While world sits in judgement over Israel's response to try and halt Palestinian violence on our border with Gaza, the Israeli army is teaching our soldiers to love your neighbor as yourself.
I am talking about a nationwide project called "Mekinot," the government financed p
academy educating high school graduates to serve in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). This wonderful initiative represents the essence of modern Zionism giving our young people solid ethical and moral foundations with which to serve our nation. "Young adults of all backgrounds, from north and south, Left and Right, religious and non-religious, dedicate one year to repairing the society in which we live, by volunteering, learning about the other and expanding their comfort zone," says Danny Zamir, CEO of Mekinot.
||Prime Minister Netanyahu with Mekinot
The project has great potential for leading social change in
the State of Israel by training our young people to dedicate 3-4 years of their young lives to serving the country with
, dedication and integrity and developing vibrant and valuable future leadership to the State of Israel. I am in awe of the motivation of these young adults who dedicate an additional year to their mandatory military or national service in order to contribute to the place we all call home.
Some of Mekinot's initiatives include: acquainting Arabs and Jews, Judaism and democracy, integrating people from marginalized populations and people with disabilities, social initiatives by volunteering in local communities. Recently, however, the Mekinot began a new initiative: Getting to know Messianic Jews.
Surprised by Joy
Messianic leaders around the country have been asked to host groups from the Mekinot program to explain to the cadets about our faith as Jews who believe in Yeshua. For me it has been an honor to spend hours with these vibrant young people talking about the Bible, faith in God and how we believe that Yeshua is the promised Messiah to Israel. From all my experiences with both religious and secular cadets, I can tell you that they are extremely respectful, ask intelligent and meaningful questions and show genuine interest in what it means to be a Jewish follower of Yeshua. I am so proud to live in a country that gives our future leaders the opportunity to understand who Yeshua really is, undoing some of the anti-Semitic Christian version of Jesus my people have experienced for too long.
Of course, this was not always the case. When I served in the IDF, I was ridiculed and prevented from serving in certain units because of my faith in Yeshua. In was not long ago that Messianic Jews were prevented from serving as officers in many units and were not allowed to serve in Intelligence units. Today, because of the quality and devotion of a young generation of Messianic Jews serving in the IDF and the citizens of our beloved nation, Yeshua, the greatest Jew who ever lived, and his Jewish followers, are embraced.
At Beit Immanuel...
We hosted around 2000 high school students at Beit Immanuel this week. This is part of a typical field trip for students to visit places of historical interest. On these field trips students are asked to prepare a report on the history of Beit Immanuel dating back over a hundred years including interesting personages from the early days of Zionism. However, this time, in addition to the usual history questions, teachers asked the students to report on, "Who are the Messianic Jews?" It just so happened, that one of the girls in the class is a member of our congregation, so she raised her hand, "I am a Messianic Jewess, I can tell you about our faith," she shouted.
I am a bit lost for words as the willingness of the people of this land help their children gain a
deeper appreciation for Yeshua and New Testament faith comes as somewhat of a surprise. For those of us who grew up in this land and experienced the anger (and sometimes hatred and violence) towards our Messiah, it is not easy to grasp how attitudes have changed so dramatically, so quickly. But then again, Israel are God's chosen people, Yeshua is a wonderful Messiah and this is as it should be.