This is the official website of the Original Gospel Movement, or Makuya of Christ, featuring "Light of Life", lectures by Ikuro Teshima, and testimonies of spiritual conversion.

The Three Treasures

Ms. Shulamith Katznelson
Ulpan Akiva

The thirty-day memorial services (Shloshim) in honour of Prof. Teshima Ikuro were held in Jerusalem under the auspices of the Interfaith Committee in Israel and at Kibbutz Heftsi-Bah. The following speech by Ms. Shulamith Katznelson was addressed on this occasion.


I presume that many attending this Memorial Service had personal ties with Prof. Teshima that were longer and closer than mine, so it won't be easy for me to speak in front of the people who are closely acquainted with his teachings and life work; for example, Mr. Armando Segev, who just spoke and told us that he named his little boy, Ikuro, after the Professor, as well as Mrs. Friedl Steiner, who knows Prof. Teshima perhaps more than all of us. I do hope here is time to hear from her.

Since I knew that I would come here, I telephoned Prof. Hugo Bergman, a personal friend of mine, and a unique personal friend of Prof. Teshima, as I felt he should be the one to talk about Prof. Teshima. When I spoke to Prof. Bergman's wife, she told me of the severe blow that Prof. Teshima's death was to her husband. Even though he was overloaded with work, he sat down and wrote a very personal letter in his own handwriting. It was written the way his friendship with Prof. Teshima was, a highly personal one rather than ideological. She sent her husband's and her consolation to our gathering.

Perhaps now it's not out of place for me to say a few words about Prof. Teshima. Not that I knew him that well, but being newly acquainted with him and his Movement, I was deeply impressed and moved by his life and doctrines, and especially his attitude towards Israel and her destiny. In this light I feel we must re-examine our conventional and secular attitudes. I am not saying everyone should walk on burning coals, but we've got a lot to learn.

My meeting with Prof. Teshima was a rather unique experience. Before leaving for Japan on a Foreign Office mission, I visited my late uncle, former President Zalman Shazar at his home to receive his blessing and guidance. He told me that when I'm in Japan I must go and visit Prof. Teshima. His secretary said: "Why should she go? It's only a relatively small group of no political significance." President Shazar answered: "Numbers do not count. True significance does not lie in quantity." "But," the secretary insisted, "they are such a peculiar group!" President Shazar concluded: "Shulamith will know how to appreciate and esteem their peculiarity. She must go and meet them."

How glad I am that I followed his advice. When I came to Japan, I met 4,000 Makuya people, all at once, in a beautiful mountain area called Hakuba. Prof. Teshima, as their man of vision and the spiritual leader of the Makuya Movement, gathers his children to their yearly meeting from all corners of Japan. The young and the old, children and infants, the sick and the healthy, all gather once a year in the bosom of Mother Nature, close to God, where they worship the Creator. This was one of the most unforgettable personal experiences in my life. And I hope to have a chance to share this experience with others in Israel.

When we discuss people like the Makuya and Prof. Teshima, we must search for our own soul and re-examine its spiritual content. Though we are a peculiar, strange people, we take offense when the world misunderstands us. On the other hand, we are rather suspicious and reserved when we face other people who appear strange or peculiar to our way of thinking. We are somehow trapped in our own self-created ghetto. But when the 'strangeness' comes in the form of a genuine friend, a friend who offers us unconditional love, we are astonished, and wondering, why?

When I came to Japan, some Israelis said to me: "Why do we merit all this love?" And when they shake our hand and offer us their love, we are perplexed and embarrassed, because we feel that perhaps we do not deserve all this.

In Katznelson's house, Netania, 1972

In Katznelson's house, Netania, 1972

But by shaking our hand they remind each one of us: It isn't just your hand; it is the hand of the offspring of the House of David, and it is the hand of the ancestors of the Davids of tomorrow. But all this makes us wonder, for we are so much trapped in the Present. We wonder again and again when we are reminded that we in Israel represent the generation that, after 2,000 years of longing in the Diaspora, we have returned to the Promised Land of the Bible, facing the Age of the Messiah.

We are not just The State of Israel, but we are also a link between an ancient past and a glorious promised future. We are embarrassed by too much introspection and soul searching, concerning our role and destiny; yet it is unavoidable when considering the Makuya and Prof. Teshima, for he was a true friend who loved Israel and her people on religious grounds and motivations, based on the covenant between the Almighty, the Children of Israel and the Promised Land.

The enthusiastic demonstration for Israel staged by thousands of members of the Makuya after the Yom Kippur War shows not only their devotion to us, but their wholehearted attachment to everything that Israel means – her people, her land, her hopes, and her dreams, all based on the Bible. We therefore cannot use the Bible as a mere show window to the outside world, yet keep it shut when we return home. And this is one thing we should learn from our loving friends across the continent: we should reopen our Bibles. Isn't it strange that we should be reminded of this from the Makuya? Isn't it ironic? But it is a fact!

