Rabbi Yechezkel Gubner opened the rally, which was graced by the presence of the city’s Rabbanim and Admorim, with a moving cry: “Gevalt! We are standing opposite a building in which they convert Jews from their faith every day! From a small congregation of 10 people some two years ago, it has grown through limitless funding to some150 Jews — 150 pure souls, sons of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, some of whom were kippah-wearers, converted out of their religion!”
The Chief Rabbi of Ashdod, Harav Yosef Sheinin, who defied an order from the High Court and refused to grant a kashrus certificate to a missionary eatery in the city, compared the missionaries to Haman.
“They are from the seed of Haman who wanted to destroy and kill and wipe out Am Yisrael! They want to destroy us like back then, but through different means. They are seeking to destroy Jewish souls. Woe is to us that the plague of impurity has spread to our city of Ashdod.”
In his remarks, Rav Sheinin recalled that he himself had participated in 1948 in Yad L’Achim demonstrations held against missionaries in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Haifa.
“Dear brothers,” he called out. “We must pour out our hearts before Hakadosh Baruch Hu that He should cleanse the tumah from our city and from our land.”
The huge crowd strained to hear the message of Yad L’Achim chairman Rabbi Sholom Dov Lipshitz, which was transmitted live via satellite.
Rabbi Lipshitz revealed that the missionaries, in the literature they distribute among themselves, claim that 20,000 Jews have been converted to Christianity in recent years.
“Who doesn’t tremble to hear such figures,” he cried out. “We must not ignore them. We must not remain indifferent. We must call on the government to pass effective legislation against missionaries.
“Like our fathers in those days of Haman, who gave their lives to remain faithful to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, we must cry out and prevent this terrible shmad.”
The Admor of Melitz proclaimed, “This is the time to act with mesirus nefesh. Davka now that the tumah and the sitra achra rule over the world, he who fights them and becomes stronger in the ways of Hashem and increasing kedushah, will merit success in all his matters.”
The Pittsburgher Rebbe referred to the passuk forbidding Am Yisrael from making a pact with the residents of Eretz Canaan, saying, “Hakadosh Baruch Hu pleads with us: I gave you this holy land so that you will act in it like the sons of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov.”
As he clarified the obligation to stand up to the missionaries, he addressed them, saying, “Is there no limit to your chutzpah? How do you dare to come to the holy land and act to convert innocent Jews?”
The speeches were wrapped up by Harav Shmuel David Gross, the Rav of Kehillas Chassidei Gur in the city.
“How can we sit peacefully when in our city there are large centers of avodah zarah? We have here spiritual terrorists who are every day throwing hundreds of missiles on the city and trying to injure and kill, chalilah, as many Jews as possible. From here we issue the cry: Leave our city!”
At the conclusion of the evening Harav Guvner announced that Yad L’Achim would be maintaining a regular presence at the site every Monday, and that such moves have proven effective around the country in shutting down missionary centers.
The atzeres concluded with kabbalos ol malchus Shamayim, Shema Yisrael and Hashem Hu Ha’elokim, seven times with shofar-blowing.