Major Persecution against Jewish Believers of Yeshua in the Holy Land

Major Persecution against Jewish Believers of Yeshua in the Holy Land 

 

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them."  (Romans 12:14)

 

Yeshua (Jesus) although born a Jew in Israel, His name is not welcome in Jewish communities anywhere in the world, let alone here in Israel, and His Jewish followers are persecuted to this very day.

 

In Luke 6:22, the Messiah even said to His Jewish disciples, “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man.”

 

Messianic Jewish Believers in Yeshua who live in Jerusalem experienced this first hand when a group of Orthodox Jewish men entered the building where a Messianic congregation holds services.  Dancing and clapping, they shouted:

 

“Your missionaries, we will follow you everywhere you go until you are thrown out of this country!  We crucified Yeshua.  Yeshua is Dead.”

 

Today in Israel Yeshua (Jesus) ישוע is a name to be cursed.

 

Jews in Israel refer to him as YESHU ישו (without the final “a”).  Most believe that this is His name; they don’t realize that it is a derogatory acronym meaning Yemach Shemo Vezichro, which translates into English as May his name and memory be obliterated.

 

Currently, out of the 6.5 million Jews in Israel, there are around 15,000 who follow Yeshua, which are often described as Messianic Jews.

 

That means that 99.8% of the Jewish people in Israel do not believe Yeshua is the Messiah.

 

For the few who are “Messianic Jews,” being a follower of Yeshua (Jesus) in the holy land of Israel comes with blessings as well as persecutions.

 

Some Messianic ministries have received recognition and awards by the Israeli government for their contribution to the nation’s poor and underprivileged, and for honorably serving in the Israel Defense Forces.

 

But, not all Messianic Believers are accepted or even tolerated in their schools, workplaces, the army, various social settings, or the neighborhoods where they live.

 

They are sometimes targets of violent attacks, socially, verbally, and even physically.

 

Over the years, a number of Messianic congregations and Bible bookstores have been set on fire!


Discrimination of Ethiopian Jews Who Believe in Yeshua

 

Fourteen thousand (14,000) Ethiopian Jews made Aliyah (immigration) to Israel through Operation Solomon in 1991.  Three of them were sisters who have believed in Yeshua as Messiah for many years.  They were targeted by the Israeli Ministry of Interior with threats of deportation.  Why? 

 

Because there is a law in Israel that states, if you are a Jew who believes in Jesus, you are not considered Jewish and, therefore, do not have the right to receive Israeli citizenship.

 

Behind the government actions are activists in the Orthodox Jewish communities who urge the government to look into the files of immigrants and revoke citizenships from Believers.  They also incite Ethiopian Jews who converted to Orthodox Judaism to harass the Ethiopian Jews who believe in Yeshua (Jesus) with threats of losing homes and jobs.

 

“There is still persecution in the land, but we will continue to spread the Gospel,” said Senior Pastor Kokeb Gedamu of Amud HaEsh, an Ethiopian Jewish congregation in Jerusalem.

 

Violent Protests at Meeting Center in Israel's Negev Desert City of Dimona

 

What moves a Jew to hurt another Jew simply because they believe in Yeshua (Jesus)?

 

It seems that some Jews can become quite brutal, even to their neighbors, and it often begins with incitement of some kind.

 

In Dimona, a town in southern Israel of about 34,000 people, Albert and Esther Knoester opened a Messianic meeting center called the Open House in the local shopping mall.

 

The fears of the local Jewish People erupted into demonstrations outside the center and at the homes of the Knoesters as well as other Messianic Believers.

 

The activist anti-Messianic Jewish group called Yad L’Achim (Hand for Bothers) propagated fear within the community that the meeting center was actually a “Mission Post” dedicated to converting Jews to Christianity.

 

Verbal threats, smashed windows, and other damage resulted.

 

Albert decided to close the center for the rest of the year, opening it a few mornings and afternoons each week in January, 2018, only to reignite similar violence.

 

This time, Albert and Esther allowed a group of religious leaders into their home to begin a dialogue.

 

Albert told Kehila News that one leader looked around and said, “Where is the cross?!  Where is the cross?!  And where is Jesus on the wall?!”

 

He could not understand why the 12 tribes of Israel and the gates of Jerusalem were on the wall instead or why a big Menorah was in this “Christian” home.

 

After “cooling down” for a bit, the visitors wanted to see the Tanach (Old Testament), thinking it was somehow different from the Tanakh they use themselves.

 

“Our Tanach was searched and they reluctantly had to admit that it was a real Tanach.” Albert said.

 

However, they had already made up their minds that the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) was a dangerous piece of literature, since, they believed, it was written by Christians.

 

Esther said, “Dear gentlemen, Matthew, Mark, John, and Peter were not Christians but Jews!”

 

“Give us a New Testament,” demanded one of them.

 

“That in itself was remarkable,” said Albert, “for quite a number of Jewish people are afraid to be struck by lightning when they touch the New Testament.

 

“The New Testament was handed from one of them to another, and the last Rabbi apparently was so fascinated that during more than 15 minutes he deepened himself in reading the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew.”

 

The persecutions continued.

 

After that visit, gossip and untruths began to circulate about the Knoesters in the local media and on the streets, accusing them of bribing and/or forcing people to become Christians, even putting powder in someone’s coffee to convert them to Jesus and Christianity.

 

Pictures went up in the city center with severe warnings against them, in addition to “big posters on billboards with nasty texts.”  Parents have been warned to keep their children away from these Believers in Messiah Yeshua.

 

The attacks didn’t end there.

 

Demonstrations started again outside their house along with smashing of windows and throwing of stones..

 

The day after the religious leaders (rabbis) met at the Knoester’s home, one of them wrote in the local paper:

 

“We went to that house in order to silence them by force, but that woman would not stop talking!  She should know about that other verse of Psalm 23: about the valley of the shadow of death.  Let her go through it, together with her husband.”