I would like to mention in passing an interesting story that I heard in Kibbutz Heftsi-Bah. One of the Professor's disciples wrote to him: "Why did you send us to Heftsi-Bah, an atheist kibbutz? I thought that you wanted to bring us closer to God! Besides we deal in commerce and academic studies, so why should we engage in agricultural work?" The Professor recalled him to Japan.

When I arrived in Japan, several Israeli friends of mine living in Japan, prepared me for the meeting with the 4,000 Makuya members at Hakuba. They talked of the Makuya with respect, warmth and love, but had certain reservations. "Why walk on burning coals?" they asked. "The three Hebrew children had indeed walked through fire, but what has that to do with us?" But people who are prepared to walk through fire, and through water, which is beyond our understanding, are also prepared to gather from the farthest corners of Japan, at their own expense, in answer to Prof. Teshima's call to hold a demonstration for Israel's cause. When we tried to stage a demonstration in Israel, the response was far less enthusiastic. Their devotion can only be explained by their mystic biblical attachment to our source, our origin in the distant past. It is perhaps high time we begin searching for this within ourselves.


And here is one more thing which we should consider: we, the average Israeli, cannot face up with mystic happenings even within the reality of the Israel of today. Had we done so, maybe many things would have been different in Israel.

We responded to the Makuya for one reason only: their insistence on stretching a hand to us, rather than arguing or trying to convince us one way or the other.

But let us be honest with ourselves, if the same loving friends of the Makuya would decide to settle in Israel, how would we react to the situation? We are living in an age that calls for serious re-examination of our soul; we have to re-examine many of our own convictions and conventions. And sometimes friends from distant places are the best reminders.

And now to conclude, it is possible to talk about the effect of Prof. Abraham Ikuro Teshima on and on without end. He is so full of life, how can we speak of him in the past? There is a famous story of the Jew who went off on a long journey to Prague only to discover that the real treasure was right in his own home. Similarly, I had to go all the way to Japan to rediscover things that are right here at home. The main treasures that I brought back were a renewed love of the Bible, a refreshed awareness and love of the Promised land and of the Children of Israel, within their biblical dimension. These three treasures—if we are reminded by the Makuya—will be the appropriate way to maintain his memory.

I want to terminate by reading a letter that Prof. Teshima wrote to Secretary General Waldheim, for it is also important for us to be aware of the translation of the biblical faith of Prof. Teshima into the reality of political life of today with all its implications to the problems of Israel and the Middle East. The biblical devotion of Prof. Teshima to Israel wasn't satisfied with mere sentiment, but motivated to political conclusions and action, one of which is his letter to Secretary General Waldheim;

October 8, 1973
(Heshvan 12, 5734)

Dear Mr. Waldheim,

We wish to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for your devoted efforts to the cause of international peace as Secretary General of the United Nations.

In spite of the efforts made by the United Nations, the tensions between Israel and the Arab states have been aggravated to the unprecedented crisis. An absolute solution must be found NOW.

As the Japanese Makuya New Zionists, we believe that the dispute can only be terminated in the light of the Holy History (Heilsgeschichte). Jerusalem and the Land of Palestine must not be viewed merely as a politico-social existence, but as the very arena in which the Divine Providence has continued to operate from the biblical times. God spoke through the prophet Zechariah that there will be peace and welfare on earth, if all the nations humbly learn to dedicate Jerusalem as their sanctuary (Zech. 8:20-23, 14:16-19). Without Israel's security and full restoration of Jerusalem, there can never be eternal peace in the Middle East and the world. From the biblical viewpoint, Israel's victory in the last Six-Day War in June 1967 is nothing but the beginning of God's fulfillment of His promise.

In this connection, we hereby petition in writing for your giving favorable consideration to the following in the debate at the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council:
(1) The entire area now being administered by Israel be decided as permanent boundary.
(2) The international community with Israeli participation assume the responsibility for restoration of the welfare for the Arab refugees.
(3) The Suez Canal be placed under joint management of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Israel with the supervision of the United Nations.

We sincerely appreciate your continued efforts toward the supreme objective of achieving international peace. We pray and ask God with all our hearts for His special blessings upon yourself and the United Nations.

Very respectfully yours,
(Sgd.) Ikuro Teshima
General Secretary,
the Japanese Makuya New-Zionist Movement

Enjoying the devoted friendship of Prof. Teshima and his standing as a loyal ally, we cannot avoid bearing in mind that what was the source, the only source of his fellowship and convictions, and what his concrete interpretations of the Bible, and his concrete demand from the nations of the world and from Israel which summarizes itself in the following:

This land is the Holy Land, the one and the only Holy Land, and the one no one has the right to give any pieces of it.

It is up to us to keep the same visionary attitude, for ourselves as well as for others, such as our good friends in Makuya, and Prof. Teshima. May we remember his soul and his teachings.


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