To My Messianic Jewish Brothers: Why Aren’t You in Israel?

You want to be an effective witness? Come home, where most of the Jewish people now live.

Messianic Jews can be a far more effective witness in Israel.
Photo: Yehuda Haim/Flash90

Why aren’t more of you making Aliyah (coming back up) to the Land of Israel, especially from North America? Do you not believe that all Jews need to come back to Israel? Shouldn’t we be the first to “come up” in accordance with the commandments?

Surely you are aware that there are more than 700 verses in the Bible that speak about God bringing the Jewish people back to our homeland in the days of restoration. Your estimates say that there are some 200,000-300,000 Jewish believers in North America alone. In Israel, our best estimates show that barely 10,000 Messianic Jews live in the Jewish state. What’s wrong with this picture?


Uncle Samuel Needs You?

When I ask this question many of you tell me that Messianic Jews need to stay in the Diaspora in order to bring the Gospel to the Jewish people still living over there. Similarly, I get answers like “I don’t come because I am not ‘called.’” You say that you believe in the unique call of God on the Jewish people and our “Return to Zion,” but personally you feel the need to stay in North America in order to serve the many Jewish people over there.

And I do appreciate your concerns. But have you ever considered the fact that there are as many Jews living in Israel today as there are in North America? If the almost quarter of a million Messianic Jews who still live in exile are concerned with sharing the Gospel with the Jewish people, why aren’t they making Aliyah? There are at least 20 times more Messianic Jews living in the US alone than there are in Israel, and that means that 70,000 Messianic Jews would need to come to Israel just to even out the numbers and have as many Messianics among the Jews in Israel as are in the US! Yet we hardly hear a trickle of Messianics trying to make the move.


Times of the Gentiles?

We may not like to admit it, but the great majority of Jews who believe that Yeshua is the Messiah have come to faith because of a Gentile witness. In fact, many of the Sabra (born in Israel) believers came to faith while traveling or studying abroad through Gentiles who told them about the Messiah. And the majority of Messianic Jews now living in Israel were already believers before immigrating from the former Soviet Union and North America. This is changing as more (not many) Jewish people are now coming to faith in Yeshua in Israel, which is even more reason for Messianic Jews to come home.

The US is a predominantly Christian nation with millions of Evangelical believers who are sharing their faith with the Jewish people, many of them with a great respect for Jewish roots and customs and with access to huge media opportunities in television, radio and the press. In Israel, there is nothing at all that can compare to this. Not the numbers of believers, nor the freedoms to share the Gospel. The fact is that for most of the Jews in Israel there is little or no opportunity to hear about Messiah. So, staying in North America in order to be a witness to the Jewish people needs to be rethought.


It’s the Law

Before 1967 there were only a handful of Messianic believers living in Israel. Now the numbers have grown as thousands of Messianic Jews have come back from the former Soviet Union and hundreds from Ethiopia instilling life and encouragement to the Messianic Body here. Yet only a very few of the American Messianic Jews have come back.

In 1989, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal by three Messianic Jewish families to immigrate to Israel, concluding that a Jew who believes in Yeshua is not Jewish for Aliyah. Many of you may not be aware that the case brought before the court had the backing and support of American Messianics and US-born Messianic Jews living in Israel, while almost all Israeli Messianic Jews were opposed. We knew and warned that there was no chance of it getting accepted as it was clear to those of us who live here that our nation was not yet ready to accept the idea that a Jew who believes in Yeshua remains Jewish.

This has made it much more difficult and sometimes even impossible for the few Messianic families who have tried to make Aliyah. But this should not stop Messianic believers from trying. Laws can be changed, but the world-wide Messianic community is making it easy for Israel to enforce this unfair ruling because hardly a Messianic Jew bothers to even try to come to Israel.

In the US, you now have your friend Donald Trump as your president, together with a favorable Republican Senate on your side. I hear many of you saying that Trump is a type of the Persian King Cyrus by recognizing Jerusalem as our capital. It was this same Cyrus who opened the way for the Jews to come back to Jerusalem and Israel. Why are you not lining up at the Jewish Agency and Israeli Embassies asking to make Aliyah? This may be as good a time as you will ever get to try and change the law preventing Messianic Jews from immigrating, especially as a New Generation of Messianic Jews in Israel are now making a difference in the Land.


Comfortable lifestyles?

Moving to another land, learning a new language, finding work, adjusting to a new culture all require significant effort, and I understand that many of you are simply not prepared to make these sacrifices. One reason that Messianic Jews have returned to the Land from the former Soviet Union in such large numbers is that life in Israel is more attractive to them than life in Russia or Ukraine. Few from the US feel the same, and for good reason.

But why can’t your Messianic communities and supporters pour a portion of their substantial resources into supporting families that make Aliyah?

What better way to show the Jewish people that we who follow Yeshua are very much still Jewish and that we love the God of Israel and the Jewish nation? Can we imagine what it would look like if 70,000 Jews and their families came to Israel because they believe in Yeshua? What a powerful testimony that would make it impossible for the Jewish communities around the world to ignore. Sure, they’ll put up a fuss, but I don’t see them trying that hard to come back to our homeland.

Dear ones, obedience to our calling to settle the Land could conceivably be a defining moment in the history of the Messianic movement. I can imagine that many of you are even now out of work because of the Corona crisis, so for some there may never be a more opportune time to make the move. Israel is now one of the safest places in the world, but for you my dear brothers and sisters, as well as for our people, Israel is the only place we can call home. Take the call.


Israel Today Membership

Read all member content. Access exclusive, in-depth reports from Israel! Free Zoom events. Connect with Israel right from your home! Raise a voice of truth and hope. Support Faith-based journalism in Jerusalem!


/ month
Full access to Israel Today's Member-only content on all Digital Platforms.
Become a Member


/ year
Full access to Israel Today's Member-only content on all Digital Platforms.
Save 18% Per Month.
Become a Member

Six Months

every 6 months
Full access to Israel Today's Member-only content on all Digital Platforms.
Save 9% Per Month.
Become a Member

Leave a Reply

Israel Today Newsletter

Daily news

FREE to your inbox

Israel Heute Newsletter

Tägliche Nachrichten

KOSTENLOS in Ihrer Inbox

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter