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August 8th, 2018

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What Status for Messianic Jews in Israel?

What is the place of Messianic Jews in Israeli society? When a Jewish believer in Yeshua applies to become an Israel citizen under the “Law of Return,” is he or she received as any other Jewish person returning to our biblical homeland? When seeking to buy or rent property as a Messianic ministry, is there discrimination? When a modern day Israeli disciple of Messiah applies for employment, will that believer have equal opportunity to be hired?

While the answers to these questions can be nuanced and varied depending on the situation, the bottom line is that we do not enjoy equal rights with other Jewish returnees to the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

  • Citizenship? Currently, the Department of the Interior will not even grant citizenship to an applicant who is known to be a Messianic Jew.
  • Property rights? We have been turned down on several occasions when attempting to rent property for our congregational meetings.
  • Employment? Employers, particularly those whose business depends on Orthodox customers, may reject an employment application for the reason of faith in Yeshua alone.

Disrupting the Status-Quo

To know why these conditions of intolerance exist—especially ironic in a nation whose history is filled with vicious victimization— requires only a basic knowledge of Jewish history for the last 2000 years. Justifiably, most Jewish associations with Jesus and Christianity are anything but positive—excruciating would be more like it. We can protest that “Jesus is Jewish. The New Covenant is based on the Hebrew Scriptures and its context is first century Israel.” But those facts are yet largely unknown. Change, however is beginning to happen. And accelerating that change is the goal of this article.

This situation presents us, as Messianic Jews, along with all of our friends throughout the world, with a profound responsibility. With no exaggeration, we have been handed an opportunity to stand against this colossal misjudgment—that (A) One cannot believe in Jesus and remain a faithful Jew, and (B) Israeli society has no “place at the table” for its Messianic Jews.

Historic Examples of Success

Two examples from other ethnic groups encountering societal prejudice inspire me. If other people groups have overcome bigotry, especially through the courageous acts of highly motivated leaders, can we follow a similar path?

In his book, Profiles in Audacity, Alan Axelrod chronicles the history-changing initiatives of W.E.B. DuBois and Mahandas Gandhi. DuBois refused to accept a second-class status for African Americans. Gandhi stood against the demeaning colonial rule of the Indian people by the British Empire. Both men dedicated long decades of their lives to rallying the hearts of their respective peoples. At the same time, they used every available means (short of violent revolution) to address the injustices suffered at the hands of the dominant race. Gandhi’s bold, non-violent opposition to British oppression ultimately gained independence for India. DuBois, the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University (in 1895), wrote and spoke tirelessly on behalf of full rights for all African Americans. We are witnesses that his efforts changed history.

Time for Action

Why do I believe that now is the time to challenge the second-class status of Yeshua’s Israeli followers?

  1. Many Israelis are tired of our society’s values and agenda being set by the ultra-religious.
  2. The faithful service of several thousand young Messianic Jews, serving in the Israeli Defense Force, has created an excellent reputation for our nation-wide movement.
  3. Our devoted friends in the nations are steadily gaining more influence in Israel. Our government is listening to the input of the Evangelical Church, acknowledging a dramatic reversal. Instead of anti-Semitism, these Christians are now standing resolutely with Israel. If the issue of full rights for Israeli Messianic Jews is addressed by Christian leaders, the government of Israel will hear it.

Let’s take inspiration and courage from past leaders like Gandhi and DuBois. The status of Messianic Jews in Israel can be changed. It must change. It’s up to us.

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By | 2018-10-11T07:52:10+00:00 August 8th, 2018|Tags: , , |9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. john-michael August 10, 2018 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    It is a mistake to cite Debois or Ghandi as examples that messianic jews (or any Christian for that matter) should follow. If you are called to live somewhere (whether Israel or elsewhere) and experience persecution, as Christians you only have two Biblical options, 1) Flee or 2) Endure. Anything else is in opposition to Matthew 5. If a Messianic Jew has to deny Yeshua to move to Israel or keep it a secret then they should reconsider whether they were actually “called” or evaluate if they are walking under an Ezekiel 14:4 presumption… Anyone who moves to or is living in Israel, chose exactly the worst place to move if they didnt go ready to die for Yeshua or at the very least are not ready to embrace persecution.

    It would be interesting though if this ‘lite’ persecution was not a discipline from the Lord. Perhaps if we all started encouraging gentile Christians who move to Israel to join your ministry with greater fervor (out of submission to the song of Moses) things would change.

    As long as we western Christians run from persecution there will be no allignment, no unity in Christ and no demonstration of Christ love for each other. We are too fixated on our individual callings and the local church businesses. If the Spirit of the Lord is not initiating our opposition to the anti-messianic bias then He will shut down every church or person that confronts it publicly. If you want to seek godly counsel you should speak with David Pawson, Brother Yun and Henry Gruver. Look at Corrie ten Boom as an example! The Lord bless you all I hope you will reconsider.

    I have never been to Israel so I dont know what the actual condition of the Church is, but if the Holy Spirit is aware of partiality occuring within the church then this ‘gentle’ form of persecution would be a logical discipline.

  2. Immanuel Ferrer August 10, 2018 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    Awesome! So be it. I would so willingly offer my allegiance to fight and die for Israel and it’s beautiful people… my people… my kinfolk.

  3. Clarence Carey August 11, 2018 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    It’s only a matter of time when messianic Jewish believers in YESHUA will be considered a security risk in Israel. The reason they, along with gentile Christians, are still in the land, is because of MONEY? If the messianic Jews in YESHUA don’t take over the Knesset in Israel, G-D will visit her again in vengeance for her continued rejection of His son and persecution of His HOLY ONES! Shalom

  4. Geraldine Winfrey August 14, 2018 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    This is an excellent article.
    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Katherine August 14, 2018 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    What a difficult road for you to travel. My heart goes out to the Messianic community. I encourage you all to just do the Word and let the Holy Spirit do His work through your actions, not necessarily your word. Words fall on deaf years but they can see. I am aware of the horrendous warfare. I support you tremendously.

  6. judith August 16, 2018 at 7:15 am - Reply

    well done article. I have for many years prayed for orthodox jews to see the Truth about their Messiah. They are genuine in their hearts. I see now a change coming but not by might or power but by My Spirit says the Lord. These are exciting days as many secret believers are prominent Rabbis. They are in the right place to help people when the time comes. Keep your hearts and minds on your Salvation. You encourage me as you seek His Face and His annointing as He leads you. much love to you all

  7. L. Bro August 29, 2018 at 12:45 am - Reply

    What about Messianic Christians?

    • Tikvah Duesterbeck September 2, 2018 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      Messianic Jew, Messianic Christian, Messianic Muslim… The term Messianic is one who follows the principals and teachings of Messiah, and whether a Jew, Gentile, American, Chinese, just as Shaul/Paul said, I am a Roman Citizen, I am a Jew, I am a Pharisee… One can be an American, a Russian, a Chinese, etc., and still be Messianic, same with the term Christian or Jew.

  8. Valerie A Watkins October 9, 2018 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    Well Eitan next time you apply for anything get the Lord to show you what questions to ask them, and when a problem comes up, you say I am so sorry we will pray for you……………RESULT Some men got out of prison praying for their guards and sick family members, I mean the Lord healed them and then opened the gates, just like that, Most important if you want a place you are sure the Lord has called you to be, you can march round it claim it under the blood of Yeshua and then go and ask for it, if they refuse you, they will find no one else will manage to procure it, trust me I have seen Yeshua do it FAITHFUL GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE, YESHUA was never fond of bureaucrats, repentant ones maybe…………..Valerie

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