Police looking for controversial East London pastor in intimidation case

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Israel's followers at Spirit Life Mega Church in East London have been left in the lurch following the 28-year-old's disappearance.
Israel's followers at Spirit Life Mega Church in East London have been left in the lurch following the 28-year-old's disappearance.
Duncan Alfreds, News24
  • Police have confirmed they are looking for Spirit Life Mega Church pastor Jay Israel, 28, on intimidation charges.
  • He is accused of making death threats to his former public relations officer and labour lawyer Tabisa Ralawe.
  • The police have said he has fled East London, and his former followers believe he may be hiding out in Durban.

Eastern Cape police are looking for self-confessed fake prophet pastor Jay Israel in connection with an intimidation charge.

Israel, a Zimbabwean national, has apparently fled his home in East London and is nowhere to be found.

Israel's former spokesperson and labour lawyer Tabisa Ralawe, 44, opened the intimidation case.

Ralawe told News24 she had a fallout with Israel after exposing his fake prophecies.

In a statement submitted to the police, Ralawe said she came into the service of Israel in 2017 when he approached her and asked her to counter a social media attack the church found itself under over a controversial event it planned to host.

"He asked me to neutralise the Facebook backlash and when he was happy about how I steered the church out of the social media storm, he offered me a public relations job to rebrand his image but never paid me," she said.

"When I quit the church over the non-payment, I had no obligation to defend the church so one time he was attacked on social media and I also commented and that angered him. I received death threats and I would find the tyres of my car slashed or hammered with nails in East London. My son's photos were splashed over social media on fake accounts I believe were opened by him," Ralawe said.

READ HERE | Pastor’s car scam worth half a million rand

Israel's followers at Spirit Life Mega Church in East London have been left in the lurch following the 28-year-old's disappearance. Some of his followers believe he may be hiding out in Durban.

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci said: "The efforts to trace and track the whereabouts of the suspect have not yielded any positive results thus far as it was discovered that the suspect is no longer residing at East London and his current address is unknown. The investigation continues and the docket will be taken to the Senior Prosecutor for a decision once the investigation has been concluded."

READ | Pastor stalks, threatens woman after she refuses to fall in love with him

Soci added: "SAPS can confirm that a case of intimidation is being investigated by King William's Town SAPS detectives."

A former member of Israel's church, who asked not to be named, said she quit the church shortly after her boyfriend died in 2018.

"I never believed in his prophecies, I found it dodgy, but I enjoyed his sermons. He displayed a good insight of the Bible and knew how to communicate God's Word. I heard rumors that he is in Durban. It's my partner who introduced me to the church."

Israel burst onto the scene in 2016 following the launch of his church at the garage of his former personal assistant in East London.

He soon got tongues wagging for making bold claims of healing people with miracle powers.

READ HERE | KZN pastor and his wife arrested for allegedly mistreating 10-year-old girl in their care

Whether it was about claims of healing HIV, making blind people see again or making wheelchair-bound people walk again, Israel became the talk of the town.

Although some people questioned the authenticity of his claims amid mounting allegations that he was hiring actors to perform the miracles, Israel always maintained he had miracle powers.

It came as a shock to many when he posted a video on YouTube recently confessing that it was all an act, much to the disappointment of his followers. He confirmed that he had paid actors.

Israel could not be reached on his cellphone nor on his email address for comment.

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