Messianic Jews ‘named and shamed’ in J'lem-area town

An anonymous group has taken to distributing flyers with the personal details of those from community who believe Jesus is the messiah.

Messianic Jews 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Messianic Jews 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In an apparent infringement on personal privacy legislation and in defiance of laws preventing incitement, an anonymous group has taken to distributing flyers “naming and shaming” Messianic Jews (Christians) living in the Jerusalem-area town of Mevaseret Zion.
The personal details of some 10 people, including photographs and home addresses, are displayed on the flyer, which was delivered to hundreds of households in the town of 30,000 residents.
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“This reminds me of actions taken by the Ku Klux Klan in the US,” commented one of those listed on the flyer, a Jerusalem-based lawyer who made aliya in 1992. “It is anonymous persecution of others just because they do not agree with our beliefs.”
According to the lawyer, who asked not to be named, it is not clear who is behind the distribution of such material, but the 30 or so Messianic Jewish families that live in Mevaseret Zion are used to such racism.
“There has been a clear campaign against Messianic Jews here,” he said, pointing to a recent court case involving a family that accused the community of trying to indoctrinate their daughter.
The lawyer said the case was thrown out of court last month.
“Most of the Messianic Jews here just want to live their lives quietly and mind their own business,” he said.
“Most are an integral part of society and contribute in many ways such as serving in the army and being productive citizens. This behavior is just baseless harassment.”
As well as the 30 or so families living in Mevaseret Zion, the nearby Yad Hashmona community is home to a further 30 families which, while honoring many Jewish traditions, also believe that Jesus is the messiah. Estimates put the number of Messianic Jews that live in Israel at about 15,000. The community has been subject to attacks in the past.
The lawyer said out that while there are laws in Israel against proselytizing or forcing individuals to join a religion, legislation protecting freedom of religion and practice are stronger.
“Israel encourages freedom of religion,” he said, adding that most Mevaseret Zion residents have spoken out against the flyers and showed their support for the Messianic Jewish community.
“We have been very encouraged by the response of other residents,” he added.

Arie Shaman, the head of Mevaseret Zion’s municipal, council told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that while he had not seen the flyer, he was aware of some families protesting the presence of Messianic Jews in the town.
“There was a public protest here a month ago where a family claimed that their daughter had been indoctrinated by Messianic Jews, but we are a mixed community in Mevaseret Zion and have many people practicing all different religions,” he said, adding that Jews of all affiliations live in his town and families practicing other religions too.
“We provide municipal services to all our residents regardless of their beliefs,” said Shaman, claiming that the distribution of such a flyer breaks privacy laws.
“If we find that to be true, then this could be a case for the police,” he said. “We will need to look into it.”
A police spokesman could not comment Thursday on whether an investigation would be opened.