March 26, 2008

Haredim vs. Christians

Self-proclaimed Messianic Jews, people claiming to be Jews, but believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah (often using the Hebrew word, Mashiach, to sound more valid) and Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) Jews in Israel have been engaging in increasingly violent attacks upon each other, generally culminating on or around Purim.

Haaretz has a short article with a video: Recent incidents suggest rise in violence between Haredi, messianic Jews.

I used the term "self-proclaimed" before Messianic Jews for a reason: they are not Jewish, they are Christians who observe Jewish ritual. Many of these people who are of this stripe fall within the Jews for Jesus crowd, a proselytizing bunch who seek to bring the message of Christianity under the cover of purported Jewish ritual. These people refer to Jesus as the mashiach, as I noted earlier, and use other Hebrew words in the place of their English counterparts (ie, pesach for passover) in order to sound more Jewish.

The Haredim, especially in Israel, tend to be very reactionary in action and in their piety. They adhere very strictly to rabbinic laws, have their own rabbinic courts (battei din), and are very distinctive in their attire. Generally speaking, it is the Haredim which help to drive policy in Israel, but it must be noted that the Haredim are certainly not the only people who forge out policy. Often the Haredim and psuedo-Jews who fall into the category of Jews for Jesus (Messianic Jews) come into conflict, moreso now than previously, with the expanding psuedo-Jewish population in certain areas of the country.

I think Christians have a right to be in Israel, personally... but they do not have the right to masquerade as Jews while proclaiming Jesus as their messiah (or mashiach for that matter) and provoke unnecessary consternation. The Haredim could stand to be more tolerant, but of course they wouldn't be Haredi if they weren't. A pleasant medium needs to be hit: the Haredim need to chill out and the psuedo-Jews need to just come out with what they are, Christian, and end their self-deception.