Our Washington D.C. Jews for Jesus branch attended the protests that were taking place at the Peace Summit in Annapolis. There were close to 200 demonstrators / protestors representing all groups and perspectives. In one section there were about 40 Jewish Modern Orthodox Zionists singing songs, making speeches, and dancing. In another section were approximately 30 Ultra Orthodox Anti-Zionist Neturei Karta who attracted attention by making quite a commotion with chants and yelling. There were some pro-Palestinians, Christian Zionists, and even some Israeli Teachers taking advantage of the occasion to reminding Prime Minister Olmert of future teacher strikes. There were 50 state troopers and police and over 20 media personnel.
Among the circus like atmosphere everybody was making noise yelling at opposing groups, necessitating separation by police. Jews for Jesus quietly held banners and watched the happenings. They were holding two signs: one that simply read “Jews for Jesus” and another that said “The Only Hope for Peace Was Born in the Middle East”.
Their signs were so visible that they were getting a lot of attention and in wanting to categorize Jews for Jesus and segment them in with a “non-hostile” section, the police asked “what side are you on?”. Our missionaries told them,
“We are not on any side, Jesus is for everyone!”
The police were not the only ones who approached Jews for Jesus. This was a crowd with very many Jewish people and many people came up to the Jews for Jesus missionaries and had extended conversations about Jesus. Stephen Katz, branch leader of Jews for Jesus in Washington D.C. recalls how amused he was that,
“people felt very free to talk about Jesus in such a hostile environment”.
The missionaries had many positive and productive conversations and were able to encourage a Jewish Believer who has recently come to faith in Jesus. He was so excited that Jews for Jesus was there that he just had to stop and thank them for their work and asked,
“where can I get one of those [Jews for Jesus] t-shirts”?
In light of the recent meeting in Annapolis, we wanted to offer an alternative to the political and economic perspectives on peace in the middle east.