Dear friends,

For nearly 2000 years the majority of our people  have rejected the idea that Jesus is our Messiah. Of course many did believe -  and all of his disciples and those wrote the New Testament were Jews (except Luke). However, over the past 50 years, and since the 1967 Six-Day-War and the restoration of Jerusalem to the Jewish people, Jewish attitudes towards Jesus are changing. Here are two examples of famous and influential Israelis who have spoken out recently in the Israeli media admitting what they really think about the carpenter from Nazareth.

Yochi Brandes was born in Haifa in 1959, the daughter of the famous
Hassidic Rabbi Yitzhak Rabinovitz. Brandes' family tree is littered with eminent Hassidic rabbis and she herself was a star student in ultra-Orthodox schools obtaining holding a BA in biblical studies and an MA in Judaic studies. Brandes has been teaching Bible and Judaism for many years and has even developed much of the curriculum taught on Jewish thought in schools throughout Israel. She regularly participates in TV programs on Jewish studies, has had her own column in a daily national newspaper and was the editor of a series of 50 books on Judaism. Her essays and novels are all best-sellers in Israel and she has been awarded the Book Publishers Association's Platinum Book Prizes for seven of her books.

On Jesus

"I love Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus). My study into the 1st century origins of Christianity lead me to understand he is not responsible for the persecutions and Antisemitism Christians held in his name against  the Jews over the centuries. Yeshua lived as a Jew, and died a Jew. A good Jew. A faithful Jew. A righteous Jew who followed God's laws. Growing up in the Orthodox Jewish world, I was taught that Yeshua is "Yeshu" which stands for "may his name and memory be forever blotted out." Therefore, I make it a point today to call him Yeshua (salvation in Hebrew). In this way I express my love and adoration for this great Jew."

Amnon Rubinstein was born in Tel-Aviv in 1931 and served as
Professor of Law at Tel-Aviv University and Dean of the Law Faculty (1961-75). He writes for the national daily newspaper Ha'aretz. After the Yom Kippur War, he decided academics and journalism were not enough, and entered the world of Israeli politics. Rubinstein founded the centrist party Shinui in 1975 and for 25 years served in the Knesset in a variety of capacities including Education Minister. In 2006, Rubinstein was awarded the Israel Prize. The panel said, "Few can equal Prof. Amnon Rubinstein's contribution to the State of Israel, as a public figure, a member of the legislative and executive branches of government." 

On Jesus

"Yeshua (Jesus in Hebrew) said, 'Do not think that I have come to abolish the law.' The historical Yeshua did not take one thing away from Judaism, he only added to Judaism his vision concerning the Kingdom of Heaven. If he would be resurrected in our days, Yeshua would prefer to pray in a small synagogue and not in one of the magnificent cathedrals built in his name. He died before Christianity became a crusade against his own people, his mother, his brothers and his disciples. But the time has now come to make our peace with Christianity, without forgetting its anti-Jewish past. First of all, we must adopt the writings of Christianity into our national school systems, and with tolerance, and adjustments, even include them in our Orthodox Jewish schools. A interesting example of how this can be done is the Yigal Alon Center (on the Sea of Galilee) where they have initiated a joint pre-military training program for Christian and Jewish soldiers.  We also need to recognize the local Arab Christians in Israel as a continuation of the historical Jesus, protect their places of worship, appoint for their soldiers a Christian chaplain and allow their services to be broadcast over the airwaves on Sundays. These are some of the ways the true multi-cultural nature of Israel can be implemented - but it must begin by making our peace with Yeshua the Jew."
We hope these messages are an encouragement to you and we always love to hear from you too. Drop us a line and share your Good News! 

David Lazarus