Aliyah Expert: Messianic Jews and Aliyah!

This was the headline of a feature in the Jerusalem Post today:

This column is written by Maurice Singer who is an independent consultant and former Senior Aliyah Consultant at the Jewish Agency. In other words, he has been a major player in the area of Jewish immigration to Israel. Click here to read the article (scroll down near bottom).

In his column people ask him various questions about how to immigrate to Israel. One of the questions came from a Messianic Jewish couple and was as follows:


We are Messianic Jews and would like to make Aliyah. How difficult would this be?”

As an expert this must not be the first time he has encountered the controversial question of Messianic Jews and aliyah. Nevertheless, here was his response.


“From the inquiries that I have received, I have come to the conclusion that there seems to be two different interpretations of the meaning of “Messianic Jews”. One seems to be people born Jewish who have embraced Jesus as the Messiah and follow the New and Old Testament. The other appears to be people not of Jewish birth who support the Jewish religion and who believe in both testaments. If the questioner is the former then it would appear that he/she is entitled to make Aliyah in accordance with the Law of Return. If the latter is the case then the questioner does not qualify for Aliyah.”

What? Are you kidding!

In other words this non-Messianic Jewish expert is saying it doesn’t matter what a person of Jewish lineage believes, he/she is qualified to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return.

MY OH MY! How Things Have Changed!

Until recently there is no way we would have seen such a response in print from the mainstream Jewish world in a paper like the Jerusalem Post. I could hardly believe my eyes that this would be his response despite the current reading and interpretation of the Law of Return especially by the Orthodox Jewish community that would say that Messianic Jews have left the fold of Jewish faith and therefore do NOT qualify to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return.

Is this issue less controversial than it was 40 years ago when the revival first broke out in the late 1960’s?

Has the Messianic communities hard work inside and outside of Israel through the Joseph Project etc slowly cultivated an appreciation for our community and a lessening of tensions and greater acceptance?

Whatever it is, the response of this aliyah expert is quite remarkable!

As Bob Dylan once wrote, “The times they are a changin”.

Joel Chernoff

~The views contained in The Joel Chernoff Report are not necessarily views held by the MJAA~

25 responses to “Aliyah Expert: Messianic Jews and Aliyah!

  1. Shalom!

    Joel, all I can think of is this: The Joseph Project is affecting the entire dough!

    Who in Israel cannot be affected in this Great Mitzvah? Israel is knowing the Messianic Jews by their fruit! HOW EXCITING for what this could mean for the Messianic Jews desiring to make aliyah!

    The Joseph Project is the Lord’s Fast (Is 58) and it is marvelous in our eyes!




  2. Wonderful news, Joel. Let’s hope his words are backed up in reality.

    There was an article put out today on YNetNews about Messianic Jews in Britian looking to make aliyah, but being denied by the Ministry of Interior.

    So it sounds like it may still be an issue, but as you say, I think times are changing for the better.

    • joelmchernoff

      Shalom Judah,
      I think the point is that this experts opinion and its publication in the Jerusalem Post is very different than the party line we have heard for the last 40 years. I couldn’t believe my eyes. In the big picture its very telling.

  3. David Joseph

    Joel – Thank you. I read this on JP also and felt the same way. It is helpful to me to hear an opinion of someone who is closer to it than I am. Shalom.

  4. It is joyous to see the turn around for the Jews who follow Yeshua! I know it has been harder for those then for others to move to The Land. Baruch HaShem!!


    So…a gentile who has joined with Adonai and His People by observing Torah and accepting Yeshua as the Lamb, Messiah…is still only permitted to move if they call themselves….what? Christian? I personally struggle with that ‘label’ and find myself less connected with what the world knows as ‘christian’ now….so….

    Unless we could find out we were Hebrew by birth-line….I guess ‘christian’ it is as our only choice…..

  5. Yes, agreed, it is a very different stance than we’ve heard in the past.

    My younger brother, a believer in Yeshua, is currently living in Israel but having a very hard time getting citizenship. He wants to join the IDF as well, but currently he’s staying there on a foreign worker’s visa if I recall right.

    I’m hoping that as we see the situation change, real action and real world realignment occurs.

    In the end, I trust the Lord has the situation in full control and will work things out according to His plan.

    Shalom, Joel!

  6. I’m thrilled that Jews (by lineage) who consider themselves Messianic now apparently are no longer considered as non Jews, and allowed to return home.
    Hopefully this would soon include us non Jewish Believers who hold the messianic view, to be able to make aliyah as well. I’m looking forward to that day.

