Tuesday, January 6, 2009

persecution of Messianic Jews in Israel

From the AP's Laurie Copans in the IBT (hat tip: C-J which published a shorter version of the full article)...

Safety pins and screws are still lodged in 15-year-old Ami Ortiz's body three months after he opened a booby-trapped gift basket sent to his family. The explosion severed two toes, damaged his hearing and harmed a promising basketball career.

Police say they are still searching for the assailants. But to the Ortiz family the motive of the attackers is clear: The Ortizes are Jews who believe that Jesus was the Messiah.

Israel's tiny community of Messianic Jews, a mixed group of 10,000 people who include the California-based Jews for Jesus, complains of threats, harassment and police indifference.

The March 20 bombing was the worst incident so far. In October, a mysterious fire damaged a Jerusalem church used by Messianic Jews, and last month ultra-Orthodox Jews torched a stack of Christian holy books distributed by missionaries....

Then, two ironies:

Proselytizing is strongly discouraged in Israel, a state that was established for a people that suffered centuries of persecution for not accepting Jesus and has little tolerance for missionary work.

At the same time, Israel has warm relations with U.S. evangelical groups, which strongly support its cause, but these generally refrain from proselytizing inside Israel....


At January 6, 2009 at 9:53 PM , Blogger William Lang said...

You might find the website www.jewsforjudaism.org interesting. They explain why (by their lights) Christian proselytism of Jews is inherently hostile and often deceptive.

At January 6, 2009 at 10:05 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

I've heard the same charge within Hinduism.

Outside of deception, it's odd to consider proselytism hostile.

The charge of deception is interesting (but largely a non-starter) in that a true believer will almost certainly find some level of deception in the views held by others.

This also reminds me of a common feature of political economy-- the use of force and deception to restrict competition, in order to make oneself better off.

At January 6, 2009 at 10:52 PM , Blogger William Lang said...

Jews consider proselytism to be hostile because inherent in Christian proselytism is the belief that Judaism is wrong, false or obsolete. (Evangelicals often teach that you must be Christian to be saved; "Messianic Judaism" is an oxymoron because anyone who believes in the basic Christian doctrines about the divinity of Jesus is Christian not Jewish—Jews regard worship of any human as God to be wrong.) Jews have had to endure twenty centuries of Christians telling them that their religion is false and that they are wicked, because they refuse to accept Jesus as their Messiah.

The charges of deception are quite specific and rather interesting: Jews claim Christians (including New Testament authors) misquote the Jewish scriptures to prove Jesus was the Messiah. If you follow the link and read their resources, you'll find examples explained in great detail. This may challenge your own faith; it challenged mine. I still regard myself as a Christian, but I do not believe in any doctrine that holds that Jews require being "saved" or require conversion to Christianity ("Messianic" or otherwise).

At January 7, 2009 at 9:32 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Jews believe Christians are wrong too, so it's six of one and a half dozen of the other!

I can see where all of this would apply to sheltering children. (E.g., don't have Christianity taught in their govt schools.) But I don't see how it extends to adults-- unless one is paternalistic (if they're correct, what is there to fear?) or engaged in "protectionism" (if they're wrong, what do they gain?).

It wouldn't surprise me to find some OT prophecies taken too far with respect to Christ. (That certainly happens with respect to eschatology.) But I'd be shocked to find unanimity within Jewish circles about the same questions of hermeneutics and application.

As for salvation, in a nutshell, I believe John 14:6-- in whatever ways that might be fulfilled.

At January 7, 2009 at 12:41 PM , Blogger William Lang said...

I prefer 1 Timothy 4:10, which says God will be the Savior of all men.

At January 7, 2009 at 1:30 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

If you're going to cite the middle third of a verse, why not at least add the last third? ;-)

If you're endorsing "universalism", I should note it is an exceedingly difficult doctrine to support with a broader view of Scripture.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home