Visiting Israel

After living in Israel for most of your life you’ll see many international groups come to Israel, some with a strong desire to witness to Jews. I believe internationals come to our country with good intentions. I believe they are good people who love the Lord. But as Jewish believers in Israel, we spend a good bit of time clearing up confusion created by visitors with good intentions and no cultural understanding. There are also all sorts of cultural nuances and language barriers we encounter when Israelis hear the Gospel in English for the first time instead of Hebrew.

The apostles had to clarify to the Gentiles that they didn’t have to become Jewish in order to believe in Yeshua. They had to clarify this because, at the time, belief in Yeshua was recognized as a Jewish-only belief. So we have to spend time explaining to them that following Yeshua doesn’t mean abandoning the heritage of their ancestors.

There are definitely methods that may prove to be less effective when trying to evangelize in Israel

I don’t think there’s a perfect way to witness. I also wouldn’t take it on myself to declare certain ways of witnessing as “bad”— but there are definitely less effective methods in different cultures. First, anywhere we go, I believe we should understand the culture and people around us before we take it upon yourselves to represent the message of the Gospel. For example, if a woman goes into an ultra Orthodox synagogue—she shouldn’t expect them to listen to a single word she —as they are not allowed to speak to women. Or, if I were to stand on a street corner in Israel with a sign and start yelling out my message, the only response I would expect to receive is jeering and maybe even a few rocks thrown my way.

Culturally, cold-turkey witnessing doesn’t really work here for several reasons. One is that Jews have a strong sense of identity that is tied to their history. Telling them to believe differently than their parents—and ancestors—is like asking them to switch planets in their mind. Another reason is that historically there’s just so much bad blood between Jews and those who claim to be the followers of Yeshua; there are simply other important conversations that need to be had before you can even approach the subject.

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