Israel (MNN) — In 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of believers in Brazil, “If you are a Christian in the Middle East, there’s only one place where you are safe… the State of Israel.”
That claim does not hold true today, especially for Christians from a Jewish background known as Messianic Jews. “They’re not being killed like Muslim-background believers are in Muslim countries, but they are being pressured,” Uncharted Ministries’ Tom Doyle says.
“Jewish[-background] believers were showing us videos of ultra-Orthodox [Jews] breaking up meetings, blowing whistles in their faces, screaming at them.”
Only two percent of Israel’s eight million people identify as Christian, and Messianic Jews comprise an even smaller community.
Israeli law protects religious minorities, but “it is that spirit from the first century that Jesus and the apostles faced – you cannot be Jewish and believe in Jesus,” Doyle says.
“You can be an atheist Jew or a secular Jew. But if you are a Jew that embraces Jesus as Messiah, you’re no longer a Jew.”
Ask the Lord to strengthen and encourage believers from Jewish backgrounds in Israel. Attacks targeting Christians have increased since the new right-wing government came to power earlier this year. Victims say police do little to catch or punish the attackers.
“In some political circles or educational circles, when it’s found out they (believers) are a Messianic Jew, they become a ‘persona non grata’ and lose everything,” Doyle says.
“We (Christians) know Jesus as Yeshua. If you talk to a Jewish Orthodox and say, ‘Have you heard of Yeshua?’ they probably will say no. They hear the term ‘Yeshu,’ which is an acrostic for, ‘may his name be blotted out forever.’”
Uncharted Ministries raises awareness of the Gospel needs among today’s Jewish communities in Israel and beyond. Learn more here and find your place in the story!
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Jonny Gios/Unsplash.