Are Messianic Jews Discriminated Against in Israel?
Most Christians do not know that Jewish believers in Jesus, especially in Israel, are actually persecuted for their faith. Nic Lesmeister, director of the Gateway Center for Israel, shares some of the discriminatory practices found in Israel, and how we as Christians can affirm and stand with Jewish believers.
Something that a lot of people don’t think about is the fact that there are believers in the land of Israel who are Jewish.
Now, one of the things that often gets overlooked is the fact that this group of people, which is commonly referred to as Messianic Jews, is largely discriminated against in Israeli society. Now, don’t get me wrong, Israel is a democracy and there is freedom of expression, freedom of speech. However, there are things that are done to the Messianic Jewish community that make their life harder. Here are a couple.
Number one, it’s hard for them to make aliyah. Aliyah is the process of returning to the land of Israel or immigrating to the land of Israel, and it is a guaranteed right of any Jewish person who has at least a Jewish grandparent… Unless you believe in Jesus, then it becomes trickier. So many Messianic Jews are discriminated against and are not allowed to make aliyah, or their aliyah process is very difficult.
The second way is that if you start a Messianic Jewish ministry in Israel, oftentimes you will have a hard time getting a tax exempt status, which is very common in the United States when you start a nonprofit, so your donors cannot give gifts to your ministry and get a tax exempt receipt. This is a way that the ultra-religious Jewish community has tried to sideline the Messianic Jewish community.
Lastly, here in America, Messianic Jews continue to face levels of discrimination or discrediting even from the church. Many people in the Christian Church don’t understand why Messianic Jews want to continue to live a Jewish life after they’ve put their faith in Jesus, and many in the Jewish community in America don’t accept Messianic Judaism as a legit form of Judaism. So this is where we as Jewish-people-loving Christians, have an opportunity to affirm the Messianic Jewish community, to stand with them and for their rights in Israel, and to embrace them as our brothers and sisters in the Messiah to live a Jewish life, even after they put their faith in Jesus.