Orthodox Jewish extremists crashed a Messianic gathering in Jerusalem over the weekend. According to eyewitnesses that spoke to Israel Today, dozens of religious Jews rallied in front of the entrance to the Pavilion event hall in downtown Jerusalem to block local believers from attending an annual concert of new Hebrew-language worship songs written over the past year.
“They wouldn’t let us enter. I was pushed aside violently,” said Professor Gideon, a Messianic Jew and Dean of the School of Sciences at Tel Aviv Academic College. “There were families with small children and the religious were pushing and cursing,” Gideon said. “The children were really frightened. Many were crying.”
Police eventually arrived at the site, but the anti-Messianic group refused to leave. The screams and shouts continued as police lead the Messianics into the auditorium through a side emergency door. “In the end we managed to praise God with the new Messianic songs,” Suzanna Mark, a Messianic Jewish soldier in the IDF told Israel Today. “We prayed for the Orthodox who continued screaming throughout the concert. When the concert was over the police had to escort us out the side door on order to avoid any more violence,” she said.
Among the protestors, Messianics were surprised to find Benzi Gopstein, a member of the municipal council of the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba and Director of Lehava, a right-wing religious group. Israel Today contacted Gufstein, but has yet to receive a response as to why he chose to join the disruptive anti-Messianic protest.
“We came together to sing songs and worship God,” Prof. Gideon said. “We weren’t disturbing anyone. They believe differently than us, but why do that feel they have to disrupt us with such belligerence? What they did is illegal, and they should be arrested,” he said. “If someone in the government would stand up to them, there might be a chance of stopping these kinds of harassment,” Gideon continued. “But there isn’t and the religious institutions in Israel are extremely powerful.”
We asked Gideon if he thinks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be giving so much power to the religious parties in Israel in order to form his new government. “I stay away from politics,” the professor smiled. “No comment,” he said.