Let Messianic Jews Make Aliyah To Israel
Jews are being threatened all over the world these days. Their businesses, restaurants and homes are being shot at and vandalized. Jewish neighborhoods, synagogues and meeting places are ready targets for the Jew-haters of the world who are ever growing in numbers, and when these violent acts occur, the perpetrators do not stop to find out that particular Jew’s thoughts, opinions or positions on religion. It’s enough to see that they look Jewish, are frequenting a Jewish establishment or are living in a Jewish area. They are literally marked people.
It is because of this present environment that more and more of them are seriously weighing Aliyah to Israel, knowing that this is not only the land of their forefathers but also the safest place on the planet to be a visible Jew and know that they have the greatest chances of protection and, therefore, survival.
Yet, there is a significant segment of the Jewish population who are being turned away when trying to immigrate to this safe haven. It is not because their parentage does not qualify them. Most have two or at least one Jewish parent, so under the Law of Return, they are eligible for citizenship no matter what political, religious or personal views they may hold. In fact, what they think and believe has nothing to do with their birth right which was not even necessarily their choice but rather predetermined.
After W.W. II, the Israeli leaders of the young State had come to the conclusion that the Law of Return was necessary in an uncertain world which hated the Jews to such an extreme of trying to annihilate the whole Jewish population of the world. Yet, some Jews today are being denied this very basic right to return to their land due to the particular conviction they hold that Jesus of Nazareth (known as Yeshua HaMashiach) was the Son of God and promised Savior. It is a belief which does not change their parentage and nor their desire to be faithful to their cultural identity. For them, Shabbat observation, service in the Israeli army, celebration of the biblical holidays and historical Jewish observance is an integral part of their identity and predisposition. They don’t want to be anything else but who they are, and the fact that they have been convinced that the Messianic prophecies throughout the Tanach refer to Yeshua does not change their lifestyle, habits or DNA. Many of them have non-Messianic family members in the highest places in Israel. Some of them are related to high-ranking IDF officers, to Knesset members and even to government officials. As Israeli citizens, they live and work amongst non-believing Jews and are their friends and neighbors.
Messianic Jews desperately need the same protections as any other Jews for we, too, are in danger of being targeted and killed. To deny them entrance to their homeland, is tantamount to reaching the shores of a safe haven in a ship filled with those who paid all they had in order to escape the Nazi concentration camps only to be turned away by those countries and sent back to suffer that eventual fate.
I, too, am a Messianic believer and have lived in Israel for more than 20 years. I am a homeowner, beloved and respected in my neighbourhood. I am a career person who has been gainfully employed in the field of education almost since my arrival to the land. In fact, I have been a member of a kibbutz and graciously accepted by those living there. I have contributed in many significant ways to the economy and social fabric of this society, and I am able to have done so simply because I immigrated at a time when Google nor Nefesh b’Nefesh existed. Today, I would also be locked out.
Jews who are seeking to make Aliyah today, are forced to fill out a form which asks the question, “Have you ever been a Messianic Jew or have you ever believed in Yeshua as Messiah?” As a Messianic Jew the choice is to either lie (something anathema to true bible believers) or risk being turned down immediately the minute you answer in the affirmative.
By today’s Ministry of Interior practices, Messianic Jews will either have to fork over large sums of cash to legally bring the battle to live in their homeland to court (which generally ends with their eventual citizenship after much hardship and loss of finances) or you have to be untruthful. It occurs to me, however, that there is a third option, and that option is to fight this horrendous injustice. It is unconscionable for Jewish born individuals to be turned away, at this point in history, by other Jews. It is unconscionable for your personal thoughts and views to be the determining factor by those who have an “emotional” and unjustified fear that we are undesirable to the Israeli population.
It is time for the doors to be opened and welcoming to all Jews regardless of their opinions and views, so long as they are willing to live as law-abiding citizens with respect and deference to others and to their government. It is time to put aside this particular phobia and accept the fact that Jews do not come in one size and shape. Among the Jews in the Land are those who are Buddhists, Scientologists, and even Jews who don’t believe in the existence of any God and reject or even abhor religion and Jewish observance. All are afforded the right to live here and the protection which comes with that right.
