The headline reads, “Baptizing Cult”. The darkened pict ure is meant to portray us as weird and secretive.
By Shira Sorko-Ram
Last May, an Israeli journalist was handed a flyer in Tel Aviv about Yeshua the Messiah of Israel. Jews for Jesus conducted a major campaign with many Israelis and foreign volunteers spreading out across the country to give Israelis a chance to ask questions about faith in Yeshua.
Today, the number of Israeli Messianic Jews is increasing at a much faster rate than ever before. In fact, many favorable articles have been written at face value concerning the presence and lives of the Messianic Community in Israel. (See Last Article)
However, the editors of Yediot Aharonot, Israel’s largest paper, fighting to keep its readership, is always looking for weird, repulsive and frightening stories. Yediot has remained in first place by evolving into a full-blown tabloid; its number one goal is to sell newspapers at all costs.
With that in mind, their journalist Tehiya Barak set off with a goal to infiltrate a Messianic Jewish congregation in Tel Aviv. She picked our congregation, Tiferet Yeshua.
She arrived while Ari and I were in Germany, and began making friends among the congregation’s young people. She attended a number of times until a few days ago, when Ari received a rather unpleasant phone call from one of the editors at Yediot. He began by accusing us of “converting to Christianity” under-age kids without their parent’s permission - illegal in Israel.
Three days later, (on 08.08.08), a vicious, twisted article of nine solid pages (24 type-written pages) came out in their weekend magazine which has very wide coverage. The article was designed to scare the public - to prove that Messianic Jews are dangerous, law-breaking, mystical misfits.
(Thirteen years ago this same paper wrote an even uglier article about a national youth conference we held at a kibbutz in the north of Israel. It claimed we were abducting children without their parents’ knowledge and attempting to convince them to leave their Jewish heritage and convert to Christianity - an accusation which could have brought a jail sentence. Several times we showed the police the permission slips that each parent had signed to allow his or her child to attend the conference, and the police closed the case. We took the newspaper to court and after three years they settled out of court by writing a letter of apology that the things they accused us of were inaccurate.)
This newspaper uses the same hate-filled rhetoric that Hamas uses against the Jewish people, that anti-Semites use against Jews. It caricaturizes the believers in a way that makes us appear all-bad with no redeeming value.
So as Ari and I began our one week Maoz business trip and two week vacation in Germany this summer, the journalist attended her first service at Tiferet Yeshua. She was to continue her visits until the first week of August.
The tabloid cover showed a leader in our congregation praying for a young lady. Blazened across the darkened, eerie greenish picture (though taken in broad daylight) was the title “The Baptizing Cult.“ We cannot reprint the whole nine pages, but here are excerpts from her article which she
called “The Messianic Code” (Like the Bible Code).
Newspaper journalist (center) posing as a Messianic Jewish believer.
She brought a "friend" along who took this picture for her newspaper.
May 25th: Penetrating the Messianic Cult
My name is Tehiya Barak [tehiya means “resurrection”], a journalist, 28 years old, a Jew. During the past two and a half months I wore different clothing. A flyer, one of thousands that were distributed on the streets of Israel in the framework of a campaign run by “Jews for Jesus” sent me on a long-term journalistic mission: to infiltrate a Messianic Jewish congregation as a sister among the minyan [group].
Because of her mindset and her mission to write a salacious article, she viewed and described everything as mystical, abnormal, occultish. She wrote about our faith as a ridiculous assortment of rituals and she spells Yeshua’s name as “Yeshu”, the way non-believers pronounce the Messiah’s name in Hebrew. (Yeshua’s name means “Salvation;” Yeshu means “may his name be obliterated,” although when Israelis use this pronunciation, they do not usually know the meaning of this acronym given by rabbinical authorities centuries ago who did not want to call him “Salvation.”)
Tehiya continues: For the duration of several long weeks I was thrown into a parallel universe. I turned into a fervent member of an ancient cult that combines a concoction of faiths, symbols, and messages from various religions. Our father Abraham with Yeshu, Old Testament with New Testament, prayer shawl with baptism, Israeli festivals with holy bread [the Lord’s supper, editor], and also a threatening satan, who lurks at every corner and appears in the form of man, jellyfish or evil inclination.
