On a recent visit to this special community of Christian Zionists–watching the girls in their ankle-length skirts, long-sleeve blouses and pinned-up hairdos–I was reminded of the Amish, or even some Orthodox Jewish communities. Residents here do not own televisions, go to the movies or keep private property. They eat meals in a communal dining hall, and receive an allowance in lieu of a salary for working in the community’s businesses.
The kibbutz is called Beth-El, or House of God, and was founded in 1963 after Emma Berger, a German Christian, came to Israel and experienced what she calls “a divine healing.” Berger’s charismatic leadership attracted a following of fellow German Christians who were willing to give up everything, move to Israel, and wait for the Messiah to return. A sweet girl with a gentle smile greeted me at the community bakery and explained how she came with her family 20 years ago when she was just nineyears-old: “My family responded to the words of Jesus, ‘Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’” She was...
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