By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
ARAD, ISRAEL (BosNewsLife)– Representatives of a Messianic Jewish community in the southern Israeli town of Arad said Monday, March 21, they face “increased persecution” by ultra-Orthodox Jews who accuse the believers of missionary activities and want them to leave Israel.
“Last week they were two times at my house with megaphones,” said a Christian involved in one of four Messianic congregations here. He spoke to BosNewsLife on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.
He said the religious war in this town of 25,000 residents also impacts other members of his Messianic congregation.
Among those targeted is widow Polly Sigulim, a Jewish mother of three Israeli soldiers. Last week, a crowd of some 200 Orthodox Jews gathered in front of her home shouting that she and other Messianic Jews should “leave Arad and Israel, a Jewish state.”
“We hope that after we will be here and demonstrate and really speak from the heart, we won’t need to return again for demonstrations because the Messianic Jews, as they call themselves, will be erased from Arad,” demonstrator Benny Vulcan was heard saying.
In 2008, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled however that Messianic Jews have the same rights regarding automatic citizenship as Jews who do not believe in Jesus as the Messiah.
The case was brought by 12 applicants who had been denied Israeli citizenship mainly because they were Jewish believers in Jesus. Most of them reportedly received letters saying they would not receive citizenship because they “commit missionary activity.”
Yet, despite the ruling, hard-line anti-missionary group Chasidei Gur accusses the roughly 30 Messianic Jewish families in Arad of “being missionaries wanting to baptize as many Jews as possible.”
Another ultra-Orthodox organization, Yad L’achim, has distributed footage in recent weeks of what it said were Messianic Jews being baptized.
Messianic Pastor Yakim Figueras made clear that his congregation does not want to force Jewish people to believe in Jesus, also known in Hebrew as Yeshua. However, he said “Everyone who believes in Yeshua truly, according to the New Covenant, believes that this is the answer for everyone.”
The demonstrations against the Messianic community are linked to concerns among Orthodox Jewish leaders about the growing number of Israelis in Arad region who view Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. Messianic Jews say Jesus came to the world to offer salvation and eternal life to everyone who believes in Him.
Mainstream Christian groups generally view Messianic Jews also as Christians and part of the ‘Body of Christ’, a Biblical term used to describe the worldwide Church of believers.
As noisy protests continue in front her home, Sigulim told reporters that she is not against Jewish traditions. “I do believe in the Torah, the prophets and also the New Covenant,” she added.
A neighbor expressed concerns about her situation. “In Europe they shouted ‘Jews out’, here they shout ‘Messianics out’.”
If they are missionaries, which they are. and try proselytize they will have trouble. If any Christian missionary goes to Israel, which is a Jewish country, they have to expect blow back.
When missionaries try to work in a Muslim country they risk being formally sentenced to death.
If you go where you know you’re not wanted, you shouldn’t be surprised to find yourself not wanted!
Shocking & sad to read this… & the shameful response from Oyb.
It smacks of intolerance & hatred (the threats to “erase from Arad”) .It reminds me of the beginning stirrings of Hitler’s Aryrans .I will remind all that non-Jewish countries did give asylum & tolerate the arrival of Jews into their various lands without demanding they give up their religion.
I am afraid your article did not report correctly the case of 12 Messianic Jewish persons who applied for immigration. These 12 had Jewish fathers and not Jewish mothers so they are not considered halachically Jewish. They were not granted immigration status as Jews but as the offspring of Jewish grandparents. Jewish believer’s in Yeshua who openly confess their faith and trust in Yeshua the Messiah are still not eligible for immigration status under the laws of return. It is still perfectly legal to deny us citizenship.
We did not want to suggest that the legal problems are over for those expressing openly their faith and Messianic Jews in general, but only specifically spoke about the case of the 12 people. Yet, the ruling was seen as a step forwards at that time. However you are right that in practice authorities make it indeed difficult for both foreign Christians and Messianic Jews to live in Israel. That is also something we have heard from several sources we know.
Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife
The number one problem regarding “Messianic” believers is that most of them keep evangelical views in their faith. The evangelical faith expresses that there is no need to keep Torah, that there is a hell for those who die without accepting Yeshua, and Heaven for those who die believing in Yeshua, both beliefs run against what the Torah actually teaches about resurrection of the death and judgment. Most of these so called “messianic” are people who still go to Christian churches and who still call Rav Shaul: “Saint Paul”. You can be a Jew and keep Torah and still believe that Yeshua is Messiah, but as a Messiah Yeshua kept Torah, Shabbat, Moedim, etc. Any other faith not rooted in Judaism, is a fake religion. Shalom!
The Evangelical faith does NOT say there is no need to keep the Torah. In fact, Christians believe the Old and New Testament are the Word of God. The arrival of Jesus, his death and resurrection have all been foretold by countless prophecies in the Torah. However with that he also fulfilled the Law of Moses, to give people freedom, including ofcourse the Jewish people. Messianic believers would not regard themselves as having a religion but having a personal relationship with Yeshua. Just one example of a prophecy already being fulfilled according to the Bible, written down by the way by many Jewish writers. Isaiah 7:14 – “All right then, the Lord Himself will choose the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel – ‘God is with us.’”
Isaiah 9:6-7 – “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on His shoulders. These will be His royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!”
About the Prophecy of Isaiah
The prophet Isaiah lived in Jerusalem in the eighth century B.C. The book of Isaiah is one of the four major prophetic books in the Old Testament, along with Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.
Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife
Stefan Bos, there’s a deep truth in the words of Roger Cerdas. All evangelicals I’ve known (except by my grandma) DO states that the Torah is not to be obeyed today, because “Jesus is the end of the Law”. That’s their argumentation to this situation. However, when we read the same verse in greek, we read “Yeshua (Jesus) is the goal to which the Torah points”. Even when I try to explain it, they still argue that I’m not getting the point or trying to make people live the legalism of the Law: they say shabat laws are not to be observed anymore because “Jesus obeyed for them”; the kashrut is today invalid because there’s that passage telling about several animals casher and non-casher in someone’s vision; one can’t believe in Yeshua AND be a pharisee because “Jesus was their opponent” (actually he opposed the hypocrite ones, not all of them: even the Talmud tells about seven kinds of pharisees at that time, and only one kind out of seven was the true shomer-misvot); and the list keeps going…
I agree with the words of Roger Cerdas in his last comment.
Dear Gavriel Bar-Netz,
I think we talk about two issues here. One is the Law of Moses; the other one the Torah. The evangelicals I know believe in both the Old and New Testament or the Torah. However the Bible (not me) makes it clear that Christ fulfilled the law, which nobody could keep. The Bible says in Romans 10: 14: ‘For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every
one that believeth.’
The risen Yeshua fulfilled the obligatory death sentence of the law and rose up from death so anyone who accepts him as Lord and Savior has freedom in Him.
And Yeshua first came for the Jews, and later for the gentiles, says Apostle Paul in Romans 1:16 for instance. ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.’
However you are ofcourse free to follow the law if you want.Paul says in Romans 14:5 ‘One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.’
Yet, the Bible also makes clear that this freedom means one should not judge others who do not keep the law and fully accept Yeshua’s grace. Colossians 2:16-17 says: ‘Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.’
And also consider Galatians 5:1 which warns:’Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.’
In the New International Version it says it even nicer: ‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.’
Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife