When a Jew believes that Yeshua is the Messiah, it stirs up all kinds of emotion and plenty of confusion. Many Israelis just cannot grasp how a Jew can believe in Jesus (even if we call him Yeshua) and still be Jewish. And there are plenty of other misconceptions about Jewish belief in the Messiah born in Bethlehem, as seen in this survey of how Israeli press coverage of Messianic Jews has changed in 37 years.
It is not uncommon in Israel for Messianic Jews to be confused with other faith communities. Messianic believer Gershon Nerel explained that the term “Messianic Jew” also describes Jewish settlers in Judea and Samaria, as well as followers of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.1 Furthermore, the organization “Jews for Jesus” often stands pars pro toto for the whole community. Haaretz, one of Israel’s largest dailies, wrote in 2006: “The movement (of Messianic Jews) is also known as Jews for Jesus.”2
The late Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, warned of the sect of the “guru” (Jesus), as...
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