Much of Tehiya’s article focuses on what she calls “missionary” work, one of the most hated words in the Hebrew language. In the mind of the typical Israeli, a missionary is one who lives to destroy the Jewish nation. How? By converting Jews into non-Jews, thus slowly decreasing the number of Jews in the world. For most Jews, it is still beyond their imagination how a Jew can remain a Jew and believe in Yeshua the Messiah. Only Christians can be a follower of Yeshua, not Jews, in their thinking. So her constant reference to missionary activities are buzz words which cause great concern among the Israeli public.
TOP LEFT: Ari and Youth Leader Motti with new believer as he is immersed in the Mediterranean sea. BOTTOM LEFT: Ari speaking with Tehiya after the immersion. At the time she was posing as a new believer. RIGHT: Yacov Damkani takes his Christian volunteers to sing to the soldiers in army camps.
Also, when journalists speak about missionary work, they virtually always claim that the people the “missionaries” are able to reach are those who are oppressed and downtrodden - and thus easy catches for the missionaries. Messanic believers, on the other hand, will reply that only God can change a person’s heart and make him into a new creature. People can fake it for a while, perhaps thinking they are going to receive some material help. But when that does not appear, the fake seeker soon goes his own way.
Furthermore, the Messianic Jews of Israel stress over and over again that Yeshua has given them the power and the guidance to be Jews in every sense of the word, living lives devoted to the God of Israel who created the Jewish people for His own purposes. Yeshua makes it possible to fulfill that purpose. Nevertheless, Tehiya’s descriptions are sure to bring fear to the hearts of many. She continues:
My Sabbaths were spent in ecstatic, long prayers, and the rest of the weekdays I dedicated to aggressive missionary activities and internal social events of the congregation. I won their trust, and they - slowly but surely - embraced me into their world.
Little by little a Messianic-spiritual world was exposed to me, which at its core lies a closed [closed?? That is an interesting observation! editor] and embracing congregation, at times mesmerizing, which forms a warm and sheltering home with not so few people who found it difficult to find their place in Israeli society - and a moment before they were crushed in its margins, found refuge in the bosom of Yeshu; despairing youth who had descended into crime, ultra-Orthodox Jews who left their way and suffered alienation by their families, lone soldiers, immigrants, foreign workers.
Tehiya relates that one of the Jews for Jesus members “connects me to a congregation, ‘Tiferet Yeshua’ in southern Tel Aviv that belongs to the ‘body of Messiah.’ The Messianic cults have been active in Israel since the last century and include thousands. Even though the Messianics view themselves as Jews, experts define them as a cult from the Christian world. They, from their side, maintain close connections with Christian congregations worldwide.
Tehiya was told by her Jews for Jesus friend: “this is a large congregation, with a lot of young people and a lot of the Holy Spirit. I am certain that you will be happy there.” And so, within a moment, my journey begins, which by its end I am sentenced to find myself confused and divided - Judas Iscariot woman that I am.
Tehiya describes her first impressions of the Sabbath service at Tiferet Yeshua Congregation:
May 31st: To come apart in religious ecstasy
“Welcome, Yeshua, we invite you to come.” I enter into the prayer hall as this song is sung in a powerful voice. On the stage there is a keyboardist, a guitarist, three singers, a trumpeter and a drummer. The Messianics are standing on their feet; some of them are dancing. Everyone is singing in one accord, in religious ecstasy, with burning faith. Their hands are spread out upwards. The words are displayed on a large screen; however, no one needs to refer to them.
A ll this occurs at the outskirts of the industrial area of southern Tel Aviv. The entrance is in between two peeling buildings. On the entrance floor is a small kiosk and adjacent to that is a gas station. In the area, such is told to me by one of the brothers, there is also a casino and other dubious businesses.
TOP LEFT: Tehiya passing out flyers as she pretends to be a believer. BOTTOM LEFT: Congregants praying together. RIGHT: Yacov Damkani with soldiers.
However, the staircase is sparkling clean. A few of the youth in the congregation come early in the morning every Saturday, and sweep the filth - cigarettes, syringes, hard liquor bottles. At one stage, when passersby and members of an ultra-Orthodox organization harassed the Messianics, there was a security guard at the entrance. A t present day, for discretion purposes, there is not even a sign.
