Jan 4 2016
IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) welcomes ‘Hersheys for Heroes,’ an Evangelical Christian organization that passes out chocolates along with anti-Islam sentiment to soldiers on IDF bases on a regular basis
Most recently, Michael Ganoe, who runs the aforementioned group, spoke with a group of soldiers — teachers in the army’s Education and Youth Corps — who had gathered in a community center in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam for a day of lectures on December 16th.
Times of Israel Ganoe, who regularly hands out chocolate bars to soldiers at bus stations, shopping malls and even on IDF bases, was the last speaker of the day. His speech in Bat Yam did not deviate from his standard fare — heaps of praise for the IDF mixed with anti-Muslim sentiments — though it was perhaps more subtle than his Facebook posts (like below).
“He started talking about how much he loves the Jewish people, how Israel is great and how America loves Israel,” one soldier said. “But if you listened in between the lines, you could hear the problematic things that he was saying.” Ganoe, for instance, applauded the IDF’s “fight against Islam” since Islam, he claimed, was “the root of the world’s evil,” the participant said — not Islamic extremists or Islamic extremism, but the entire religion.
Some of the people present at the event tried to understand Ganoe’s comments as condemnations of “the bad Muslims,” not Islam as a whole, the soldier said, but a glance at the Hershey’s for Heroes Facebook page reveals Ganoe’s true intention.
“Mohammed was a blood-thirsty, child-raping, self-appointed false prophet. The Koran is a lie. There is no Allah,” he posted on the Hershey’s for Heroes Facebook page on the same day he addressed the Education Corps soldiers.
But this was not Ganoe’s first encounter with the army’s Education Corps. In August, he met with a group of army instructors — soldiers who educate other soldiers about Judaism and Zionism as part of the IDF’s Nativ program — on their base. He spoke for at least half an hour, telling them to be proud of their Jewish identities and lauding Israel.
Anti-Muslim statements like the one quoted above are interspersed on his Facebook page, between selfies and pictures of smiling soldiers who have just received chocolate.
“I get invited to bases all over the country and give the soldiers Hersheys for Heroes and speak to them from a non-Jewish, American perspective of how America and the world needs Israel, Israel does not need America and the world,” Ganoe told The Times of Israel about his organization.