New information about Lapid’s brother-in-law and sister-in-law raise questions about his possible connections to Christian missionaries.
Alternative Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid came under fire this week for appointing his wife’s sister, Keren Eileil, to a prominent position on the Board of Directors of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF).
The backlash against the appointment led Eileil to resign from the position, along with stepping back from her roles in Lapid’s Yesh Atid political party.
The public was outraged by Eilel’s appointment being made on what appeared to be a purely nepotistic basis. Lapid framed the criticism as “wild attacks” from his right wing foes, including former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But new information about Eileil and her husband also raises questions about the choice to appoint her to the influential post.
Orthodox Jewish news outlet HaKol HaYehudi reported Wednesday that Eileil is married to a Canadian Christian who self-identifies as a “Messianic Jew.”
The husband has no Jewish heritage, but refers to himself as a “Jew” who believes in Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
This confusing terminology is common among Christian missionaries in Israel, who appropriate Jewish religious rituals and in order to blur the line between Christianity and Judaism.
The anti-missionary group Yad L’Achim told HaKol HaYehudi that it has investigated Eileil and her husband in the past.
The husband was reportedly an important “prayer leader” in a Messianic Jewish group which was defined as a “cult” by Israeli Supreme Court Justice Menachem Alon.
When HaKol HaYehudi reached out to Eileil and Yesh Atid for comment, they were redirected to a Facebook post calling the issue “a personal matter.”
In 2015, Lapid voted against the renewal of an anti-missionary law that outlawed proselytizing to minors.