In a dramatic escalation of violence, three Orthodox Jewish young men were ambushed by other Orthodox Jews last week and severely beaten — and one even stabbed — after they left a Messianic home for disenfranchised youth.
Adullam, the ministry house in Jerusalem, has come under intense attack in the last few weeks, but until this point no one had been physically injured. The violence escalated late last week, however, when some young people leaving the home were assaulted with a broken wine bottle, one beaten unconscious and one stabbed. Two of the three were rushed by ambulance to the hospital.
Yariv Goldman, who runs the ministry, and his team visited the victims in the hospital and said they were in good spirits despite what happened to them.
While the police are investigating and searching for the assailants, Goldman said he is less concerned with the actual attackers who are “young people themselves that come from broken families and are disenfranchised.”
“The people that really concern us are the adults behind the attacks who are operating these young people, inciting them to violence and to hate and helping them plan the attacks,” Goldman told KNI.
Located in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood, the home in Jerusalem is a place where disenfranchised youth, primarily from the religious community, can get their needs met in a non-threatening environment. They have a wide range of needs from having been kicked out of their homes to being on psychiatric medication, among many other challenges.
Though not overtly evangelistic, the home has been targeted by anti-missionary groups run by Orthodox Jews who are out to stop assimilation and the spread of the Gospel. In recent weeks young Orthodox youth have thrown bricks at the home, broken windows and doors and have stolen equipment. Once they breached the doors and stormed the home, breaking in while people were there including young children.
Hallel Goldman, Yariv’s daughter, has been harassed and threatened for her work there. She said that the purpose of the home is to love the people that come simply because God loves them.
“We feel bad that because all of this hate directed at us that they don’t let us continue loving people who desperately need it,” she said. “We are just helping them, giving them a warm home to be in and not in the streets, not knowing how to help themselves.”
The team has taken increasing measures to improve security including installing surveillance equipment. But Goldman said justice must be done.
“As we seek to show love to everyone and extend grace, we need to protect the young people and everything God has entrusted into our hands,” Goldman said. “We are seeking justice and hoping the police will locate and prosecute those responsible.”
“We will stand strong against any violence and physical attacks while at the same time trying to show them love and reach out to them,” he said.
Goldman issued a statement saying that the home will remain open despite remaining under constant threat.
“We have resolved to keep our house and our hearts open to all young people in need who come to us for help, regardless of ethnic, racial or religious background. We believe that all at-risk young people in Israel deserve to be helped and we are not going to be intimidated or turn anyone away because of the attacks and the threats on our lives. However, we are sad to realize that this storm of persecution is far from being over.”