After many years of working hard to transform Israel’s desert into a fruitful land, we now live in nice towns. The land’s transformation has brought many new immigrants to Israel. They speak many languages and are highly educated, but they do not know the Bible.
The ultra-Orthodox organizations here take advantage of these immigrants and proselytize them. They are not persecuted for doing so. But we Jewish Christians are persecuted for sharing our faith, yet our congregation is growing.
Ultra-Orthodox men go from house to house, warning newcomers to avoid contact with people who believe in Christ. Since I live among many of the immigrants and speak their languages, we have many nice, long conversations about faith and the Bible. Often, we arrive at the subject of Christ.
Our conversations always remain friendly. I never approach anyone and say, “You must believe in Christ!” The ultra-Orthodox try to reach people in such a demanding way to persuade them to their way of thinking, but I merely show people what the Bible says.
I told them we must know on whom the Lord has laid our iniquity, as it is written in Isaiah 53:6.Recently, I asked some of these immigrants, “Have you heard about the Bible?”
One answered, “Of course! It is the most important book of all time, especially for us Jewish people.” We began talking about what is written in God’s Holy Word.
Then one declared, “But we must be very careful to avoid those who try to make us Christians.”
I try to be patient with people who are suspicious of Christians. As it is written in 2 Timothy 2:24, “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient.”
I handed them a Bible and said, “Read, and you will see with your own eyes that those who come to you trying to warn you about Christians are blind. They will never come to you with the Holy Bible, which was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Instead, they come with fictitious stories written by men who consider themselves wise in the Law. Have any of them ever come to you with the Bible?”
“No, none of them,” one replied.
“That is because they have believed in their many teachers, who teach them error,” I said. “You are on your way to becoming their sheep—people who follow them. But now you have a chance to know the full truth, which you can find only in the Holy Scriptures.”
They earnestly began to ask me questions. One asked, “What is the most important part of the Bible to read?”
I told them we first must understand there is only one God, as it is written in Deuteronomy 6:4, a verse many Jewish people pray three times a day. Second, I told them we must know on whom the Lord has laid our iniquity, as it is written in Isaiah 53:6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
As I quoted Isaiah, several passersby joined our conversation and accused me of spreading Christianity. Unlike the immigrants, they have lived in Israel a long time and studied in an Orthodox yeshiva. The immigrants did not know what to say concerning their accusations toward me.
I told my accusers, “Have a good look at this book, and tell me from which book I have read. Which book is more important— the Holy Bible, or one containing those old, traditional, rabbinical stories?”
Of course, all of them said the Bible is more important. Then they began to ask me many questions. One in particular I have heard many times before: “How can you speak about faith with no beard or special clothing?”
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Pray these people will turn to the Word of God and give their hearts to the God of Israel.
—The Friends of Israel Archives, July 2004
Zvi Kalisher (1928–2014) was a Holocaust survivor who was known for his unswerving faithfulness to the Lord and his bold witness in Jerusalem. He was with The Friends of Israel for more than 55 years.