I stand with my fellow Messianic Jews who very much want to live here and be part of this amazing country, and I proclaim as my forefather once did, “Let My People Go” from their countries of exile and “Let My People Come” to Eretz Israel—the inheritance of the Sons of Israel!
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Persecutors of Jews Queue Up to Say Sorry!
Amidst rising anti-Semitism, there appears to be a somewhat surprising parallel move towards repentance by some European nations for the many shameful actions taken against Jews over the centuries. The latest comes from Spain which, having expelled some 300,000 Jews in 1492, now appears ready to invite their descendants back!
The Sephardic Ancestry Bill, which is expected to pass through the Spanish Senate this month, aims to correct an “historic mistake” by offering citizenship to as many as 3.5 million Sephardic Jews around the world whose ancestors were forced out by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
Neighbouring Portugal has in recent years passed a similar ‘Law of Return’ offering citizenship to the many Sephardic Jews they persecuted, including my own ancestors who were forced to flee to America in the 19th century. So I guess that entitles me to Portuguese citizenship!
These are welcome moves which contrast sharply with the growing hostility towards Jewish communities being demonstrated in Europe generally, not only in the desecration of synagogues and personal attacks, but in the calls for boycotts and condemnation in the political and economic sphere.
No doubt Spain has been influenced by their former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar who, in a Times article almost exactly five years ago, urged support for Israel on the basis that “if it goes down, we all go down.”
Aznar argued that the Jewish state is at the cutting edge of the battle between militant Islam and the West and concluded: “Israel is a fundamental part of the West which is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not our fate is inextricably intertwined.”
And in 2008 a Spanish newspaper is said to have published a hard-hitting article expressing similar sentiments – regretting the part Europe had played in an attempt to destroy a people who had pursued nothing but life and peace, while at the same time welcoming Muslims whose extremist ranks blew up trains and hijacked planes.
It does at least continue to demonstrate the potential power for good inherent in the printed word in a world where there is an ever-intensifying battle between truth and propaganda.
Meanwhile, a group of nearly 200 British Christians want to apologize and make amends for the way in which their government turned back Jewish refugees fleeing war-torn Europe 70 years ago, preventing tens of thousands from landing in their biblical homeland apparently because they exceeded a quota on immigration.
In doing so, Britain reneged on its own Balfour Declaration of 1917 promising to do all in its power to establish a home for the Jewish people. Shortly after making the promise, penned by Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour, Britain was awarded the mandate to rule the area following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
They were thus presented with an obvious opportunity of fulfilling their pledge. But from 1938 to 1948 the British prevented more than 90 ships from landing at Haifa, according to Julie Stahl and Chris Mitchell in an article for CBN News.
“I’m here to commemorate those Jews…who suffered or died as a result of the shameful policies of the British government of the day,” Col Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, is reported as saying.
Rosie Ross, who organized the day of repentance, said: “We turned them away and put them in camps in Cyprus and Mauritius, and some were even returned to deportation camps in Germany.”
Others were locked up in a detention camp in Atlit, south of Haifa.
Lord Simon Isaacs, speaking at the event, said the quota on immigration breached Britain’s contract with the Jewish people ratified at the treaties of San Remo (1920) and Versailles (1923). And he said there were two reasons behind their behaviour: appeasing the Arabs and a Labour government that was essentially anti-Jewish.
He hopes the British government admits its mistake in time for the 2017 centenary of the Balfour Declaration. Modern Israel was re-born in 1948 despite Britain’s obstructive tactics.
PHOTO: Scene depicting the expulsion of the Jews from Spain
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Messiah – The Dwelling Place of God
Ofer was born and raised in Israel, and leads a Messianic congregation in Jerusalem. Besides serving the congregation, Ofer travels and teaches internationally.
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What Would The Kingdom Look Like?
The most famous phrase of the most famous prayer in history is simply:
“Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
– Matthew 6:10
This is also our highest priority and the most basic definition of the kingdom of God. Do we really mean what we say when we pray this prayer?
- The kingdom has an origin: Heaven.
- The kingdom has a direction: Come.
- The kingdom has a destination: Earth.
- The kingdom has a partnership: God and Man.
- The kingdom has a harmony: Heaven and Earth.
There is only one variable factor in this equation: The Human Will. If we are praying for God’s will to be done, it is apparent that much of the time, His will is NOT being done.
