How many people know that there is an organization called
Christian Friends of Israeli Communities (CFIC), which
supports Jewish settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza?
"Contact Christian Friends of Israeli Communities," invites
its Internet homepage, "to find out how you and your church
or organization can join with us to encourage these brave
The organization's main project is Adopt-A-Settlement. Forty-
five Jewish settlements beyond the Green line have been
adopted by Protestant churches in the U.S, Europe and the Far
East. Most of these churches are evangelical. The Christian
communities finance various needs of the settler
However, according to a report by Baruch Kra in
Ha'aretz, it turns out that the project is just one
part of an intensifying system of economic links between the
settlements and the churches.
In a report published in November in Ha'aretz, several
national religious rabbis were cited who were angry about the
phenomenon. Rabbi Elyakim Levanon complained that the
situation could only lead to an increase in the power and
influence of gentiles in Eretz Yisroel. Levanon is the
rabbi of Elon Moreh, which has been "adopted" by a community
After the article appeared, settlers who support taking money
from Evengelical Christians asked the newspaper why no rabbi
was prepared to defend the connection with the Christians in
They complained, for example, that the rabbi of Nir Yeshiva
in Kiryat Arba, Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, goes on fundraising
visits to Christian churches several times a year.
Ha'aretz then spoke to Rabbi Waldman who does not deny
this, but he was not really keen to confirm it either.
"I don't want to go into it," he said. "To the extent that
there is a connection like this, it is with specific
individuals. We have a connection with Christian groups, who
come here to encourage us."
Beyond the moral support, is there also financial support?
"It isn't right to talk about contributors without asking
their permission to do so."
"Such a thing does exist," said Rabbi Waldman, but he insists
upon not revealing the names and place of residence of these
Protestants from Florida.
Ha'aretz asked Rabbi Waldman that if Rabbi Levanon
claims that there is a problem with the multiplication of the
rights of Christians in every area, should this not apply to
contributions that come directly to such hesder yeshivas?
Rabbi Waldman replied angrily "True, I'm a rabbi," he says,
"but I do not engage in halachic rulings. This you have to
ask people who do. I consult them. Altogether, it's a shame
that in our society we devote too much attention to
journalism and gossip, and I don't want to say worse
"The phenomenon in and of itself is connected to the process
of winning hearts, to the advancing of the words of the
prophets. It is true that there are those who are
missionaries, but there are also those who are not
Rabbi Waldman's fundraising is a breakthrough. All the other
elements who benefit from the Protestants' contributions
claim that fundraising from Christian churches for religious
institutions is going too far. Rabbi Waldman, they say, has
overstepped the line.
According to Ha'aretz, another association that is
pursuing evangelical Christian money is Shuva Yisrael (Return
Israel). In contrast to the CFIC, Shuva is an association of
Jews. It is an initiative of the Samaria regional council.
The association's first project is the construction of a
community center in the settlement of Einav. To date, the
association has succeeded in raising $4.5 million for it.
The difficult part, explains Mel Bornstein, the fundraising
consultant for the association and for the Foundation for the
Development of Samaria, is identifying the suitable
evangelicals. Only a minority of them support Israel, and
only a smaller minority of those who support Israel are
prepared to commit themselves not to engage in missionary
The Protestants have two approaches, the Ha'aretz
report noted. The prevailing approach holds that the
Christian religion must replace the Jewish religion; the
minor approach holds that the two religions can live side by
"In our method of working," said Bornstein, "we never even
encounter this problem. The idea is very simple."
"Instead of raising funds from an organization, or from a
single individual, our people visit all the evangelical
communities in the U.S., and raise funds from private
individuals. Everyone gives $10, or even $5. We are not
interested in money from one person, or from one organization
that could be influential."
This, in part, is the reason they do not solicit funds
through the CFIC.