MembersA Modern-Day Saul of Tarsus

The son of a rabbinic family from Iraq who once persecuted the followers of Jesus has come to believe that Jesus is Messiah.

By David Lazarus |
Saul
Photo: Yaniv Nadav/Flash90

Itzhak Shapira was born in Israel and worked with extreme Orthodox Jewish anti-Messianic groups trying to stop the Jewish followers of Jesus. “I harassed Messianic Jews on the telephone. Called them murderers, anti-Semites and cursed them,” he admitted to Israel Today.

Shapira comes from a well-known Orthodox Jewish family. His grandfather started the first kibbutz in the Negev in 1948 and was a friend of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. He also established the synagogue in Hod Hasharon. Growing up in an Orthodox family, Shapira received a strict religious education at a boarding school after his father lost his hearing fighting in the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

Because of his rich background in rabbinic studies, Shapira was sought after by extremist anti-Messianic groups in Israel to prepare literature proving to Messianic Jews that Jesus cannot be the Messiah. He was writing scandalous propaganda against the Messianics in Hebrew. “I was determined to turn over every stone to prove that Jesus cannot be the Messiah of Israel. I would show everyone that it cannot be true,” he said.

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