Why you don’t want to be a missionary to Israel
While I regularly promote “all things Israeli” to help believers connect with their Jewish roots, occasionally I must report on the dark side of the issue – the intense hatred for “all things Christian” practiced by some Orthodox Jewish groups in Israel such as Yad L’Achim. The group is determined to turn as many fellow Jews as possible against Jesus and to expose all “missionaries” for stealing away Jewish souls from Judaism.

Two Israeli newspapers recently ran a story of how a religious Jewish woman with a difficult life was “saved from the clutches of two missionary women who had been visiting her at home for six months and had been trying to convert her.” According to the articles, the two women took advantage of her hardships to lure her into their net while telling her she no longer needed to keep all the Jewish laws. Representatives of Yad L’Achim contacted the woman and told her that the women who had visited with her were missionaries, not Jewish women and that they were leading her astray. They brought the woman to tears as they explained the uncaring and underhanded tactics of the two women.

“Missionary” is a dirty word in Israel. Anyone suspected of any activity resembling “missionary work” will find his time in Israel cut very short. Messianic Jews (Jewish believers in Yeshua) often face equal opposition. They are considered traitors by many in the Orthodox community. Nevertheless, several messianic congregations are thriving despite the opposition.

My point, however, is not to simply expose a difficult and sensitive situation. I want to look at how we respond to this. For some Christians, it’s hard to justify giving to a country that, for the most part, fights against everything we stand for and believe. They’ll gladly take our money and assistance, and then say, “Keep your religion to yourselves.” I understand that sentiment. By all appearances, most Israelis are enemies of the gospel.

But so were we. Sometimes God puts thorns (often unappreciative ones) in our lives to show us our own reflection. Sometimes the way others treat us is exactly the way we treat God, and He want us to understand how much it hurts Him. Beyond that, the “blessing of Israel” part of the Abrahamic Covenant was never connected with the reaction of the people. Even today, most Jews have turned their backs on God, yet He still pursues them. After all, it’s really not about them. It’s about Him and his unconditional faithfulness.

So, if you want to minister to the Jews in Israel, be smart about it. Don’t go as a

messianic cross

“missionary.” Find another way. Opportunities abound. To learn more about the opposition Messianics in Israel face, click here.


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