Shelanu TV: Controversy Over Jewish Evangelism in Israel

This post first appeared on Kineti and is authored by Judah Gabriel Himango, one of Tabernacle of David’s teachers.

God TV announcing the creation of Shelanu

Kehilat News from Israel reports the launch of Shelanu: a new Hebrew TV channel in Israel run by believers in Yeshua. 

Quick to follow up, some Christian Zionist organizations criticized the move, with one Evangelical leader urging Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to shut down the station, saying, “Any attempts to convert Jews or downgrade their religion will only sow undue hatred at a time when we should unite in the face of darkness.”

And, unsurprisingly, the anti-missionary Tovia Singer slams the station, framing Shelanu as sneaking into homes to convert your children. Dr. Michael Brown reviews and responds to Singer below:

It seems to me this is a matter of uncertainty in the pro-Torah wing of the Messianic movement. Unlike Jews for Jesus or Chosen People Ministries, which certainly have no qualms about Jews becoming Christians, Messianic Judaism is more focused on bringing Yeshua into Judaism, rather than Jews into Christianity. 
For example, Messianic Judaism Rabbi Itzhak Shapira argued against Shelanu as well, saying

Shalom Friends, this is a sensitive post, but I have to make our position clear. Recently we all seen the news of the new Messianic Israeli station S’helanu that is trying to launch in Israel as a Messianic station in Hebrew. People asked me to give my feedback in public. I refrained in putting anything in writing. However now many asked me to comment and when I see so many negative comments I had to speak up…. When I saw the original video from God TV talking about bringing Jews to “Jesus-Christ” I was equally sad and horrified as this impact our work in Israel in a middle of things that you can’t imagine that are happening that are truly incredible. How arrogant, proud it is of us to release a video like the one that was made to announce the channel. This is not the way to go about it friends…. For the record, I do believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, I have suffered more for this name than almost anybody due to the “Return of the Kosher Pig”, and I continue to speak to my people about the real Jewish Messiah. I am not ashamed of that, and I will not hide it, but friends THIS IS NOT THE WAY. Ahavat Ammi as an organization exist for this reconciliation, but if I bring Jews to Christianity I have done nothing. Let us pray for the real unity in the body of Messiah where we develop culture of honor towards each other.

I understand his point — this will draw some lines in the sand and stir division between some religious Jews and Christian Zionists — but on the other hand, aren’t we called to be emissaries of Messiah? If Yeshua is really the Messiah, shouldn’t we make the case, even if it’s more Christian and less Torah-observant than we may like?