Two Israeli Messianic Jewish Evangelists Respond to Death Threats by Another Rabbi

Another year, another death threat for two Israel Messianic Jews who share the gospel with Israelis via social media.

A year after being attacked by Rabbi Mizrachi, Moti Vaknin and Eitan Bar of One for Israel are now being threatened by Rabbi Eitan Baghdadi, who released an incendiary video calling for their death. (see video below)

Moti and Eitan responded with their own video, noting that the rabbi’s anger is a sin, but telling him they love and forgive him as Yeshua taught, and invited him to a public debate.

Rabbi Baghdadi, a proselytizer for Rabbinic Judaism, is well-known especially in social networking circles, notably because of his unique and borderline provocative way of speaking. There were no holds barred towards Moti and Eitan, and he declared passionately while quoting the Rambam (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon – Maimonides), “Let whoever incites and seduces a man to commit idolatry be sentenced to death”.  

It should be noted that this is not out of character for Rabbi Baghdadi. He does not hesitate to give his opinion regarding celebrities, cultural figures on television, participants in Reality shows and on various other topics. There was even a complaint filed against him by a TV presenter following incitement concerning this presenter’s lifestyle choice.

Eitan and Moti choose to address the matter differently. They are both Israeli Jews who come from non-Believing families; Moti from a religious background and Eitan from a secular home. They have the courage and the willingness to be exposed and to go “face to face” in front of the camera. They speak the truth without fear of incitement, because they do not take their faith for granted. Their stance is that they too used to be ignorant of such details and the truth about Yeshua, which was previously hidden from them.

The danger of statements such as those of Baghdadi is that his associates and disciples believe that he quotes scripture from the Bible; supposedly representing the position of Judaism. Moti and Eitan like to present both sides of the debate. They choose not to remain silent but respond to Baghdadi with a video based on the Bible and not with baseless, meaningless threats.

How did the two become active on social media:

Eitan, used to work in advertising agencies in Tel Aviv in the field of media.  He noticed that when he told a number of co-workers about his Faith, they started looking for more material to read about Messianic Jews on internet search engines. Ten years ago what they would have found was mainly articles by the Yad L’Achim – an anti-Missionary organization. God called him to change the situation and thus was established iGod.co.il followed by Messiah.co.il. When his path crossed with Moti’s they began working together and have since produced and posted 50 videos in the series “Answering the Rabbis allegations against Yeshua”.

According to One For Israel, even among Believers an understanding has been reached that it is important to deepen and enrich their knowledge about Messiah from the Bible, and from the writings of the sages.  Moti was recently invited to be a guest speaker at a conference where he spoke on this topic.

We spoke with Moti and Eitan to get their response to the latest Rabbi’s incitement video and to hear about people’s reactions to their own videos:

Moti

As a man who comes from a religious background, and knows personally what rabbis are all about, can you understand that when you state or show inaccuracies presented by the rabbis, it could upset their followers who will see it as contempt?

Actually very much so!  When someone challenges the religious world there will be an attempt to silence them.  It will manifest in many ways.  I personally have received curses and threats. Some people assign such importance to their Rabbi; so much so that everything the Rabbi says is truth to them even if it is clear that what he says is obviously false.

What is your family’s reaction to your apologetics videos on the rabbi’s allegations and on the incitement against you in particular?

When I showed my father the video of Yossi Mizrahi on his hatred of the Gospel, he was shocked and did not understand why it happens.  My extended family say that my videos look good but they do not like the content.  However they still see me as part of the family.

Eitan

Describe your feeling when you first watched or heard of Rabbi Yossi Mizrahi and Baghdadi’s videos?

I mainly felt mercy towards them, but in a sense I can understand them. For about 1800 years there was a ban on the topic. Rabbis had the monopoly on Judaism. Imagine a cardinal or a Catholic priest suddenly beginning to confront the Pope theologically. It just does not happen. For us it is not one Pope but thousands of popes who all exclusively hold power and control over spiritual and religious life of the Jew. Suddenly two dissidents get up and “dare” to answer them, cite them and even back it up with their very writings (writings of the sages, the Talmud, etc.). Naturally they will want to get rid of us, especially when we reveal Judaism’s best kept secret of two thousand years; the Lord. In the end, they are not our enemies; the devil is the enemy and unfortunately they are trapped, just like the Apostle Paul was trapped before Yeshua touched him. Moti and I love Baghdadi and Mizrachi, and pray that Yeshua will be revealed to them as He revealed Himself to Paul.

I do have to say that I see irony in the family name “Baghdadi” considering the way Al Baghdadi the leader of ISIS communicates.

Following the videos have you received inquiries from people who are interested in the material? Are you being recognized in the street?

Yes, a lot. We get requests from non-Believers on a daily basis who are interested and want to meet with us and get more information. In the past year and a half, we have seen more Israelis come to faith in Messiah than in the last 15 years. Many look for us on Facebook, find us and begin to chat, ask questions, etc. Often we are recognized on the street. It has happened to us more than once while entering a restaurant, and even at the gas station at the airport. People recognized us and started a conversation. When Moti and I are out together, then the likelihood of being recognized is even higher.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:11-12

To watch Moti and Eitan’s video series “Answering the Rabbis allegations against Yeshua” visit: One for Israel