When one enters, the filth disappears from sight. From the sparkling marble floor up to the ceiling, everything points to prestige. The congregation rents the second and third floors of the building.
I … do not know where to look first. At the elderly believer who is dancing with great fervor, at the singer who breaks down in the middle of the song in front of all to see weeping bitterly, or at the barefooted, long haired youth who is closing his eyes and singing in somewhat of a sensual intoxication. “I want to lie at your feet, Yeshua,” implores the singer. “Allow us to feel You.”
The spiritual shepherd of the congregation, Ari Sorko-Ram, a veteran immigrant from the U.S.A., is presently abroad. In his absence Motti, his ‘spiritual’ son, takes front stage. He is dressed in jeans and sneakers, upon his cheek is a microphone. “Yeshua, open our eyes so that we may see You, and our ears so that we may hear You. Allow us to feel You, here, now, in this room,” he calls with shut eyes.
Tehiya adds: Over the course of my mission, I meet quite a number of Messianic soldiers, some of whom arrive at the congregation meeting in their uniforms.
Tehiya tells how she advanced her deception, sitting in our fellowship room after our Sabbath meeting, talking to evangelist Yacov Damkani.
TOP: A young man, once himself a drug addict, has opened a home in downtown Tel Aviv for addictted prostitutes. The pictures on the floor are of the prostitutes and are points of prayer. BOTTOM: Believers talking to soldiers.
For several weeks I have been attending the Messianic congregation as one of the believers. I am in command of the secrets of prayer, am present at the social events, am in good contact with most of the brothers. “To be saved, to be evangelized, God has placed a message on my heart,” have become a part of my vocabulary. I proved my dedication; I won the trust of the members. Now I want to join the secret missionary assignments reserved for the faithful.
…At the conclusion of the Sabbath prayer, I sat opposite [Yacov Damkani] on a couch in the congregation of Messianic Jews named, “Tiferet Yeshua” in Tel Aviv, asking with a shaky voice to join the most important and spiritual mission in the eyes of believers in the cult: evangelism of Yeshu throughout Israel…
Damkani hesitates. He fixes an extended look at me, penetrating, and then proceeds with a series of questions.
Tehiya then narrarates her madeup story to Damkani. She adds, “It is not every day that a young Israeli requests to join the mission field, considered horrendous in the eyes of most residents of the State of Israel. I find it hard to breathe under his gaze: what will happen if my cover story should collapse?"
She emphasizes again and again our outreach to the lost and she portrays it in a most negative way.
One cannot separate the compassion of the congregation from their objective: the spreading of the faith, under every condition, among as many people as possible. The Messianic representatives reach neglected corners, at times unseen, to which the Israeli society does not bother to direct its gaze: they distribute foodstuffs to the poor, to terror victims and Holocaust survivors, who do not know what they will eat tomorrow, and they speak to them about Yeshu; they wrap in love and holy songs drug addicted prostitutes in a shelter for the needy which they established in the heart of Tel Aviv; diminish the loneliness of soldiers in training fields, with the help of songs, candies, literature, and volunteers from abroad. The possibility of adding new people to the faith increases amazingly after you show them kindness.
Tehiya talks about the lifestyle of the young believers:
In the event that you are a member in the Messianic cult, your daily routine is full. Long prayer times, gatherings that continue long into the night, communal ‘praise’ songs, picnics, ball games on the beach.
The meeting takes place on the third floor of the building, in a room that belongs to the youth of the congregation. On the red wall appear large letters that the youth wrote: “Thank you, Lord Yeshua.”
The Messianics are standing on their feet, some of them are dancing. Everyone is singing in one accord, in religious ecstasy. Their hands are spread out upwards. All of a sudden the singer bursts into tears and cries, “I want to lie at your feet, Yeshua!”
Tehiya then talks about the persecution of the believers in Israel. She, of course, ignores the fact that articles such as hers can cause fanatical Orthodox Jews to target the believers with violence. Thank God, there is a growing number of fearless believers, soldiers, young people, elderly people, lawyers, doctors, scientists, and simple beautiful citizens of Israel who are ready to face the persecution that comes with serving the One who gave His all to us. Here is her summary of some of the incidents of persecution that have taken place lately:
TOP: Another prayer meeting at Tiferet Yeshua
These days are not easy for the Messianic Jews. From time immemorial the believers have suffered harassment, however, during the past year, they have a growing sense that the satanic circle is closing in on them and getting stronger.
