EDITOR’S NOTE: Observers around the world have been warning that Israel’s rapid vaccination program is a diabolical scheme by hidden evil forces. In particular, the “Green Passport” is panned as an effort to divide and destroy the Jewish people on par with the Nazi Holocaust. Quite a few of our readers have written and called to inquire of us regarding these claims, especially after they began emanating from local believers in Israel. Avner Boskey, a respected Messianic elder in the country, shares his opinion here.
There is a traditional Yiddish proverb, “Two Jews, three opinions.” We Jewish people are known for the richness of our expressions, in matters religious, literary and philosophical. That’s the positive side of the equation. The other side of this dynamic is crystallized in former Israeli PM Golda Meir’s witty response to American President Nixon, who asked her, “Madame Prime Minister, do you appreciate what it is to be the president of 250 million people?” She replied: “Mr. President, do you appreciate what it is to be the Prime Minister of five million prime ministers?” In Israel everyone has a strong opinion about nearly everything, and sometimes it may seem that everyone is right.
Messianic Jews in Israel also have intense opinions about many issues, especially about perspectives concerning the coronavirus pandemic and its ramifications. How can we bring some clarity and order to these matters?
The Bible has a strong emphasis on the Jewish people, their covenants and their land (see Romans 9:1-5; 11;28-29, etc.). At the same time, let’s remember that the coronavirus pandemic is not primarily or exclusively a Jewish problem. The virus did not emanate from Israel, nor is the Jewish state the only country to be affected by this disease. The various available vaccines developed and tested do not originate in Israel. Mass vaccinations are being administered throughout the world, and not only in Israel. A balanced take on this pandemic requires adopting a planet-wide view, and not an Israel-centric view.
There is a small handful of strident voices coming out of the Israeli Messianic community which declare that the Israeli government is deliberately presenting deceptive and manipulative statistics devoid of logic and scientific fact and is carrying out coronavirus policies which violate the truth. Anyone who does not accept this strident version of events is categorized as ignoring the facts and blindly believing everything they are told.
According to these few individuals, the COVID-19 vaccine is a plot of Satan; Israel is being used as a willing guinea pig and will be responsible for bringing a curse on humanity. These zealous advocates declare that what is happening in Israel is parallel to the rise of German Nazism and will lead to the perishing of many Jews. If Jews do not accept this viewpoint, they are ignoring their own history.
Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter professor of law, emeritus at Harvard Law School, noted only a few days ago that “ignorant and bigoted comparisons [ed. between Nazis and vaccinations] are not-so-subtle forms of Holocaust denial . . . No [such analogies] should ever be made.” He expressed his outrage over such analogies, labeling them a bizarre, bigoted, and ahistorical comparison. Most Messianic believers in Israel would echo Dershowitz’s indignation here. The handful of clamorous voices from Israel broadcasting apocalyptic ‘downfall prophecies’ are unfortunately spreading confusion to their audiences, in a similar fashion as did the ten spies’ evil report in Numbers 13-14.
Over five million Israelis have been vaccinated so far out of just over six million eligible. That high number reflects positive popular sentiment. Most Israelis are thankful for the vaccination and are well aware that contagion and fatality rates have severely dropped within the country. Regarding the just over one million Israelis who have not been inoculated: some have not yet had the opportunity to be vaccinated; others are hesitant about possible negative medical side-effects and are taking a ‘wait and see’ position; some are ideologically opposed to vaccines in general or to this particular vaccine; others are concerned about civil liberties questions regarding government-issued vaccination certificates.
How would most Israelis view these few self-appointed ‘prophets of doom,’ were the latter’s words to be given fuller coverage by Israel’s media? If Israelis heard that some Israeli Messianic Jews are declaring that five million plus Israelis are blind tools of Satan bringing a curse on humanity, co-conspirators with a Last Days vaccine-Nazism, would they be able to realize that these few voices do not represent the mainstream Israeli Messianic movement? Such irresponsible declarations by a few unstable Messianic voices have the potential to bring real harm to the body of Messiah in Israel. These appalling declarations are neither apostolic nor prophetic. As Paul exhorts us, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all. Hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:20-22).
Certainly, not every governmental strategy or decision made regarding the coronavirus pandemic is necessarily 100% kosher, whether in Israel or in any other country. Truth is, most governments and health ministries are desperately trying to figure out and do what’s right in the face of a deadly pandemic. But then again, as Goethe’s popular saying goes, why look for conspiracy when stupidity can explain so much? Charles Krauthammer has noted that whenever you’re faced with an explanation of what’s going on – the choice between incompetence and conspiracy – always choose incompetence. Grafting paranoia onto a trunk of conspiracy theory is not a healthy way of dealing with reality or with any crisis.
One of the great intellectual cancers of our day is conspiracy theories. Author John le Carré comments that “we have learned in recent years to translate almost all of political life in terms of conspiracy. And the spy novel, as never before, really, has come into its own.” A top journalist has noted that “the beauty of any conspiracy theory is that because it can’t be proved, that just makes it more ‘real.’”
Back to Golda once again – she said that pessimism is a luxury that a Jew can never allow himself. The tendency to ‘cry wolf’ – to raise a false alarm or to falsely prophesy imminent judgment – caused the villagers in the Russian folk tale to ignore Peter’s repeated though counterfeit warnings (but it did give Prokofiev an excellent theme for his symphonic fairy tale). The Psalmist gave us some helpful guidance which can stand us in good stead at this time – “Remove the false way from me, and graciously grant me Your teaching” (Psalm 199:29).
Apart from the handful of unbalanced voices referred to above, it is worth noting that there are thousands of secular Israelis expressing concerns about various vaccine-related matters. Some are filing legal complaints, speaking to the media about what they see as legal and medical concerns regarding drug approval, testing protocols, the issue of informed consent, the issue of a ‘green passport’ limiting certain social gatherings only to vaccinated people, etc.
Read more on this hot topic:
- Manna, Vaccines and Everything In-Between
- COVID Vaccine is an “Angel From God”
- Mike Lindell Criticizes Israel Over COVID Vaccination Drive