Haredi man arguing with Messianic Jew
Photo: Matan Melekh
Messianic Jews took to the streets of the central city of Rehovot on Wednesday and handed out pamphlets of the New Testament in an attempt to convince passersby to convert.
Ultra-Orthodox residents were outraged by the site and began beating the missionaries. Secular passersby also joined in the action, and eyewitnesses said screams and curses could be heard.
The ultra-Orthodox grabbed the pamphlets from the Messianic Jews, tore them to pieces and threw them in a nearby garbage bin.
One passerby told Ynet, "I think this is a kind of manipulation that is applied mostly on new immigrants. The State also prohibits missionary activity. These are Jewish missionary acts that target Jews.
"What shocked me was the violence in the area, and that the passersby did not act to stop it. Their activity in our area has continued to increase recently – they seem to have made the area a target for themselves."
The Messianic Judaism stream has been active in Israel for some 40 years.
The movement has its origins in American Evangelistic churches and its purpose is to convert Jews to Christianity.
Messianic Jews consider themselves to be following in the footsteps of Jesus' first followers, who were Jews.
Some of the Messianic Jews continue to keep part of the Jewish traditions and customs.