    Until then, we will have to wait, before our family can move to the Land, or Until Yeshua Himself gathers us to Him, and returns us there.


    • joelmchernoff

      Shalom Tanja,
      The Law of Return gives Jews by lineage only a
      right to immigrate. All others do not have that right by lineage. I don’t believe that Messianic Jews now have an uncontested path to immigration but this article reveals a trend or shift in that direction.
      Joel Chernoff

  7. We made Aliyah in ’89 at a time when there were court cases against Messianic Jews– not against us but it made the immigration offices more wary. It was a struggle to receive our papers but it was not because any one suspected us… it was because we are fulfilling prophecy and the Enemy did not want us here. Our Aliyah was in the hands of the Lord not the MOI. The Word of God is more powerful than any edict or opinion and when He says ‘Go’… go. He will make a way. He will give wisdom. He will bring you in with a mighty and outstretched hand!

  8. Shalom Joel,
    I don’t want to sound ignorant, I am merely clarifying what I have read, does this mean if you are born of Jewish parents and are a Messianic Jew you can now make Alliyah? Ort is this still being fought. Are there any other requirements that you know of to have a duo citizenship for America/Israel?


    • joelmchernoff

      Read David Stern’s response for a good feel for the “on the ground” issues in Israel. The issue is still controversial in Israel, however, headway is being made for the heart’s and mind of our people. That was my point.

  9. David H. Stern

    In the Beresford cases (1989, 1992) the High Court of Justice ruled that a Jew (i.e., a person born to a Jewish mother or a convert to Judaism) who honors Yeshua as the Messiah has become “a member of another religion” than Judaism for purposes of the Law of Return and therefore is ineligible for aliyah. This ruling is still in force.

    However, to enforce this ruling in a particular situation the Interior Ministry needs a reason to deny aliyah. That is, it needs evidence — it can’t just flip a coin and deny citizenship if the coin lands heads. I believe that a person’s personal views about Yeshua are his private property, and no one (including the Interior Ministry) has a right to know what these views are. Therefore, I think that a general answer to all such prying questions should be something like, “My views and opinions on [subject X] are private, and I don’t wish to answer this question.” If the Ministry has objective evidence that someone believes Yeshua is the Messiah — e.g., he has been attending such-and-such a Messianic Jewish congregation for a year-and-a-half — then that will be the basis for refusing citizenship. A person can supply countervailing evidence and hope for the Ministry to reverse itself. Or he can appeal the decision in the courts, but I would not expect the appeal to succeed.

    If a person is not the child of a Jewish mother but has a Jewish father or even one Jewish grandparent (other than the mother’s mother), he has the undisputed right to make aliyah under the Law of Return. However, to provide the person with this eligibility for aliyah, the Jewish father or grandparent must not have become a member of a religion other than Judaism.

  10. Right Joel, i understood that it’s still a weak progress, but nonetheless it is an improvement.

    To David Stern,
    What about the Jews or descendants that profess no Religious affiliation with Judaism, but rather are atheist? Can they return without troubles?



    • David H. Stern

      I’m not a lawyer, but I believe the answer is Yes. In any case, there are lots of Jewish atheists in Israel who made aliyah.

  11. You know Joel Chernoff’s new blog is doing well when the venerable and honored David H. Stern is posting in the comments! 🙂

    Blessings in Messiah’s name to Joel, David, and all of you.

  12. Thanks, Dr. Stern, for the primer on the Beresford case.

    It’s really a pity that under this judicial opinion, Messianic Jews who are halachically Jewish are the ONLY Jews ineligible for aliyah. Those with more tenuous biological claims to Jewish identity are permitted to immigrate, while those that the Orthodox establishment would consider legitimate Jewish heretics are left behind.

    Joel, forgive me for my cynicism, but I think Mr. Singer’s statements were merely the views of an individual lawyer … not an indication of a policy change. It’s certainly hope-inducing to see a friendly face in Israel’s immigration bureau, but we’ve got a long way to go.

    • joelmchernoff

      Shalom Marshall,
      I’m not sure how far we have to go on this issue. There is much positive movement and realigning of perceptions concerning Messianic Jews under the surface because of factors I have previously alluded to. I agree that there is much irony and even silliness in the way the Law of Return is applied. However, all of this silliness is because of one very important issue–Yeshua. The day of Israel’s revival is now. Our day is coming! In my view, sooner rather than later.

