Although proselytizing can be against the law in Israel, a brand-new evangelical channel dedicated to taking “the gospel of Jesus into the homes and lives and hearts of the Jewish people” had its official launch last week on cable television. Shelanu (Hebrew for “Ours”) TV is the new Hebrew-language channel of GOD TV, an international Christian media network that broadcasts in some 200 countries around the world.
GOD TV signed a seven-year contract with HOT, the Israeli cable television provider, to host the channel. HOT received a license to air the new channel from the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council, the regulatory body that operates under the auspices of the Israeli Communications Ministry.
But when contacted by Haaretz on Monday, the chairman of the council, Asher Biton, said he had not been aware that the new channel planned to engage in missionary activities, which are prohibited under the terms of its license. He said he had ordered an investigation into the matter, and if it emerged that the terms of the license had been violated or that there was an intention to violate them, he would close down the new channel.
The Times of Israel reports:
More than 700,000 Israeli households subscribe to HOT, nearly 50 percent of the Israeli market for cable, satellite and online services. The Christian channels Daystar and Middle East Television both broadcast on Israel’s YES satellite television and do not tout any proselytizing.
Shelanu is being operated in partnership with the Israel-based Tikkun International, which describes itself as “a global family of ministries, congregations and leaders, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church.”
“We want Jewish viewers to grasp the fact that Jesus is theirs. That He is not a foreigner, intruder or imposter,” Tikkun said in an announcement of the new channel on its website. “He is their Jewish Messiah, born in Israel, raised as a Jew.”
Proselytizing to children under 18 years of age without the permission of parents is illegal in Israel.