Zvi Jul/Aug 2012
I am always looking for a chance to speak with people about our Savior, Yeshua Hamashiach (Hebrew for “Jesus the Messiah”). And often people are looking for me, but they want to make trouble for me because of my faith. The ultra-Orthodox in particular do everything they can to make trouble for people who believe in Christ.
Few ultra-Orthodox young men become soldiers. There has been a great controversy over this issue in Israel because the government exempts ultra-Orthodox students from enlisting in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
I have lived in Jerusalem for 65 years, and many people know in whom I have believed. Recently several ultra-Orthodox young men came looking for me to argue with me. And what did they boast about? Being in the IDF.
“You see what we are doing for this land of Israel,” one said. “We were in the army, fighting for our land! And you? What are you doing to help Israel? And your children, what do they do? They do not serve in the army. They are as bad as you, and you are worse than our sworn enemies because you have run away from Judaism. You are against all that is written in our Holy Bible.”
I listened patiently until they finished their abusive tirade. Then I asked, “So where have you taken part in those wars against our enemies?”
Then the truth came out: “Not we,” one said, “but our parents. We are very proud of what our parents have done for the land of Israel.”
“I am happy to hear your parents are such great heroes,” I replied. “And, of course, I expect your parents have received the highest decoration our country offers.”
“Our parents are the greatest heroes!” one said. “You do not even know what you are talking about!”
So I said again, “Of course, your parents have many medals of decoration.”
The men merely looked at me and resumed their rant: “You must be ashamed that you never served in the army. Nor did your sons serve because they were afraid to be soldiers—so afraid they even changed their faith!”
Finally, I had spent enough time listening patiently to all their boasting. So I replied, “You think of yourselves and your family as such big heroes. What did you do in all those wars? ”
First they became quiet. Then they suddenly began yelling at me again: “How can you speak with us about medals and decorations when you never took part in any war for this country? Neither you nor your sons!”
“Well,” I replied, “then your parents must have received great decorations from the army, if they are such great heroes. Let me show you what the highest decoration actually looks like.”
“You are a liar!” one shouted. “We have heard about you!”
“What will you do if I show you the highest decoration the army gives, signed by several famous generals who gave it to me?”
“Such a thing would be difficult to believe. We want to see it in black and white!” one demanded.
So I showed them. I came to Israel from Poland as a teenager after the Holocaust and fought in all of Israel’s wars for almost 40 years. Also, all three of my sons have served in the Israeli military, as well as my daughter.
When they saw I had received the highest decoration this country offers, they almost went berserk. “How can this be?” they shouted. They examined it from all sides, trying to make sure the signatures were not forged. But they recognized the generals’ signatures and could see they were genuine. So they grew quiet. Then they began speaking to me with the highest respect. And if that were not enough, they also summoned their friends, who usually despise people like me who believe in Jesus.
Then one said, “Now we will open a new part of our conversation. We want to know how you came to believe in Christ.”
It was a great surprise that he actually spoke the word Christ and did not use the words This Man, as all ultra-Orthodox do because they will not speak our Savior’s name.
“How could you take part in all those wars for the land of Israel and believe in Him?” they wanted to know.
“I will tell you,” I replied. “I am an Israeli Christian. And as I am faithful to our faith, so, too, I am faithful to my land—the land God has given to us.”
“But God gave the land to His Chosen People Israel. You consider yourself a part of the Chosen People of God, but you are not—are you?” one asked.
“Yes, I am,” I replied. “So are all Jewish people who follow God according to what is written in the Bible. We are not like you. We do not listen to stories told by teachers. We do not follow rabbinical tradition. Instead, we read God’s Word and let the Holy Spirit of God teach us. You do not serve God but, rather, your teachers. And you spend your lives listening to them instead of to what God says in His Holy Word, where it is written, ‘You shall fear the Lᴏʀᴅ your God and serve Him’” (Dt. 6:13).
They left saying they would discuss the matter with their rabbis. This was one of the most interesting witnessing experiences I have had. These men need our prayers. Please pray the God of Israel will show them the truth.