Several ultra-Orthodox Jews, upset about the opening of a new Messianic meeting center in the town, protested outside two homes of believers in Dimona in southern Israel on Thursday, causing damage to their property and trauma to the children who live there.
Albert and Esther Knoester recently opened up a meeting place in the Dimona center, in the same complex the rabbinate also uses. Albert is an elder at Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua’s Inheritance) congregation in Beersheba. Protests took place outside their home and at the home of another congregant who lives in Dimona.
Since the building began, the possibility of opposition loomed, but the building went on peacefully — until Thursday. The protests began at the meeting place itself and continued later at the homes. It was uncertain whether the protests would be ongoing, but in the past some have continued or at least individual harassment has.
When the protests threatened to continue into Thursday night, the Knoesters cancelled a regular gathering of believers that takes place at their home.
Yad L’Achim is an anti-missionary organization, comprised mostly of ultra-Orthodox Jews, that has been known to target and harass Messianic Jews and Christians in Israel through protests and lawsuits among other means. They specifically go after those suspected of “missionary activity.”
For several years now, ultra-Orthodox Jews have harassed and persecuted Messianic Jews in various parts of southern Israel, particularly in the town of Arad, on a near daily basis. In Arad it isn’t uncommon for protests to get personal, occurring at someone’s home instead of the congregation.
In 2005, one of the largest anti-Messianic protests took place at the Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshuas’ Inheritance) congregation in Beersheba. More than 600 ultra-Orthodox men, women and children stormed during the congregation’s baptism service, forced their way into the meeting and attacked the congregants, damaged property and cursed Yeshua and the faith.
Please pray for the safety of the believers in Dimona and that their testimony would shine God’s light to all those around!
You are light for the world. A city cannot be hidden when it is located on a hill. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. Instead, everyone who lights a lamp puts it on a lamp stand. Then its light shines on everyone in the house.
– Matthew 5:14-16