Therefore, the prayer for God’s kingdom demands a specific action: Each one of us must change (repent). We submit our will to God’s will (which is always good and benevolent).
Yeshua gave us the perfect example in His own prayer at Gethsemane:
“Not my will but Your will be done”
– Matthew 26:39
This involves a rather unpleasant aspect: denying ourselves.
“He who desires to come after Me must deny himself…”
– Matthew 16:24
Our selfish desires are more inclined to “indulge” than “deny.”
Do we believe that Yeshua’s prayer for the coming of the kingdom of God will ever really take place; that God’s will would be done on planet earth? If so, what would it look like?
In the latter days the mountain of the house of YHVH will become the head of mountains… and all the nations will flow to it. Many peoples will say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of YHVH… He will teach us of His ways; and we will walk in His paths.” For the law will go out from Zion and the word of YHVH from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations and rebuke many peoples. They will beat their swords into shovels and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation; neither will they learn war any more.
– Isaiah 2:2-4
This is the foundational vision of the Israelite prophets for God’s kingdom on earth. The final words of Isaiah’s vision here are written on the wall of the United Nations (with the omission of the parts about God and Jerusalem!!). We believe in world peace; we have a plan for world peace. Isaiah’s vision is the first and foremost vision for world peace for all mankind.
Every kingdom has a king (Isaiah 9:6); every government has a capital (Isaiah 2:3; 62:1, 7). The king of God’s kingdom will be Yeshua; the capital city will be Jerusalem (Psalm 2:2-6). There will be an international society of peace and prosperity (Micah 4:1-4). Social justice will prevail (Isaiah 1:26; Amos 5:24). Total harmony will exist between God, man and nature (Isaiah 35:1-2). Even the animals will live in peace (Isaiah 11:6-7; 65:25).
Asher Intrater is the founder and apostolic leader of Revive Israel Ministries, and oversees Ahavat Yeshua Congregation in Jerusalem, and Tiferet Yeshua Congregation in Tel Aviv. Asher was one of the founders of Tikkun International with Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff, and serves on the board of the Messianic Alliance of Israel and Aglow International.
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Is Israel a Vistage of Colonialism?
by Dan Juster, Director, Tikkun Ministries International
> A terribly imbalanced anti-colonialism drives some of the most negative hatred of Israel. Why?
Since the Vietnam war, a multi-cultural, post-modern relativistic orientation has been embraced by the radical left. That is a mouthful! So I will explain. The radical left is multi-cultural in a particular way. It embraces all cultures as equal. This is reinforced by relativism: the concept that there are no absolute standards of right and wrong, good and evil, truth and beauty. Of course, embracing all cultures this way trivializes all cultures since none can truly be praised or criticized. It also leads to many contradictions: This multi-culturalism seeks to foster women’s equality and gay rights. Yet other cultures strongly reject such values, especially Islam. Where human rights clash against Islam, the tendency is to embrace multi-cultural equality.
Evaluation of Colonialism
The radical left is anti-colonial in the sense that it sees most of the world’s problems as stemming from the sins of Western colonialism that did not respect indigenous cultures. Many look at everything through this prism.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Britain was the greatest colonial power in the world. They boasted proudly of their colonial empire as bringing civilization and elevation to many regions of the world. In less than 50 years, that colonial pride died a very hard death. Now the West views its colonial period as a dark time of oppression and exploitation of the peoples ruled.
Western colonialism was sometimes very bad, oppressive and exploitative. But Western colonialism – especially of the British variety – did bring education and concepts of the equal worth of all human beings to the territories under their jurisdiction. Compared to other colonialisms, we could at least say that the British model was the least bad and maybe even did some good. Actually, it was the biblical values spread by the colonies, that eventually ended Western colonialism. Did Russian Communist colonialism produce such a self critique or did Turkish colonialism? No. [We should note that many view world Christianity as a bad thing in displacing indigenous religions – a terribly mistaken viewpoint!]
This anti-colonial hatred is unbalanced and does not recognize that all world powers have historically been colonial. In biblical history consider the Egyptians, Hittites, Syrians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans. They were all colonial powers who conquered other peoples and exploited them. The Mongols, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Russians also sought to do the same. All of these colonial empires were brutal – some more, some less.
