Chutzpah: Missionary Ads in Times of Israel
Someone needs to do something about this! It is bad enough having missionaries roaming around Israel, knocking on doors, seeking to convert Jews to Christianity. I was shocked to see two organizations advertise openly on the Times of Israel website.
The first article I opened this morning with my coffee was one posted on a friend’s Facebook timeline. Called “Beyneynu addresses serious spike in Jewish conversions to Christianity“, it was published as a Times of Israel blog. Published two days ago, it has been shared to date 257 times. I wonder how many of the blog readers noticed the ad that TOI allowed alongside the blog. I also wonder how many others actually got the same ad I got.
About half-way through the blog post, a single ad appeared alongside what I was reading (when on my laptop):
And that ad followed me all the way down the post and into the next one:
If you click on the ad, this is what you get:
As if that was not enough, just above the title of the blog, there is a small box for another ad and here, the wording kept changing but always promoting a website targeting Jews:
If that is not enticing enough, maybe this will inspire reader to click on to the website:
And this is the website you get when you click there:
I checked other blogs and each blog showed a different type of ad — we know that ads are targeted to the supposed audience. Therefore, someone reading about Jesus, even if it against missionary activism, might get, as I did, ads promoting belief in Jesus. A post discussing women as political party leaders brought up an ad for Recanati International School alongside the blog and a real estate ad in the square above the title. A blog about the new conversion law brought up an ad for wildly colourful socks alongside and “Friends of Yad Sarah” in the square above the title.
What this means is that TOI has to fine-tune the algorithm that selects the targeted ads in order to make sure that they are not inadvertently advertising something that goes against the very purpose of the blog post accompanying it, in this case, two different websites seeking to convert Jews to Christianity.
Blogger Shannon Nuszen wrote:
Five years ago, there were fifteen thousand Jews in Israel who converted to Christianity. Today, missionaries boast that the number has doubled to thirty thousand. Experts in the counter missionary field are reporting the same alarming rate of Jews who are joining the church.
The fact is missionaries have been successful in evangelizing the most vulnerable Israeli populations. Many know so little about the faith they are being asked to abandon.
The fact is, missionaires are successful in openly seeking to bring Jews to Jesus via transparent and very visible ad campaigns in our very own media.
Did Nuszen check out her blog post after it went live online and see ads for the very antithesis of her mission? If she got the same ads I did, I wonder, did she bring this to the attention of TOI? Did any readers?
UPDATE: I reported this to TOI and they responded by thanking me for bringing this to their attention and telling me the screenshots were sent to the business office who will do whatever they do to make sure nobody else gets ads like these popping up.
All images in this article are screenshots that I took.