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Rabbi Eckstein: Anyone Who Does Not Want Money Shouldn’t Take It

ywnisrael.israelRabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has been under attack of late as rabbonim are calling on summer camps and programs not to accept money from his organization. These calls are heard from rabbonim affiliated with the dati leumi torani community since children from these communities may attend Ministry of Education summer programs and some of these programs will be funded in part by Eckstein’s organization.

Eckstein released a statement accusing the rabbis who oppose his work of being “one sided and racist”. Speaking to Galei Yisrael Radio, Rabbi Eckstein added “We do not have a lot of friends in the world. There are millions of Christians who love the Jews who are not interested in missionary activity and they wish to give us money”.

“Whoever does not want money should not accept it” he said in an attack against rabbis opposing his efforts. “Catholics are giving up on things so that the elderly in Israel will have food and medicines. We say כבדהו וחדשהו. Where is the kovod?”

Rabbi Eckstein in a harsher tone adds “The group of the dati leumi [rabbonim opposed to our work] does not represent me. We give money to Bnei Akiva and Ezra, and they continue to ask for funding from us. No one came with a psak Halacha deciding that it is prohibited to accept money from non-Jews.”

Eckstein added that his organization does not approach Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron to ask to introduce a Christian agenda. He asked what the rabbonim are thinking, calling their statements simply ‘rechilus’ and racism. He stressed that his organization tries supporting the lower income and weaker citizens and they have collected millions annually for the past 35 years. “Bring me one example in the history of our organization in which we tried to connect between our members and the recipients” he added.

Eckstein concluded “we build 2,600 shelters in the north. The rabbonim do not sit in the shelters during wartime. They should not go to Shaare Zedek or Hadassah Ein Kerem for they might benefit from our money”.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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