Import jQuery

Messianics and Aliyah

Had an interesting, short conversation on Twitter last week with an Israeli IDF soldier, Joshua [last name omitted for privacy]:

IsraeliSoldierIsraeliSoldier: Messianic "Jews" petition High Court to immigrate to Israel under Law of Return
JudahGabriel JudahGabriel: @IsraeliSoldier Yep, and I'm one such Messianic Jew. We're some of the most ardent Zionists and Israel-supporters you'll find.
IsraeliSoldier IsraeliSoldier: @JudahGabriel Dont get me wrong, I love your commitment to Israel - but you shouldn't be able to make aliyah. But I appreciate your support
JudahGabriel JudahGabriel: @IsraeliSoldier I hope in time G-d will change your view on us. Shabbat shalom.
IsraeliSoldier IsraeliSoldier: @JudahGabriel Belief in Jesus as Messiah = Christian = not Jewish. I love Christians! But let us Jews have our own country, thanks!
JudahGabriel JudahGabriel: @IsraeliSoldier Joshua, that is where we disagree. It's alright; I believe in perfect faith that G-d will sort this out when He wills it.

Joshua was being kind, the treatment I’ve got from others has been much worse. This past week, for example, in another conversation with a Jewish Israeli, I was mocked for my belief, being told I was ignorant of Judaism and deeply misled in my idolatrous belief in the “dead-Jew-on-a-cross”, with numerous folks sending me links to the Jews-for-Judaism anti-Christian website where I would find everything I needed to abandon my faith in Yeshua.

So back to this aliyah thing, why is it important, what was Joshua talking about? Aliyah is a Hebrew term for a Jew immigrating to Israel to live there permanently. It is something the state of Israel explicitly allows for through its “Right of Return” laws. Israel wants to encourage Jews to immigrate to it; Israel desires to be a nation of Jews.

And thus, atheist Jews, Orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Reform Jews, pro-homosexual agenda Jews, political Jewish leftists, rightists, occultist Jews, secular Jews, anti-Semitic Jews (yes, there is such a thing!), Russian Jews, and even Jews that believe the late Rebbe Schneerson is the Messiah! All kinds of Jews are allowed and encouraged to return to Israel…except Messianic Jews.

In the short conversation with Joshua, I wanted to express our plight; we’re lovers and supporters of Israel, we’re Zionists, we stand up for many of the Judaic values religious Jews hold dear. We love the Torah and study it regularly. Yet we’re treated as if we’re no longer Jews, as if we’ve somehow severed our blood connection with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

I wanted to elaborate to Joshua how we’re being unfairly treated and singled out for our belief in Jesus as Messiah. I wanted to highlight how Messianics are being persecuted: whether through stolen property and burning of homes, or the harrassment and physical beatings of Messianics at the hands of the Haredi, or the attempted murder of Messianic teens, or even the expulsion and citizenship-revocation by the Ministry of Interior!

Messianics in Israel have been treated with hate and contempt and cruelty, especially by the ultra religious Jews in Israel. Israeli police have sat on their hands; still no prosecution of the Jewish extremists who attempted – unsuccessfully, thank God – to murder Ami Ortiz, despite the police having caught the perpetrators on camera. And the government has turned a blind eye; no one wants to be associated with these ugly Messianic Israelis. And the press, well, they treat us as untouchables; “missionizers”, they call us, sympathizing with the Haredi attacks since we’re supposedly baptizing Jews into Christianity and Mother Church (we’re not), thereby justifying the Haredi vigilante violence.

All this I wanted to say to Joshua. Of course, such is difficult to express in Twitter’s limit of 140 characters. Certainly, Joshua and Judah weren’t going to resolve 2000 years worth of disagreement via a few twitter posts.

More importantly, I prayed before speaking to Joshua and felt the Father telling me very clearly to not go on the offensive and treat him kindly and mildly.

A Brighter Future?

There is hope on the horizon. Messianic Jewish pioneer Joel Chernoff cites a recent Jerusalem Post article on Messianics, when an aliyah expert was asked the question:

“We are Messianic Jews and would like to make Aliyah. How difficult would this be?”

