The wife of Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, together with well-known evangelical preachers, is actively promoting a massive Christian educational campus to be built on the shores of the Kinneret.
The complex, designed to include a hotel, congress center and educational campus, is to be built on 60 dunams at a cost of $76 million. The planning has been completed and the project is awaiting final building permits.
Mrs. Ayalon has enlisted the support of Rev. Dr. Robert Stearns – an evangelical who is actively promoting a messianic Christian revival in Israel and is supporting missionaries in Israel – and of the evangelical pastor John Hagee. In addition, she has the inexplicable support of a number of Rabbis in Israel.
Mrs. Ayalon, a Christian who claims to have undergone conversion to Judaism, last year proudly told a Christian missionary channel that her being a Christian didn’t prevent her husband from marrying her. She also spoke enthusiastically about the fact that 80 percent of the sermons of “that man” were delivered on the grounds of the Galilee.
If that weren’t enough, at an official reception, Mrs. Ayalon spoke movingly of her admiration for “that man” and her faith in him.
The Kinneret complex that she is planning includes a prayer room she says is designed like “a synagogue from the first century, exactly like those in which J. prayed.”
In promotional materials aimed at raising money for the site, Mrs. Ayalon shares her dream of turning the complex “into something that will be similar to a visit to the Western Wall for Jews or Mecca for the Muslims.”
Yad L’Achim’s chairman, Rabbi Sholom Dov Lifschitz, who has been following these developments and met a number of years ago to discuss the matter with then-Tourism Minister Avraham Hirschson, said this week: “This massive project is likely to be used for missionary activity that would be unprecedented in its scope.”
Rabbi Lifschitz also expressed concern at the dubious connection between Mrs. Ayalon and a number of Rabbis who have lent their names in support of the project. He said that he had approached the Rabbis and asked them to disassociate themselves from it.
At the same time, Rabbi Lifschitz instructed Yad L’Achim’s legal department to examine the legality of the wife of the deputy foreign minister using her standing to advance a private project. He also brought the matter to the attention of the state comptroller and to the civil service commissioner and asked the Chief Rabbis and chareidi MKs to intervene.
“Barring an immediate awakening, at all levels, to block this initiative, together with a push from the religious Knesset members to amend the missionary law, there will arise on the shores of the Kinneret a huge complex whose results are likely to bring disaster,” he warned.