CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli rabbis, appalled that a Messianic Jewish teenager is among the four finalists in the annual International Bible Quiz, have called for a boycott.
Yad L'Achim, an ultra-Orthodox anti-missionary group, alerted rabbis nationwide that Bat-El Levi, a high school junior from Beersheba, and her family are Messianic Jews.
"Messianics are missionaries who proselytize in very sophisticated ways. It is forbidden [by the rabbis] to give them legitimacy by allowing them to take part in the quiz," said Rabbi Shlomo Aviner.
Rabbi Aviner, chief rabbi of Beit El and head of the Aterot Cohanim yeshiva in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem's Old City, is a leader of Israel's religious Zionist movement.
Several leading rabbis joined in the call for a boycott, but the Education Ministry maintains that the teenager is Jewish and therefore not disqualified from participating in the "Global Bible Quiz for Jewish Youth."
Chief Counsel for the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, Calev Myers, said the rabbis' boycott demonstrated the "weakness of that world."
"If the participation of a Messianic Jewish [young] lady is enough to shake up those rabbis' worlds, it shows the weakness of that world," Myers told Jerusalem Post correspondent Matthew Wagner.
"Why should they have a problem with a young woman who knows how to quote from the Bible?" he asked.
"It is about time that they stop having a monopoly over determining who is a Jew. The beauty of the Jewish world is diversity. If you can still be considered a Jew if you believe that the Lubavitch Rebbe [Menachem Mendel Schneerson] is the messiah, the same thing should hold true if you believe Yeshua [Jesus] is," Myers said.
Source: The Jerusalem Post