Many Messianic Jewish young people serve with distinction in the Israel Defense Force. One such soldier was recently awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence. A Messianic Jew won a televised national singing competition. Another won the annual national Bible quiz. Messianic Jews serve in the government, law, high tech and medicine, to name a few. The government’s response: tighten the screws on Messianic Jewish immigration. Now, whether applying for immigration to Israel from outside or inside the country, questions are asked whether the applicant is a Messianic Jew or attends a Messianic Jewish congregation. If they answer yes, they are blocked from immigrating. For every other Jew applying for immigration, one only has to prove Jewish heritage to successfully immigrate. It is shocking discrimination.
So, what does the church world do? Nothing. Do you think Jesus or Paul would approve cozying up to a government that blatantly persecuted their followers? It reminds me of lines from the Eagles’ famous song, “Hotel California,” where people unwittingly are welcomed into the high life without regard to the consequences, “Welcome to Hotel California, such a lovely place, such a lovely face.”
But something can be done if the believers of the world would draw their heads out of the sand. Here’s some suggestions:
- Every Christian leader who meets with the Prime Minister or a Knesset Member should ask when will discrimination against Messianic Jewish immigration cease.
- Christian donations to Israel should be made contingent upon requiring the presence of Messianic Jews from Israel in donation ceremonies. You may think this is overly strident. However, when I was president of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, this is exactly the arrangement we made with a Knesset Caucus group who requested we raise money for a worthy project in Israel. I demanded and the Knesset Member relented to allow me to publicly say at a ceremony in Israel that the money was raised by Messianic Jews in the United States.
- Christian tours to Israel should demand as part of their tours to meet with Messianic Jews and view their various humanitarian projects.
- Christian leaders should cease their accolades of the Prime Minister until he acquiesces to Messianic Jewish immigration to Israel.
- Christian leaders involved in political lobbying on behalf of Israel should include demands that the Israeli government cease discrimination against Messianic Jews.
- The approximate 15,000 Messianic Jews in the land should vote for political parties that support religious plurality, rather than parties who will likely join with ultra-orthodox parties to form a government that will automatically target Messianic Jews.
Partner, Cohen, Decker, Pex, Brosh Law Offices
Petach Tikvah and Jerusalem, Israel
Former Messianic Rabbi of Tikvat Israel Congregation, Richmond, Virginia
Former president of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations