Jews for Jesus: The serpent in the garden

I want to introduce you to Caleb Myers. Caleb is a well-known Israeli attorney and civil rights activist. He is a clean cut, well-dressed, well-spoken advocate for Israel. I have listened to him deliver first class talking points. Caleb is also founder and chief counsel of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice. I have visited the Facebook page. It’s slick and full of well-written articles about Israel. It’s just that Myers and his organization, Jerusalem Institute for Justice, represent the interests of Messianic Jews; Jews who accept Jesus as their saviour.

In 2006, Myers began to work a case involving 12 people with Jewish fathers who wanted the Right of Return but were refused because they believed in Jesus. Recently the Supreme Court ordered that they be allowed the same immigration rights as anyone with a Jewish father. Needless to say, Myers was thrilled.

Myers claimed in 2008 that there were almost 15,000 members representing a 30% growth in the last half-decade.

Jews for Jesus is an international organization whose stated purpose is to, “make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide.” While just after WWII there were “almost no Israeli-born believers in Jesus,” today the latest reports estimate almost 20,000 people and 150 congregations in “the Land” (as Eretz Yisrael is called), and globally the 2013 reports range as high as 300,000 Messianic Jewish believers.”

According to Messianic Attorney Rabbi Jamie Cowan who is also the President of Russian Immigration Services, which has helped former Soviet immigrants assimilate into American society, “Hope for Israel seeks to channel funds into the hands of Messianic Jewish (Jews who believe in Jesus) congregations and ministries in Israel that provide humanitarian support for these needy Israelis.”

Rabbi Russ Resnik is the Director of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, an association of some 70 Messianic synagogues throughout the United States. Many of the followers were born Jewish who came to accept Jesus and still consider themselves Jews.

Well they call themselves rabbis. That’s nice. And I am the Blue Fairy.

I just read about a recent incident at Be’er Sheva. A British man, Barry Barnett came to Israel as a volunteer for Jews for Jesus to participate in the “Behold your God Israel” campaign and was arrested for proselytizing. As he had come to Israel as a tourist he wasn’t allowed to proselytize.

But Dan Sered, Israel director for Jews for Jesus was “outraged.” After all Israel allows for religious freedom and for Sered Israel had “done a shameful thing.” He commented that the Israel Ministry of Tourism states “tourism for the purpose of exchanging religious beliefs is not only valid but also should be encouraged” which to him means proselytize — to me means exchanging ideas, not preaching them.

Julia Pascoe, UK branch leader for Jews for Jesus, said Barnett was holding a banner “Salvation equals Jesus” with a telephone number to contact Jews for Jesus.

Pascoe conceded: “The gospel is an offense to those who don’t want to hear it.”


Ms. Barnett also pointed a finger at the ultra-Orthodox group Yad L’Achim who’s been following the group around Israel. Jews for Jesus feel that immigration officials are surrendering to the whims of Yad L’Achim and cracking down on missionaries.

Yad L’Achim seems to be a thorn in the side of Jews for Jesus.

Yad L’achim activist Yehiam Fleishman said in Arutz Sheva:

“They call themselves ‘Jews.’ There are missionaries there from Finland and other places who claim they are here to ‘work together’ with the Jewish people, whom they claim to ‘love.’ They present themselves as Jews, quoting parts of the Torah and the rest of the Bible, making an impression on people who are not religiously sophisticated. Of course, the purpose of their doing this is to twist the Torah to fit the tenets of their faith.”

According to Rosh Pina ( Messianic Jews), the words Church, Missionary, Baptist-priest, are all derogatory terms in Israel.


So they take their sense of persecution out on Yad L’achim for spreading hate against Jews for Jesus. Ms. Barnett said she expects “opposition” when in Israel.

“And quite frankly,” she added, “if we don’t get any [opposition], we probably aren’t doing our jobs right.”

Frankly Ms. Barnett, what is that job? Is it to proselytize to the Jews in Israel, the home of the Jewish people, the safe haven, the light unto the nations?

As a Jew in the diaspora still reeling from the Messianic Missionaries outside Israel, I am shocked these groups are allowed to even have a place in Israel. They claim to love Israel. Love means unconditional acceptance. They don’t accept Jews as authentic. They don’t accept Israel as a Jewish state. They want to lead all of us to Christianity, by deception, by calling themselves Jews while under the umbrella of Christian Missions.

They are doing it while hiding in plain site taking advantage of the fact that Israel is open to freedom of religion.

Sometimes the enemy of my enemy is my enemy. Jews for Jesus, Messianic Jews, whatever Jewish sounding name they use, are the serpent in the garden, the worm in the apple. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing luring our people by dangling the word “Jewish” in front of them to bring them through the portals of their Christian temples.

That Myers and his comrades are excellent spokespeople for Israel is not a sufficient reason to accept them. We will end up paying the piper. They are the fifth column in Israel and covert converters around the world.

Jonathan Bernis, chairman of Messianic Jewish Bible Institute said a few months ago:

“The idea seems to be that it is somehow ‘intolerant’ for Jewish believers in Jesus to share their convictions with other Jews. The real intolerance is coming from those who apparently think that no Jewish person should ever be exposed to the claims of the most famous Jew who ever lived.”

They deceive with impunity and in Israel compound it by complaining about being persecuted for their beliefs.

The irony!

Rabbi Hillel wrote “If I am not for myself.” We are flooded with anti-Semitism and yet we open the door in our homeland to those who want to end our history.  If Israel does not stop these groups in “the land” what hope do we, in the diaspora, have of stopping it in our backyards? We are allowing others to eat our young and then we cry that we are losing our children.

It has taken a long time for Christian/Jewish respectful dialogue to take place. And it came about because the Jews believed that the Christians were no longer out to convert us. We have overcome the accusation of Christ-killer and now read about reconciliation. These organizations are attacking us from a different paradigm: Jesus is a Jew. So Jews should now believe in Jesus.

I have been on Facebook pages with Jews for Jesus complaining that they aren’t accepted as Jews. That Judaism has evolved. True. Judaism has evolved but with all the internecine attacks there is one thing we all believe. You can’t be Jewish and believe in Christ.

Jews for Jesus will affect the relationship between Christians and Jews. We will begin to question the motivations of all our Christian friends who say the Jewish people have a right to a Jewish homeland and a right to be Jewish. Jews and Christians must work together to stop Jews for Jesus from poisoning our relationship and evangelizing the Jews into extinction.

About the Author
Diane Weber Bederman is a multi-faith, hospital trained chaplain who lives in Ontario, Canada, just outside Toronto; She has a background in science and the humanities and writes about religion in the public square and mental illness on her blog: The Middle Ground:The Agora of the 21st Century. She is a regular contributor to Convivium: Faith in our Community. "