During this past March, an explosion caused severe injury to the son of a Messianic family in Ariel; two months thereafter, in a large bonfire, recorded on photographs which shocked many, New Testament books that were distributed by Messianic Jews were burned in Or Yehuda [translates Light of Judah]; In the meantime, the call to cancel the traditional, annual Bible Quiz [on Israel’s day of Independence] was on account of the participation of a young Messianic girl. [See last article].
From her preconceived ideas of a cult, Tehiya has created a false image of the Messianic believers in general, and our congregation in particular. We are portrayed throughout the article as scheming, secretive, manipulating cultists. That is often how persecutors portray believers throughout the world. We are no exception.
At the end of the article, the editor who called Ari a couple of days before it went to press, quoted three sentences from their telephone conversation - in order, I am sure the editor thought - to make the article “fair and balanced.” This is the quote:
The Messianic Jews: We are Jews and our activities are legal. Ari Sorko-Ram, the spiritual leader: “We are Jews who believe in biblical Judaism; it is the right of every Jew to explain his Judaism. We do this among acquaintances, friends, family, and whoever wants to know. We are permitted by law to explain our faith.
We cannot end this article without stating our earnest desire to draw closer to our Lord and receive divine discernment concerning those who join our congregation. In no way do we wish to be suspicious of newcomers, for that is what the enemy would want. But we do ask from our Heavenly Father wisdom to stand against the wiles of those who are working to harm and persecute the Body of Messiah in Israel. Your prayers for us and all of the Messianic leaders of Israel will make a difference.
An added column written by Danit Keren, general manager of the Israel Center for Cult Victims,
who adds a few paragraphs with the purpose of warning people to flee from Messianic Jews:
“The members of the congregation undergo tremendous pressure to participate in as many activities and meetings as possible, while neglecting everything that is outside of the faith: family, friends, work and studies, for the reason that they ‘belong to this dark world’ and to ‘satan’s control.’ Since the belief in satan is so strong and tangible in the life of a believer, there is a great fear of leaving.” [These paragraphs may be true in reference to cults, but certainly have no accuracy concerning Israel’s Messianic community, editor.]
Keren continues: “A Messianic believer is not allowed to marry someone who is not a believer. There is a prohibition among the community members to study material that denies the Messianic faith, since this is within the realms of a stumbling-block and may raise heretical thoughts, such as Darwinist scientific books, among others. There is also a very strong mystical element, and a certain contempt towards education, science and logic.”
“Treating homosexuality as a serious disease which one needs to be cured from, making strange sounds, seeing hallucinations and visions, as well as speaking in tongues (trance-gibberish speaking) - constitute a characteristic of development/growth of the faith of a community member and raises their position.”
Our reply is that our congregants are normal, wonderful believers, part of the family of God that is world-wide. Our theology is Biblically based, we would say, normal, middle of the road. But the way the newspaper describes us, (cult like) as those who make it very difficult to leave the congregation, gives the reader the impression of a bonafide cult. In fact, all who are believers know that when a Jewish person comes to the faith, the leaders, throughout the land, encourage and instruct these young believers to strengthen their ties with their families and to be exemplary in their work place and/or in their studies.
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What Tehiya DIDN’T Say About Us!
By Shira Sorko-Ram
Although Messianic Jews are far from perfect, the accepted theological base for our faith is that without love we are but sounding brass and a clanging cymbal.
On the other hand, the state religion of Israel, Orthodox Judaism, teaches its adherents to love those who are similar in religion and to hate those who are different.
Lying, cheating, stealing and violent behavior is not acceptable to any congregation of Messianic Jews and those who are found doing so are seen as outside the fold.
In Orthodoxy, lying, cheating, stealing and violent behavior are acceptable if the goal is “worthy.”
One does not need to be a statistical genius to point out that Messianic Jews have the lowest crime rate of any community in Israel, including all other religious groups. A moral lifestyle is central to a Messianic believer.
Messianic Jews are encouraged to study at universities or learn a profession and work for a living and pay taxes.
A majority of ultra-Orthodox men do not work and do not pay taxes. On the contrary, their politicians agree to join government coalitions mainly in return for handouts from the taxpayer’s pocket to support their own non-working population.
