Monday, May 28, 2007

What's wrong with Exobus?

Exobus is a Christian charity which encourages Jewish people from eastern Europe (mainly the former Soviet republics) to emigrate to Israel. They provide the cash and advice necessary to make this happen. They raise money through infommercials on christian TV channels in the UK.

At face value this looks quite reasonable but there are three rather disquieting features of the way they operate:
  1. Most of these people are not practicing Jews. They are people who have Jewish ancestors who stopped practising their religon because of persecution or other pressures. Often on the Exobus infommercials you see special meetings where people are being reintroduced to their jewish roots. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing and if Exobus was a Jewish organisation I would be all in favour. However, Exobus is a Christian organisation and they are presenting a God without Jesus in a sort of Jewish evangelism. This itself is not well done because it is being done from outside mainstream Judaism.
  2. There is an element of economic migrancy here, with very poor people embracing their ancestors religion as a way of getting a visa for Israel, which they see as an affluent western country.
  3. When Exobus are asked to help orphans they help them until documents can be found which proves they are Jews. If it turns out they are not Jewish then they stop helping them. Is this not the opposite of what happened in Nazi Germany? How does this compare to the compassion of Jesus which was extended to all children: "let the children come to me, so not try to stop them".

    These things don't make sense as something a Christian organisation would be doing unless you understand the subtext: that the second coming will not happen until all of the Jews have returned to Israel, even if they didn't know they are Jews and even if that means ensuring they do not hear the gospel message. It goes against what Christians have believed since the beginning and it is causing people to be treated in an un-christlike way, especially children.

3 comments:

  1. Not True,,,I worked in Israel for 6 years from between 1993-1999 and knew Russian Jewish believers in Yeshua who were helped by Exobus. These people came to faith in Yeshua because of the love the Exobus team members showed them. People will know you are my disciples if you have love one for another.

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  2. Thanks for your comment.

    My main issue is that they stop helping people if they find out they are not Jews.

    This seems to go against the example of Jesus, who helped Samaritans as well as Jews.

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  3. I believe this is a problem, that single-issue organizations face quite regularly, especially if they are a non-profit organization. You're bound by law to use the donations and financial funds you get or have for the purpose of the organization as stated in the articles of incorporation, only! Exobus was founded to provide help to Jews returning to Israel and not for caring about orphans in general... I bet they had a difficult time sending away these orphans if it is true what you write, but it was not their mandate, although you state correctly that Christians ought to have compassion on them and I guess they had. Didn't Jesus say the same to the syro-phoenician woman, that he was sent to the people of Israel only? That he healed her daugther anyway was special mercy and her faith, but we don't read about many stories of him dealing with other pagans like that... (I'm a Christian believer from a pagan background)

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