Another few lines:
The dedication of the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden represented the fulfillment of a long-standing dream for many members of the Church. But another dream remained. That was the construction of a visitors’ center in Israel, probably to be combined with facilities for the growing number of students who came year after year to participate in BYU’s study programs in Jerusalem. Although it was fully realized that proselyting, as such, was not a viable option under current Israeli conditions, many still thought that, as long as there were no actual missionaries going from door to door, and as long as the Mormons were not actually seeking people out, some more low-key method of making the gospel known within Israel might nonetheless be acceptable.
However, it soon became clear that any plan to teach the gospel to the Jews, however inoffensive it might seem to the aggressively missionary-minded Latter-day Saints, would have to be given up.
The proposed building was approved by the government in early 1984. A small ground-breaking ceremony was held on 21 August of that year, and construction was soon underway. Also underway since late May, however, was a campaign to stop the building of the center. A Jewish anti-missionary organization known as Yad L’Achim protested the construction of the center as soon as it found out about it, citing the Latter-day Saints’ indisputable missionary zeal as a threat to Judaism. Several steps were taken by the Church to counter public fears. The special representative couples who were serving at the time in various areas of Israel were reassigned to other fields of labor. Newspaper advertisements offering LDS literature to anybody interested were cancelled. English and Hebrew-language pamphlets about the Church were destroyed. Sales of the Hebrew edition of the Book of Mormon were stopped, and no reprinting was authorized. It was, for the present, the end of any hope of teaching the gospel to Israeli Jews.
Posted from Richmond, Virginia