Messianic Jews serve with pride in the Israeli Defense Forces, knowing we have a duty to protect our nation.
Ultra-Orthodox refuse to serve in the army, and some branches even refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the government of Israel, although willing to take government grants.
In a nation that suffers from severe corruption in the government, ultra-Orthodox politicians headed up by rabbinical authorities have been role models of corruption in every area of public and governmental service.
Think of it! In Israel, drug dealers, mafia, pimps, criminals and perverts are accepted as Jews. Gurus, witches and transvestites are part of the Jewish people.
But Messianic Jews, whose contribution to society is almost always positive, are despised and rejected by the establishment, and told they are not Jews.
Messianic Jews pray for their enemies.
The Orthodox curse their enemies.
Messianic Jews are being continuously persecuted, especially in Beersheva and Arad, and the police are doing nothing. In fact, after five months, the police have not even talked to the witnesses that have agreed to testify in behalf of Ami Ortiz, the youth who was bombed by ultra-Orthodox terrorists in Ariel because his father David is a Messianic pastor.
As one honest ultra-Orthodox man told David: “Mohammed doesn’t bother us. Buddha and Confucius do not bother us. No other religion really bothers us. But Yeshua bothers us. In fact he bothers us so much that one of our own was ready to kill you and your family.”
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United we stand...and grow stronger!
We have been greatly encouraged by the phone calls and messages of support we have received from leaders and pastors of the Messianic community in Israel. It is just one more proof that the
Messianic Jews of Israel are growing in number, in confidence and in love.
I would like to take a moment to encourage our brothers from Tiferet Yeshua who were highlighted in the recent Yediot ar ticle I just now read.
Of course the article was very negative, and probably you could have had more discernment, and we all need to learn from this kind of thing.
However, I was very encouraged to read about your congregation's activities, the way you are reaching out to Israelis, the way you are following up on those that visit, your commitment to fasting and prayer and the devotion you have to caring for the poor and needy. In many ways I saw this ar ticle to be a powerful testimony to Yeshua, in spite of the harmful and destructive motives from which it was written.
The thing about persecutions is that it groups us all together. Persecution is no respecter of persons. We are all in it together, whether we like it or not.
Today I was approached by a friend of mine about the article who knows that I am a follower of Yeshua.
Because he knows us quite well he understood that much of what was written was intentionally put in a negative light. I told him that though I don’t
always agree with what Damkani, Sorko-Ram or other Messianics always do, that I was very proud of the way they are standing up for what they believe.
And I want to say that to you as well, my brothers. I am proud to stand with you and your congregation, even though it may mean suffering or loss for the sake of my Messiah.
God bless you,
Senior Pastor Beit Immanuel
The recent Yediot article has sparked some very good discussion with our neighbors, close friends, and family members.
We love Ari, Shira and family - and Yacov. It is a great privilege to stand with them. ‘Chazak v’Amatz’!! [Be strong and courageous!] Glory be to God!
Love and blessings,
Richard ‘Ayal’ and Yardena Frieden
Jerusalem Street Production/JAMM
Brothers and Sisters,
I also want to express my solidarity with the Tiferet Yeshua congregation who have recently been the target of a ver y negative newspaper ar ticle in the Yediot.
Like David Lazar us, we had non-believing friends that called us to express their support and sadness that the article was so obviously
and intentionally negative. I see this as par t of a national strategy by those that hate us and our beliefs and is an attempt to influence the
Beer sheva court case.
I do suspect that it will have the effect of creating curiosity and you will see people drawn to the Lord and his people.
Stand strong and peace be with you,
As the Messianic movement grows in Israel with many fine examples of strong believers who are healthy active citizens of Israel, there has also been favorable media concerning believers. Our friends Martin and Norma have written about this fairly new phenomenon in Israel. Ari & Shira
New Exposure for Israel's
Messianic Jewish Community
By Martin and Norma Sarvis
“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Yeshua” (Acts 4:29-30).
