It was a busy year in the Messianic world in Israel, involving many cases of discrimination and the loss of a founding father in Israel’s believing community.
The following articles were the five top read stories about the believing community in 2017:
David Davis, co-founder and senior pastor of the Kehilat HaCarmel congregation in Isifiya (next to Haifa) for 25 years, passed away in May after a long battle with illness. In addition to building up the congregation in the North, he also founded a drug rehabilitation center. Davis and his wife Karen made aliyah in 1989. Their vision for Jews and Arabs to be joined together as “one new man” is prevalent in their ministries and outreaches. With a base of operation on Mount Carmel, where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal and Jezebel, Davis’s teachings also focused on the “spirit of Elijah.” His legacy continues to be felt in Israel.
An Israeli soldier who is Messianic was injured in an attack in Nablus, the biblical city of Shechem, in February. David B. did not sustain life threatening injuries but his ability to play the guitar and lead worship at Kehilat Nachalat Yeshua in Beersheba was threatened. David was part of a unit of soldiers guarding Jews who come to pray at Joseph’s Tomb, located in the Palestinian city, once a month. Palestinians threw a pipe bomb at the group that David was defending. The explosion injured David’s hand and he lost the bone in one of his fingers. He has since returned to playing his guitar and leading worship, even writing songs, according to his pastor. “The doctors were amazed at how he can manage so well without that joint! He is undergoing minor treatments, and still has some minor pains, but b’gadol (overall), all is well,” he shared with KNI.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews protested the opening of a new Messianic meeting center in Dimona and rioted at two homes of believers who head up the center, damaging property and causing trauma to the children who live there. The violent struggle in the southern Israeli town was expected eventually since the center occupies the same building space as offices of the local rabbinate. Protests against believers in the south are not uncommon. One of the largest anti-Messianic protests, involving 600 ultra-Orthodox demonstrators, took place at Nachalat Yeshua congregation in Beersheba in 2005.
Kehila News Israel highlighted the ongoing struggles of several Jewish believers trying to obtain citizenship in Israel. While Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu trumped the country’s excellent record on the rights of the Christian minority in the Jewish state, believers pointed out that the country still discriminates against Jewish believers here and even prevents them from immigrating. “Unfortunately the rights of all are not yet guaranteed, Mr. Prime Minister,” one believer noted.
Out of the mouths of babes! One Israeli kindergartner caused quite a stir when she told classmates that Yeshua is the Messiah and God. One parent in the religious Jewish Jerusalem-suburb kindergarten started a campaign against the girl and her family in the media calling on them to keep their beliefs to themselves. In the end, this woman was the only one opposed and the other parents kicked her out of the class’s social media group. The mother of the girl who proclaimed Yeshua said she teaches her children “to maintain restraint with our words and show the love of God that is in us through our behavior and actions before anything else.” They remain at the school.