The radical left totally fails to acknowledge that Islam itself has been one of the most devastating colonial destroyers of culture, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. This extends to destroying indigenous languages as part of destroying the conquered lands. Recent examples were the Taliban’s destruction of historic rock carvings and architecture in Afghanistan and the ISIS destruction of world heritage architecture in Iraq. Early on, Mohammed and his first followers adopted brutal and destructive conquering.
Only in recent decades have people sought a world order that is not colonial. And even today foreign relations of world powers can have quasi colonial overtones, dressed in the clothing of foreign aid and military advisors. Some also see multi-national business corporations as a type of colonialism.
The Response to Israel
So how does this influence the radical left in response to Israel? They see Israel as an unjust colonial imposition, a colony of the West, supplanting the indigenous Arab Palestinian population. All of the problems of the Middle East are seen as the fault of the Western Colonialists and especially the United States. Israel is seen as a root problem. Many think it would be better if Israel did not exist.
Support for Israel
The British support for a Jewish homeland in the early 1900s had multiple motivations. There were colonial motivations. There were spiritual motivations in some who sought to restore the Jewish people to a land they saw as largely desolate. The situation is much more complex than an anti-colonial deconstructionist interpretation. There was no indigenous rule in the Holy Land. Rather the region was under the control of yet another colonial power before Britain took over, namely the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
In all of this, after the Holocaust, it was the providence of God that brought Israel into existence. For a brief time the world was sympathetic enough to vote ‘Yes’ at the United Nations and endorse the formation of a Jewish state. Actually, some of the leaders of colonial powers thought the Jewish state was against their selfish interests. This was true of Truman’s State Department. The radical left has a simplistic self-hatred of Western civilization and Christianity, the very civilization and religion that gave birth to human rights. They look at Israel’s occupation of the West Bank as colonial rather than as a security necessity. It is so sad that many are blind and give aid, comfort and political credibility to militant Islam. This view is highly influential in many Western universities. It is behind the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) movements against Israel. Ultimately we have to see the whole trend as part of the great deception of the last days, rejecting God’s plan of redemption for the world that is connected to events in Israel and the salvation of the Jewish people.
May God give us wisdom to pray for such foolish and simplistic people, but against their influence.
> We believe that God will restore all truth and right practice that has been lost to the Body of Believers. Various ages of the Church have seen advances and declines. Some truths have been emphasized in one period, lost in the next, and then picked up again in later times.
Some advances in recent time parallel the restoration of Israel. The re-discovery of the baptism in the Spirit and speaking in tongues was parallel in time to the early Zionist return to the Land of Israel. The Latter Rain revival happened in parallel to the independence of the nation of Israel and its recognition. The charismatic renewal in the late sixties came at the same time as Israel coming into government over the original, Old City section of Jerusalem.
On the other hand, there are dimensions of truth that seem less established today than in past years. The enforcement of congregational discipline was greater one hundred years ago than in today’s Western world. Divorce is common today. This is a terrible loss. In addition, every age of the Church has seen advances and bright shining examples of truth.
Restoration or Fullness?
The word “restoration” as it is used in Acts 3 indicates more than simply restoring something that was present before.
“Repent…that He may send the Messiah appointed for you, Yeshua, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago” (Acts 3:20-21).
This refers to a restoration of the world to Paradise. All humanity entering Paradise is obviously above and beyond any restoration that has occurred in the past. The Scriptures lead us to believe that we are moving toward something greater than is usually meant by the word restoration. We are moving toward FULLNESS.
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Dr. Daniel Juster, founder and director of Tikkun International, has been involved in the Messianic Jewish movement since 1972 and currently resides in Jerusalem, Israel, from where he serves and supports the Messianic movement worldwide. Dan was the founding president and general secretary of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations for 9 years, the senior pastor of Beth Messiah congregation for 22 years, and a co-founder of the Messiah Bible Institute in several nations. Dr. Juster serves on the board of Towards Jerusalem Council II, provides oversight to 15 congregations in the USA as well as overseeing emissaries in Israel and the Former Soviet Union. Daniel has authored about 20 books on topics ranging from theology, Israel and the Jewish people, eschatology, discipleship, and leadership.