Not long ago the English language Jerusalem Post carried a story on its front page, “Messianic Jews to Protest ‘Discriminatory’ Immigration Policies”. The article focused on the concerns of a visiting group of 300 members of a large union of Messianic Jews in the United States. Within the same paper was an entirely separate article entitled, “Local Messianic Jews Say They Face Increasing Fear of Attack”. This article was bordered, highlighted in a different color, and bore a picture of Ami Ortiz, the young Jewish believer terribly wounded when opening a booby-trapped gift basket left on his doorstep during the Feast of Purim.
One remarkable thing about these headlines is the presence within them of the words “Messianic Jews”. This name (in its Hebrew form, Yehudim Meshihim) within the past few months has also begun appearing in the mainstream Hebrew-language press. Messianic Jews are Jews by birth who believe that Yeshua/Jesus is the promised Messiah, but who do not believe that their faith in His saving work cancels out their inheritance as descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Until recently, their presence as an entity within Israel was considered negligible if at all. Most Israelis had never heard of them—equating Christianity with Gentiles and Roman Catholicism. The highly regarded and in many ways enlightening book, The Israelis, by Donna Rosenthal (2005, paperback updated edition) bears no listing of “Messianic Jews” in its index, nor is there mention of them in the chapter, “The Christians: Uneasy in the Land of Jesus.” Part of this is
undoubtedly related to the fact that Israeli Jews, religious or secular, are taught from childhood that it is impossible to be a Jew and to believe in Jesus.
Bat-El Levi, a 11th grader Messianic Jew, won this year's National Bible Quiz for state schools and was one of four finalists from Israel competing for the International Bible Quiz Championship on Independence Day.
Jews may be Orthodox, or secular or into New Age or most anything else—still they remain Jews and are allowed citizenship under the Law of Return. But believing in Yeshua supposedly
cuts one off from the faith and even the race of the Fathers. And so, for the past thirty years the presence of a Messianic Jewish community here within Israel has gone largely ignored.
When mentioned at all in the media, there has been a strong reluctance to include the word “Jew” in any title given to these people, or to use the Hebrew name “Yeshua” to describe the
Lord they serve. But recently this has begun to change—and it’s doing so quickly.
In several newspaper articles of recent weeks, Messianics have actually been allowed to describe their beliefs, in some cases without the usual “equal time” comments of an “anti-missionary” representative from the ultra-Orthodox community.
New exposure is also being made during the past summer on television talk shows and in the entertainment arena. On a recent Friday, a Jewish believer was interviewed on Channel 2’s “Good Morning Israel” show. The evening of the same day the rival Channel 1 carried a segment on the family of the young man injured in the Purim bombing. Part of the program took place in the lad’s bedroom, his mother sitting next to him singing softly in Hebrew over him the words of Romans 8—“I am persuaded that neither life nor death…shall separate me from the love of God which is in Messiah Yeshua our Lord— Yeshua is Lord!”
It was one thing when Messianic Jews were seen as a tiny fringe group or “cult”, made up mostly of new immigrants. Now they appear to be in an almost phenomenal way rising into the public awareness as something integral within the culture, made up of thousands, many of whom are native “sabra” Israelis. (Even such a negative article in Yediot Aharonot raises awareness!)
Of course, the evil one is not taking this “exposure” lying down; the anti-Messiah (i.e. anti-Christ) spirit which operates powerfully in the religious community appears to be manifesting itself in a growing campaign of acts to intimidate Jewish believers and to foment adverse discrimination
against them. In some cases, the new media coverage is causing such tactics to backfire.
An assistant mayor of a city in which New Covenants (New Testaments) had been recently disseminated, in an act ironically and alarmingly reminiscent of scenes perpetrated by the Nazis
70 years ago, organized a “book burning” in which volunteers went door to door gathering the materials for the bonfire. This resulted, however, in an outcry regarding religious freedom in Israel, with one of the popular newspapers featuring a color spread on the incident.
An attempt during the nation’s celebration of our 60th year of independence by the Orthodox to disqualify a Messianic Jewish teenager from the annual International Bible Quiz for Jewish youth was rejected, and the incident was sympathetically covered in the media.
There has always been oppression by elements within the religious Jewish community of modern Israel against Jewish believers—in some cases accompanied by violence. With this oppression appearing to have now advanced into the area of attempts to maim or murder, there is a serious question as to what this portends for the future.
