Messianic Leader: Christians Should Confront "Spiritual Darkness"
By Wolfgang Polzer

LEINFELDEN (ANS) -- Esoteric, occult and Far Eastern religious influences are spreading throughout Israel, according to a Messianic Jewish leader. Rev Samuel Aweida, Haifa, Chairman of the Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, addressed this problem at the annual meeting of the German "Evangeliumsdienst fuer Israel" (Gospel for Israel) in Leinfelden near Stuttgart, June 5.

In his opinion people should not only marvel at Israel as the country where Jesus lived but also consider the growing "spiritual darkness". Haifa, for example, had become a center for Satanists. The police are said to be concerned about plans of child sacrifices.

On Jewish religious festivals a number of young Israelis celebrate New Age Festivals with Buddhist and Hindu ceremonies, according to Aweida. After their military service tens of thousands travel to South East Asia in search of spiritual fulfillment. Schools invite fortunetellers, who show pupils how to use a pendulum and tarot cards.

There are no protests from Jewish leaders, says Aweida. He is the head of a congregation where Jewish members believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Aweida claims that the Israeli public seems to accept representatives of occult movements more readily than Jewish believers in Jesus. Reportedly there is no chance for Messianic Jews to present their faith in schools.

According to Israeli experts there are more than 100 Messianic congregations with over 6,000 members in the Holy Land. Aiming at a better comprehension of Judaism, the Caspari Center makes study documents available to volunteers and full-time employees.

Wolfgang Polzer (55), is senior news editor of the Evangelical News Agency idea, Wetzlar (Germany), which he joined in 1981. His previous work included four years in the editorial department of the Salvation Army in Germany. In all, he has spent 27 years in Christian media.