Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I suppose, like any self-respecting blogger in the Holy Land, I should be talking about "The Gaza Flotilla". But, to be perfectly honest, I've had enough. You can find reams and reams, and columns upon columns written about this in the Israeli and world press. If you are looking for something interesting to read, just go read some of the writing for Book Week in Haaretz's Authors' Edition (I think Margaret Atwood is a master).

So instead I'm going to write about a phenomenon I have noticed recently - Jews For Jesus. I read on the "Raananalist" (which I liked more before it went "professional") that someone had spotted missionaries on Ahuza street. The writer was not happy about this at all and promptly notified the municipality and wanted to organize a "meeting". It appears these were Jews for Jesus people. Now, I was fascinated. I always thought that all missionary activity (except for the Jewish kind) was illegal in Israel. The Israeli Supreme court decided in 1993, that Jews for Jesus were "members of a different faith" and therefore not eligible for citizenship. I'm still not sure if missionary work is illegal or just "highly discouraged" (as stated in this USAToday report, note that Jack Teitel, the psychotic terrorist allegedly bombed the kid mentioned in the article). Then I heard that these guys had been spotted handing out pamphlets on the streets near Squint Central.

So I shrugged off my usual homemade salad and went out for lunch a few days back. I was thrilled when a smartly dressed young man strode briskly up to me and handed me the pamphlet below. Now it really does not say much. Mostly the theme is a play on the Hebrew word "Iskit" which in High-Tech talk describes the lunch deal us squints get at the local restaurants - (A first course, main course, and drink usually for 50 or so Sheks, what a deal). It seems we are missing the real lunch deal. Need I say more.

I looked at their Hebrew site, and then surfed around trying to figure out if they are allowed to do this or not. It seems unclear. The ADL website snidely comments that their main aim in Israel seems to be to teach Israelis that Jesus should be called Yeshua in Hebrew (it means salvation), and not Yeshoo as is typical. Their own site notes that "the religious establishment [in Israel] is vehemently opposed to Jewish believers in Jesus and often try disrupt evangelic endeavors". I bet they do.

I have been listening to a few lecture series on the New testament of late and it should be clear to everyone that Jesus himself was born, lived and died a Jew. Christianity came along after his death and is fundamentally different to Judaism. I don't think I can accept this mash-up middle ground stuff. Hey! but if people want to believe, who am I?

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