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!