Number of Christian Jews in Israel Doubles to 10,000

In Israel, the number of Christian Jews, known as Messianic Jews, has doubled in size to about 10,000 due to recent immigration waves, according to Messianic leaders and evangelism opponents.

Eitan Shishkoff, the leader of a Messianic community in Haifa, located about 70 miles north of Jerusalem, says that there are roughly 10,000 members in 80 Messianic congregations around the country.

The population is twice that of 1980’s, when significant numbers of immigrants from the former Soviet Union began entering the country, according to the Jerusalem Post. Shishkoff says that 70 percent of the members in his congregation of 270 are from the Soviet Union.

In Israel, it is illegal for evangelism efforts to involve material benefits for prospective converts, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Yad L’Achim, and "anti-missionary" organisation opposed to "proselytism" since 1950, says that the Russian-speakers are being approached because of their "weak ties to Judaism and poor socioeconomic status," and are being "bought" through material benefits, according to the Post.

Shishkoff denies the allegation. "Maybe a few of our members first came in contact with us through the charity, but 98 percent of them didn’t – make that 99.9 percent," he said.

Francis Helguero
Christian Today Correspondent