Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Messianic Jew causes boycott call from Bible Quiz

And you thought Jeopardy! was dramatic:
A group of religious Zionist rabbis have called for a boycott of this year's International Bible Quiz after discovering that one of the four finalists from Israel is a Messianic Jew who believes Jesus is the true Messiah.

"Messianics are missionaries who proselytize in very sophisticated ways," said Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of the rabbis calling to boycott the quiz.

"It is forbidden to give them legitimacy by allowing them to take part in the quiz."

Other rabbis that have called to boycott the quiz include Shmuel Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safed, Ya'acov Yosef, son of Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Rabbi Tzvi Tau, head of Har Hamor Yeshiva.

The call to boycott the quiz came after Yad L'Achim, a haredi anti-missionary organization, discovered that one of the finalists, Bat-El Levi, an 11th grader from a high school in Pisgat Ze'ev, was a Messianic Jew.

Levi won this year's national bible quiz for state schools and will be one of four finalists from Israel competing for the International Bible Quiz Championship on Independence Day.

The Education Ministry said in response to a query from The Jerusalem Post that the "Global Bible Quiz for Jewish Youth" was open only to Jewish pupils. Regarding Messianic Jews, the pupil in question was Jewish, and therefore, according to the ministry's legal department, was not disqualified from participating.
That is an interesting argument made by the Education Ministry, because my understanding has been that most Jews consider Messianics to be Christians, not Jews. Messianics, generally, consider themselves to be Jews who believe in the divinity of and salvation offered by Yeshua; I've attended a few services and rarely heard the words "Jesus," "Christ," or "Christian."

Reuters appears to have spoken with a relative of Levi, who said the family was unfairly being attacked by the anti-missionary organization.
The relative, who declined to be named, confirmed that Levy and her family “believe in Yeshua Ben-David, the saviour from Nazareth” — Jesus’s Hebrew name. But Yad L’Ahim was wrong in branding Levy a missionary, the family member said.

The family keeps its faith to itself. To these people, anyone who disagrees with their version of Jewish belief is the enemy. I hope God pays them back in kind,” the relative said.


Guy Vestal said...

Just think what they would have done to the kid if it was a "Spelling Bee". Doesn't that get you stoned or something?

Well... Maybe those who opposed had already been stoned? Sorta? Kinda? Well, not really, but should have been?

Ben Plonie said...

This is a simple issue. The Jewish Bible contest in the Jewish state is open to Jews. Messianic Jews are just the new name for Hebrew Christians. I do think that a new competition should be organized for Hebrew Christians, Buddhists, Santeria practitioners, or anyone else who wishes to compete. By all means, let it be held in Uganda or elsewhere. And let the Jews have their own thing.

Stan said...

Jim Crow never died. He now works for Yad L'Achim

Rabbi Dov Lifshitz’s (of Yad Y’Achim) call for a boycott of the Israel Bible Contest reads like the banner article on a 1955 edition of the Birmingham News. It is reprehensible for Lifshitz and his kind that Bat El Levy, a messianic Jew, showed up other Israelis with her knowledge of Torah. Lifschitz would prefer not to eat in the same food establishment, sit on the same bus, or even send his kids to the same school as a Messianic Jew who in his mind do not deserve any human dignity. Does Israeli society really need to endure the cultural spasms United States experienced between 1955-1973 to learn that all people deserve some basic human dignity and that Torah teaches “V’ahavta L’reicha K’mochah?”

S Meyer