  13. Nicolas Real

    Dear Joel
    This is amazing, again The Word Of ELOHIM will be fullfilled… Just wait until somebody ask How about DNA testing and genealogy by genetics … Remember Genetics is the word of the day, and eventually it will play a roll in this exiting agenda… you will see remember we cannot be counted, just like the stars in the universe

  14. Shalom Joel:

    Yeshar Koach to you my friend.
    You are a breath of fresh air among the blogg sites.

    My mishpocha looks forward to the day we also return to Israel.

    Please continue your watchful eye and reporting of the Obama Administration. It means a lot to those of us in the Messianic Jewish Communities to know a true believer is on the job.

  15. Messianic Jews are Jews, because they believe Yahshua is the Jewish Messiah and They Follow Judaism. To deny their honest belief of Yahshua as messiah would be anti-jewish. The Lord teaches to be knowledgeable and understand and to believe in the truth. If we know that Yahshua was truly messiah and if we see all the scripture and non-scriptural evidence which to us clearly shows he was messiah, then it is only right to say what we believe. It’s a sin to lie. It’s more about the truth really. Judaism of course is about The Lord G-d, and The Commandments, The Teachings Of The Lord. “Thou shall not Believe in Yahshua” is not one of them. Jews are divided with arguments, and we this this today by the existence of sects. The way “Haredi” call “Messianics” heretics or Non-Jews, is the same way Sadducees claimed true orthodoxy and called pharisees the heretics and non-jews. The same way Maimonides was a heretic in his day. Pharisaic influence expresses free interpretation, basically personal understanding. So even in that sense, Messianics are simply doing just that. Personal understanding and expressing what they honestly believe through both evidence and their own understanding. I’m pretty sure Haredi’s like to call Kabbalists non-jews because of the Ten Emanations Theory, which I also criticize, but that’s just to show you that It’s simply People arguing amongst each other, Jews arguing amongst each other. The point being, Believing in Yahshua is Jewish. If you want to be really critical, There is True Judaism, and then there is paraphrased judaism that many people listen to more than The Lord’s Own Words. People listen to Maimonides more than The Lord. It’s more like Talmudism, Maimonidism, Spinoza-ism. Go back to the REAL orthodoxy. Listen to THE LORD, NOT CORRUPTIBLE MEN. What’s better, The Lord’s Word, or a man’s paraphrase of what’s already pure and perfect?

  16. I’m a born again Jew, making Aliyah. Do you have any tips or advice. I know about the law of return but will the Jewish agency help us financially to get there if they know who I am? which I think they do through my unsaved family informing them. We’re going to need help getting there financially . Hope to hear from you. B’shlomo, D’vorah

  17. May I change the subject? You have been discussing Jews making Aliyah but, what about Israel (10 tribes)?
    I am Israel. My forefathers were taken by the Assyrians in 721bc. My family broke from the line as they were walking to Assyria and made it across the Euphrates, making the Black Sea area their home.
    They were suppose to go home (back to Israel) in 331bc (see the prophecy in Ez 4). But, they did not! So what does the Torah say?… 7 times more (Lev 26). 390 years x 7 = 2730 years. Add 2730 to 721bc and it takes us to 2010… the year of the return.
    I am planning to go home once the new year starts (Abiv 1). However, the door is not open to me! I am not a Jew (Judah), I am Israel. So, your laws do not take into account that it is time for the 10 tribers to come home.
    My family has a covenant with YHWH. It is the same one or forefather broke when they worshiped the golden calf. I am your brother, Judah. And I want to come home. What about me?
    I think Judah would be happy to see me. My family is strong, obedient, kind, and friendly. We do not like idol worship! We have repented and teach Torah to our children.
    We are expecting the door to open by YHWH Himself in 2010.
    Judah, will you extend an invitation?

    • You sound like someone who believes in the Ephraimite doctrine. The MJAA believes this teaching to be error. Please go to our web site for the position paper on this matter. In addition, at this moment, except perhaps for the Levites no one know what tribe they are from. The term Jew is generic for anyone from the tribe of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There is no way for you to claim either Judah or any other tribal lineage.

  18. I am a messianic Jew,not by birth as far as i know,but through the seed of Abraham,no longer a gentile.I like Ruth have joined Israel and your people are my people and your G-d my G-d. I pray for the day I can make Aliyah.I know my home is there and I long to come home to stay!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s