Young Messianic Jewish Israelis are increasingly taking the national stage without fear of who they are and in what they believe. That was literally the case on Tuesday when a young Messianic musician auditioned on Israel’s most popular televised singing competition.
So intriguing was the revelation by 20-year-old contestant Shai Sol that she believes in Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah that the top-rated Kochav Haba (“The Next Star”) made her pre-audition interview the focus of its promotional commercials earlier in the week.
When it came time for Shai to speak to the show’s hosts, Assi Azar and Rotem Sela, she boldly told them, “It seems right to reveal [that] I am a Messianic Jewess. We believe in Yeshua.”
“What does that mean?” asked Azar.
Shai explained that Messianic Jews are “Jews who believe in the Tanakh and the New Testament.”
Sela interjected, “So it’s a type of Christian?”
Shai clarified that faith in Yeshua as Messiah is a “stream of Judaism.”
Shai’s mother further expounded, “It’s a stream of Judaism because the New Testament belonged to us before they took it to Christianity.”
Azar expressed concern that announcing her faith might distract the judges from fairly evaluating her music, and advised Shai that “when they speak with you, leave this story out.”
“No way,” replied Shai. “I won’t hide who I am.”
Sela also questioned why the young singer should conceal her faith. “This is who she is,” said the popular model and television personality.
“Whoever would accept me must accept me as I am,” Shai stated firmly.
Persisting, Azar, who is openly homosexual, noted “as someone who is part of a minority that our society is very liberal in a lot of ways, but in others it is ugly and not liberal.”
Seeing that his arguments weren’t winning Shai over, Azar then wondered why her faith in Yeshua need be so openly pronounced “when you are actually here to sing?”
His co-host wasn’t impressed. “This is who she is,” Sela adamantly reiterated to Azar. “If there are people who won’t accept that, the problem is with them. [Shai] does not need to conceal who she is.”
Ultimately, as Shai stood briefly before the judges, she chose not to bring up the subject, just before delivering a mesmerizing performance that landed her a spot in the next round of the competition.