations with residents.
When asked how he returned to Judaism and moved to Gush Etzion after being raised in such a radically secular environment, he recalled, "I didn't have a revelation."
Shalev said that after growing up in a communist education system he developed a strong moral consciousness that was not affected by the later collapse and privatization of the kibbutzim.
As he continued to search for knowledge, he found that the one source that for thousands of years had spoken about the moral values he grew up with was none other than Judaism.