Article by Tibi Singer , Published On: Tue, Dec 2nd, 2014
A website calling itself Israel Today offers a highly supportive report on what amounts to an aggressive messianic endeavor, complete with angry attacks on the rabbinic tradition, lies about the content and purpose of Talmudic passages, and open invitations for Jews to convert to Christianity—all of it in fluent, eloquent Hebrew, delivered by two clean cut, bona fide Israeli salesmen.
Israel Today—not the English version of Shelsdon Adelson’s Israel Hayom, which can be damned misleading—is a “Jerusalem-based news agency providing a biblical and objective perspective on local news.” By biblical they mean evangelical, and by objective they mean not at all.
It’s easy to be fooled into thinking that Israel Today is synonymous with Israel Hayom—they mean the same thing, and they use a red and white scheme that may not be identical, but, boy, it’s close. Which is not a crime, but then again, what is?
So, according to Israel Today, that aggressive messianic endeavor I’ve been telling you about started as short video responses to anti-missionary activists in Israel, and “has blossomed into a new online initiative featuring no fewer than 52 short clips answering the most pressing rabbinical objections to Yeshua (Jesus).”
I’m going to let the “Yeshua” thing slide, because there’s so much else to deal with here, but suffice it so say that traditional Jews in Israel don’t call that man by that nice name, rather they refer to him as Yeshu, which is an acronym for a curse.
So you get it, this is a hot topic, and a lot of emotions are raised over it in this tiny, troubled country.
Israel Today, which has written extensively about innovative approaches to evangelism in the Jewish state, reports that in Israel—one of the most “online” societies in the world—every month 18,000 locals search Google for the term “redemption,” and better than 22,000 seek “Yeshua.”
I have no idea how many Israelis were looking for Obama, or Maccabi Tel Aviv within the same timeframe, I expect quite a few, but the point is clear. Israelis are spiritual seekers.
The video website, in Hebrew (messiah.co.il), offers “100 confrontations” with Rabbinic objections to Christianity, in a manner and language that could only come from Israelis.
A top video on the messianic website is titled “The Oral Torah — the Big Lie.”
Its content is a familiar accumulation of arguments against rabbinic law which began as far back as the pre-destruction split between the Sadducees and the Pharisees, continued with the Karaaites of the 7th century, was picked up by Spinoza in the 17th century and reached its full blossom with the Reform movement in Germany in the 1820s.
The effect, however, coming from extremely manipulative speakers, and directed at an Israeli audience with limited knowledge of their own traditions, can be horrendous.
This comes coupled with the garden variety missionary quotes from the Jewish prophets, misinterpreting text, forcing new meanings on texts, basically, performing unspeakable acts on sacred texts to make them say the real messiah is this kid from Nazareth.
They also explain away the coitus of Mary and God, using the winning argument that, if God wanted to impregnate a woman, He probably could have.
In Israel, Messianic Jews, or Jews for Jesus, are considered equal citizens if their mother was Jewish—and the same goes for Messianic Jews wishing to make Aliyah. Israeli courts have confronted the question of whether or not someone calling himself a Jew for Jesus whose mother was not Jewish can claim the right of return to Israel, and has decided, so far, against it (Lee and Beresford Vs. Ministry of the Interior, 1989).
The website, run by Eitan Bar and Moti Vaknin, who present themselves as Messianic media professionals who are also good friends, Jews and Israelis, and who “believe that Jesus is the messiah promised in the prophecies of the Bible.”
Their About page says: “We are sick of rabbis and ultra-Orthodox organizations who abuse our patience by trampling us and our beliefs. We are tired of being persecuted in the name of God.
“We are fed up with more and more Orthodox rabbis and extremist groups who are unable to deal with the fact that not everyone is ready to submit to their spiritual authority, and the fact that there are people who insist on asking questions in their quest for the truth and do not accept everything they say — they attack us and persecute us violently.”
They’re probably correct on just how unpopular a messianic Jewish group would likely be in Israel, a country where Jewish law according to the Orthodox tradition guides society’s life cycle events, and where awareness of what Christian hordes have done to our ancestors over the past two millennia are fresh in our memories like it happened yesterday.
If your Hebrew is good enough, follow the sales job offered by the two Israeli promoters, of the notion that the prophet Isaiah has predicted the virgin birth of Jesus. It’s been a debate between Hebrew speaking Jews and missionaries who are semi-literate in Hebrew from the time of King James, and probably earlier. It’s a whole new ballgame when two Hebrew speaking Israelis are forcefully buying into the same bizarre ideas. Have fun.