Israeli soldier rejected God, then he found Jesus

Jewish Christians in Israel
There are plenty of Jewish Christians in Israel

By Alexia Hess-

Born Jewish in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tamir first heard about Jesus watching Super Book cartoons broadcast from Cyprus by the 700 Club. But at age 16, he turned to atheism because “nothing worked out” for him.

“God, I’m going to go to war against you,” he vowed solemnly, embarking on atheism. “As soon as I said that, it dawned on me that if there’s no God, there’s no meaning in warring against God.”

Struck by the irony, Tamir nevertheless committed to the quest of finding meaning to life with a determination to eschew God, he said on the So Be It! Channel on YouTube.

He was drawn to the arts and won praise in everything he did – photography, sculpting, drawing – but got no satisfaction from it. He got into theater but was depressed by it.

Tamir, a Jewish Christian in Israel
Tamir, a Jewish Christian in Israel

He forayed into reading philosophy and was wowed by the genius of Neitzsche. But Neitzsche’s conclusions were stark, cynical, and bleak.

He had been born of an Israeli-born mother whose parents immigrated from Poland. His father had immigrated from Iraq.

At age 18, he was drafted, like all Israeli young people, and found himself lost without his support networks of friends and family, with no opportunity to do anything creative. He was placed in the most despised wing of the Israeli Defense Forces, the military police, he says.

It was an intense and lonely time in his life. Upon swearing his loyalty to country and army, he placed his hand on a Jewish Bible that had been given to him, the Old Testament. While he shunned God previously, now he was curious.

Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv

So, two years after swearing off God, he found himself reading the Jewish Bible. He reveled in the beautiful poetry of Isaiah. Against his expectations, Tamir was being drawn back to God.

“At that point, regardless of everything, I started to turn back to God and to ask for his help,” he says. “I couldn’t do any art or anything creative. I was in the most terrible place in the Army, which is the military police. There’s nothing more hated than the military police.”

He longed to do what he was good at, art. He started to paint the walls of his barracks, coloring images that his commanders wanted, not vandalism.

His talent got noticed. Even though the military police branch of the army had no arts, ultimately Tamir got assigned to making graphic instructional pamphlets. It was 1999.

Christianity in Israel
Christianity in Israel

“We did cool tutorials for soldiers of what to do when a missile drops, or how to check if a weapon is biological or chemical,” Tamir says. “I knew that God was working in my life because he answered my prayer and brought me to that place.”

Now open to God, Tamir heard Jewish talk and hopes about the coming Messiah. “I had no idea what the Messiah was,” he says. “It got me thinking, what is Messiah going to be?”

At the end of the year, a female soldier joined the media team. He was shocked because she happened to be a follower of Jesus.

“What? Are you a Christian? You’re not even Jewish if you have converted to Christianity,” he objected. “That’s a religion for the Gentiles.”

“I thought she was crazy,” he adds. “But I had a problem with that. She was the least crazy person I ever met. She was the most okay, normal, nice person that I ever met. So that intrigued me.”

Tamir had a New Testament at home that he dug out and started to read.

Reading the genealogy, he was struck with the impeccable Jewishness of Jesus. “It starts to go through the names of the Bible,” he remembers.

He fact-checked everything in the New Testament with citations in the Old Testament. Suddenly, all of Isaiah could be understood more clearly.

“My eyes were opened,” he says. “Isaiah was talking about issues of the heart, that people do things that make them look righteous, but their heart is corrupt.”

The truths he was discovering resonated with his own heart. His consciousness of sin grew.

“Someone lit the light, someone pulled the curtain, and now I saw,” he marveled.

He saw the Old Testament prophecies, that the Jews would be scattered in exile if they disobeyed God, fulfilled in his own family’s life. His grandfather almost died fleeing from the Nazis in Poland in 1935. “God brought them to Israel just like he prophesied in the Old Testament,” he says.

The New Testament is “so Jewish,” he concluded.

Tamir surrendered his life to Jesus as his Lord and Savior and was born again.

Since following Jesus, his friends and parents have not understood, Tamir says. “They thought it was just a lie, but that’s exactly what Jesus said would happen,” he adds. “The people I told these things to never wanted to check the books. A lot of it was laziness.”

Today, Tamir teaches scriptures, both Old and New Testament, in Israel.

“God defeated me in the battle I challenged him to,” Tamir says. “But he made me the winner.”

If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here

About the writer of this article: Lexy Hess studies at Lighthouse Christian Academy near the Pico-Robertson neighborhood in Los Angeles.


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