Even with the growing media exposure and coverage mentioned above, incidents appear to be on the increase, not always making it into the news. Nor is the news coverage itself always resulting in blessing. We spoke with a young pastor recently who was ready to “sign” on a new meeting place for his congregation. The owner was aware it would be an organization of Jewish believers in Yeshua, but assured him that it made no difference.
Then he read the articles about the bombing in Ariel, with the strong implication that it had been perpetrated by Orthodox Jews against Messianic Jews, and he backed down—the fear that the presence of Messianics might bring similar acts of violence adversely affecting businesses in his area was too great.
Lately, leaflets appeared in a southern-Jerusalem neighborhood with pictures of several Messianic pastors, and bearing in Hebrew the words, “These people are members of a cult called “Messianic Jews”. The Supreme Court ruled regarding this cult that ‘Judaism vomited them out” BEWARE OF THEM !!!” This kind of harrassment is common enough but these leaflets also included the home addresses beneath the pictures of each of the Believers.
* That accurate testimony regarding the existence of Messianic Jews in Israel and of their beliefs would continue to be released through the Israeli media.
* That the believing Jewish community in Israel would continue like their Master “increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).
* That Israeli believers in Yeshua would permeate the marketplace, the arts, the military, and the government.
* For love, courage, endurance and vision for those who are beginning to experience persecution for their faith.
* For special protection for those targeted by satan, that angels would keep violence from coming to their doors. That they would move in strong spiritual discernment regarding those who might knock on their doors.
* That God will work in the hearts of those bound up in traditional religion, using the very plans of the enemy to awaken a curiosity which might lead them to the Truth. We know former ultra-Orthodox who have come to faith because they had questions which their rabbis couldn’t answer—and they contacted those which their media had warned them to stay away from. It is interesting that even the threats have begun to use the words “Messianic Jew”—implying that these really are Jews who are choosing to follow Yeshua as Messiah and Savior!
Martin and Norma Sarvis serve on leadership of Succat Hallel, a 24/7 worship-intercession ministry in Jerusalem.
Dear Maoz Partner,
As you can see, things are heating up in Israel. More interest. More exposure. More persecution. More seekers. More people coming to faith.
The Gospel is taking root in Israel. The Messianic movement is steadily making progress in the large cities, the medium-size cities, in villages, farms and kibbutzim.
The leaders are moving toward more unity. We are getting together to discuss how to stand against such organizations as Yad L’achim that are turning violent against the Messianic Jews.
Believers are bolder than ever, and our growing congregations give individual believers more confidence to witness and to introduce friends to our community.
After this Yediot newspaper article came out, we received encouraging phone calls and emails from all over the country. Here is one from a good friend whose name we will not publish because of his sensitive job in Jerusalem.
Dear Ari and Shira,
This is a classic case of God already working for good what the enemy intended for evil. There would have never been an article like this if interest in the true identity of Messianic Jews were not growing significantly.
Now this interest will grow even more and the cult allegations will be exposed for what they are. No doubt this has been a very agonizing experience for you. But I am convinced in my spirit that the Lord is going to do something great through it and that down the road, you and Tiferet Yeshua will be fully vindicated.
I still remember a vivid dream from two years ago in which God was using you, Ari, to enlarge the path for Jews to be saved. May your gifts and calling be fully realized in the days to come!
Now our job is to keep moving forward. To not let up for a single minute, but to look to God for effective and better ways to bring the message of GOOD NEWS to a nation that sees little hope on the horizon.
As always, the army of the Lord must work in unison - linked together.
Those who are called to stand on the front lines. Those who are called to pray, and those who are called to financially support what God is doing in the Land of Israel—exactly as He promised to do.
Against all odds, against every type of scheme that satan has used over the generations to keep God’s chosen people from returning to Him, the evil one is still losing. He is furious, but he is losing. And by God’s mighty grace, power, plan and love, we are winning—one heart, one soul at
Our team - you and all of us called to serve in Israel - cannot be stopped. No newspaper article, no slander, no lies, no circumstances, no temporary setbacks can stop God’s truth from going forward in Israel. Together, we are unshakeable!
We love being on the team with you. We cannot win and finish the race without you and we are grateful you are on the team. Together, we will win!
For the salvation of Israel,
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
P.S. Be sure to request your beautiful 16 month Messianic calendar this month! It’s yours for your gift of $35 or more for the salvation of Israel.
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