Israeli custom officer Yigal Malka was so shocked by the telephone call, he contacted a major Israeli newspaper — Yedoit Aharonot — about what happened.
At the end of October 2013, a young Messianic girl bought a Samsung Galaxy S4 cellphone while travelling in India. Messianic Jews believe Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and include Jesus and the New Testament in their Jewish faith. There are about 20,000 Messianic Jews and 150 congregations in Israel.
When the young woman returned to Israel via the Jordan River border crossing, she failed to declare her purchase. In Israel all purchases made outside the country are taxable. These purchases must be declared at the border and taxes paid.
Though the border guards missed it, the Holy Spirit didn’t. Within a few days the young woman felt guilty about what she did. She decided to contact the customs office, come clean on the purchase, and pay the tax owed on the phone.
Her call to the local customs office led her to Yigal Malka. After receiving the call, Yigal said he was so shocked by her honesty he waived the 500 shekels tax ($141 US) and then immediately contacted the newspaper about the story.
After being contacted by the major Israeli daily Yedoit Aharanot for an interview, the young woman agreed provided she could give glory to God and Yeshua (Jesus). David Lazarus with Israel Today reported on the the interview in Yediot Aharonot.
In the interview, she said:
“I am just beginning my university studies, and every shekel is really important to me, but I am a Messianic Jew and knew that it is not God’s will to secretly avoid my taxes – so I decided to make things right.”
Messianic Jews in Israel
Though there were many positive comments in a follow-up article published in Israel Today, there were a number of negative ones as well. Certain elements of Judaism are strongly opposed to Messianic Jews.
One “guest” commentator said:
can’t you people just shut your mouths and respect people’s right not to believe in yoshki? I am sick to death of hearing Jews for Jesus, Jehova’s witnesses, born again christians, and christian zionists quoting scripture that they have interpreted in a way that suits them, the true meaning of which they can never comprehend. Are all the Jews that have died at the hands of the christians not enough, that you must try to convert the rest? Feel free to believe in what ever rubbish you choose, but the sooner Israel is rid of parasites like yourself the better. We not only reject Yoshki but we also reject vermin like yourself. The best advice I can offer you is to seek out a good psychiatrist and get him to prescribe you some anti-psychotics.
He uses a derogatory term yoshki to refer to Jesus and not the Messianic term Yeshua.
Messianic Jews face strong (and sometimes violent) opposition in Israel particularly from Ultra-Orthodox Jews. The following lists a few of the problems they have faced:
In the town of Rehovot, Messianic Jews handing out literature were violently attacked by a group of Ultra-Orthodox Jews. Their literature was forcibly stolen and burned. The group attacking said the Messianic Jews were breaking the law by trying to proselyte Jews. In fact, the law states Jews can convert to Christianity as long as they are not enticed to do so with money.
Messianic church bombed
Shortly after a service, opponents firebombed and destroyed a Messianic Church in Kiryat Gat with a Molotov cocktail. Ministers leading Messianic congregations are also targeted. A minister’s son was severely hurt by a bomb left in a gift basket on the front steps of their home. Ironically, the man setting the bomb was an American Jew. The article noted that one newspaper reporting on the bombing referred to Messianic Jews as a cult.
Intimidation and harassment
Ultra-Orthodox Jews hold rallies outside homes of Messianic Jews to intimidate and harass them. This included a Messianic couple accused of converting a young Jewish girl to Christianity by the ultra-orthodox group Yad L’Achim. The group used loud speakers to harass the couple. However, when the media questioned the girl, they reported: “In fact, she insisted she had not even become a Christian. ‘They are just good people,’ she said.” See other examples here.
New Testaments burned
Some groups are burning New Testaments at annual celebrations, which even local politicians attend.
Ads opposing Messianic Jews
An Ultra-Orthodox group opposing Messianic Jews bought a full-page ad in a major Jewish newspaper accusing Messianic Jews of pulling the wool over people’s eyes. In another instance, flyers distributed by ultra-orthodox groups exposed who the Messianic Jews were in a community. The flyers included their addresses, phone numbers and in certain cases pictures. Some believe it was done intentionally to encourage other to harass the Messianic Jews.
God will move in Israel
Though persecution of Messianic Jews continues in Israel, Romans 11:25-26 speaks of a move of God resulting in massive numbers of jews accepting Jesus as their Messiah. In fact, there are hints of this happening. Just before his death, a well-known Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Rabbi secretly coded that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. Read: Famous Jewish Rabbi codes Jesus as the Messiah.
- Messianic Girl Shocks Israeli Customs Officials: Israel Today