His answer was delightful. Not because he gave Messianics the thumbs up – he didn’t –  but simply that it did not contain the hateful spite we’re so accustomed to! He replied,

From the inquiries that I have received, I have come to the conclusion that there seems to be two different interpretations of the meaning of “Messianic Jews”. One seems to be people born Jewish who have embraced Jesus as the Messiah and follow the New and Old Testament. The other appears to be people not of Jewish birth who support the Jewish religion and who believe in both testaments. If the questioner is the former then it would appear that he/she is entitled to make Aliyah in accordance with the Law of Return. If the latter is the case then the questioner does not qualify for Aliyah.

No hateful “missionizer” language. No jabs at Christianity. No spiteful comments about how terrible these Jews and their “dead-Jew-on-a-stake-messiah” are. Wow. What a breath of fresh air! Perhaps this man’s statement is indicative of a larger change in minds and attitude toward those Israelis that love Messiah?

But this is only a single statement by an immigration expert. What we need is action in the physical – Messiah-loving people in Israel are discriminated against both when making aliyah and when living in Israel, despite our ardent support of Israel, despite our love of Judaic values and the Torah, despite our desire to live peaceably in Israel. We hope and pray this changes.

More importantly, we need God to change the hearts and minds. I have perfect faith and trust that God will sort this out in His perfect timing.


  1. Judah...

    I noticed that aliyah's expert answer the day it was posted on JPost. My first impression - from Israeli legal point of view the expert has answered incorrectly and has given wrong advice - Messianic Jews born from Jewish mothers (even those who live a Jewish lifestyle) are considered converts to Christianity and therefore, according to the existing legal precedent, are not eligible for aliyah. Those who are not born to Jewish mothers are considered non-Jews (according to the Israeli and Jewish Law) but are eligible by virtue of having a Jewish father or a grandparent (great-grandparents do not count).

    His non-judgmental attitude was refreshing, but I would bet that he must be quite secular.

    However, he does bring up a good point - indeed, there are Messianic Jews (e.g. those with Jewish parents - especially those born to Jewish mothers, per Orthodox Chalacha), and there are Messianic wanna-be "Jews" (Gentiles with who think they are Jews just because they are "observant", or have imaginary or unprovable Jewish ancestry).

  2. Yeah. I told Joel Chernoff I was optimistic, but also realized that if this isn't backed up with action, then it means little.

    We'll see how things play out. I am praying and trusting our God that what he has planned will come about.

  3. I envision the following possible scenarios under which Jewish believers in Messiah would finally be allowed to make aliyah:

    1. Israel as a country will so villainized and marginalized by the nations of the world that it will start accepting ANY Jew who wants immigrate.

    2. Jews (of all stripes) around the world would be persecuted to ever greater degrees, forcing the Israeli government to revert to the original version of the Law of Return that welcomed any Jew (or Jewish descendant) and annul the later anti-Messianic amendments.

    3. Israeli Jews will become more secular and will suppress the Orthodox voices in the government. Plurality will be encouraged and Messianics will be welcomed as an oppressed minority.

    4. Messiah returns, and ALL Jews are gathered into Israel no matter who they are or where they live.

  4. Judah:

    Great article. Glad to have your voice standing for some truly important issues. The return of Messiah-following Jews to Israel is the creme de la creme of coming events. May it be in our days.


  5. The only thing I can say is, don't be upset and let Holy Spirit reveal the way.

    We can DO NOTHING of ourselves, it is ONLY thru Him that anything is revealed.

    Realistically, How can WE (man) reveal anything about God. It is only thru Holy Spirit that He is revealed.

    We are just the vessels that He chooses to use.

    Sorry for the next line but it is important.


    In love,


  6. Shalom Judah,

    Many Christians who would accuse me of "wanting to be a Jew" are shocked to find that I am treated worse by Orthodox than they are. It helps me understand the situation between Yeshua and the Samaritans though.

    I noticed that all the prior posts seem to embrace the "Jew" part more than the "Messianic" part however. Remember that it is one Torah for both the stranger and the native born who is circumcised on the inside.

    When Yeshua first came to the Samaritans they accepted him, but when he came back they rejected him because he was going to keep the Feast day in Jerusalem, not with them. I accept him as my Messiah. I accept the Torah as YHVH's walk and do not wish to change it to fit my beliefs like the Samaritans did.

    And I also expect to one day have to move to Israel to stand next to my Jewish brothers to fight for the land of Israel.



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