David is a born street evangelist: He’s outgoing, friendly, has a winning smile and a passion to share the Messiah with people—even in the face of physical attacks. Every week you can find him somewhere on the streets of Tel Aviv, witnessing and praying with people. Here’s his story!
Something is Missing
“I grew up in a traditional Jewish home, that is, we kept the religious traditions. For a while my older brother studied in a yeshiva (a religious school) and my mom highly revered the orthodox way of life. She would go to the rabbis for council and did her best to make sure we all went to the synagogue, particularly on high holidays. I would go, but inside I didn’t connect to anything there, and I felt that there must be something deeper than all this—I didn’t know what it was, whether it was God or not, but I knew that something was missing.
In 2002, after serving in a combat unit in the IDF for three years, I flew to the US and began selling Dead Sea products at a mall. I was making great money and living large: parties, drinking, drugs, all the pleasures that the world can offer. Despite living what I thought was the good life, I wasn’t experiencing real happiness. In my heart I felt something was missing, but I didn’t know what. Then one day at work, I met a Jewish customer who told me something every interesting; he said that he loved to feel God in his life every day. And then he asked me a very interesting question: “Have you ever felt God in your life?” My answer was no, but I wondered to myself, “How can you actually feel God?” When I went home that evening, his question kept nagging me. Finally, I said to God, “I want to know from You what the truth is!” I decided to do something about it: I started reading the Bible.
I was reading in Psalm 22 where it’s written, “My God my God why have You forsaken Me?” and “they pierce my hands and my feet” about someone who’s being tortured and mocked. The moment I read this, I was afraid that it was talking about Yeshu the Notzri (a derogatory name given Him by the rabbis). So, I did what any good son would do: I called my mom! She knows a lot about religion and tradition, and I thought if I read the verse to her she could help me understand it. When she heard what I read, she was as startled as I was and warned me, “That’s a gentile book. We are forbidden to read it.” She thought I was reading something to her from the New Testament! I told her, “Mom, this is from the Hebrew Bible, it’s Psalms!”
A Picture on the Internet
In my search for answers, I started reading and searching on the internet. I always had wondered about the all the sacrifices in the Old Testament, and, in particular, I had wondered why God would ask Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. I’ll never forget this moment: one day while I was looking up information about the sacrifice of Isaac on the internet, I found a picture which showed Abraham offering Isaac as a sacrifice to God, and above it was a picture of Yeshua on the cross—God offering His Son as a sacrifice for us. When I saw this picture, I felt warmth all over my body, and I cried out to God. I felt that Yeshua was right there next to me. That was the moment that I can say that my whole journey with God truly began.
As soon as I accepted Yeshua into my heart, I began devouring the Word. One day I was reading in Isaiah 44 where it’s written in verse 6 that God says, “I am the first and the last.” Not long after that I was reading in Revelation where Yeshua says, “I am the first and the last”, and suddenly I realized that Yeshua is also God. No one had told me! It was a revelation that came straight from Him through His Word. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I was so amazed that I spent the rest of the evening just worshipping Yeshua.
The moment that you believe that Yeshua is God and you cling to Him as God and King, your connection with Him grows much deeper. He’s not just the Savior, the suffering servant Isaiah talks about. He is God and King. Here in Israel many people will say, “Ok, Yeshua is the Messiah. He’s Lord, but He’s not God.” It takes a revelation from God for Jews to get over the hurdle of accepting that the Messiah is also God. Like Yeshua said in John 8 when the Pharisees were challenging Him: I told you that you would die in your sins if you do not believe that I am he. Isaiah 43:10 says, “Understand that I am He…I, even I, am the LORD and Beside Me there is no savior”. Saying, “I am He” to a religious Jewish audience means one thing: I am God.
But, putting the New Testament aside for a moment—the Hebrew Bible itself says that the Messiah is God. Jeremiah 23 says, “I will raise up for David a righteous Branch…This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.” In Zechariah 12 the LORD says, “They will look on Me whom they have pierced”. Isaiah 9:6 says that the child born to us will be called “Mighty God, Everlasting Father”. This revelation of Yeshua as God is so important. I have seen that those who have the full revelation of Yeshua as God experience a deeper relationship with Him because they have the fullness of who He really is.
The more I learned, the more Yeshua won my heart and I just fell in love with Him. When I came to faith in Yeshua, you could say that I was a typical Israeli “punk”: I smoked all the time, cigarettes, nargila (middle eastern water pipes), e-cigarettes. You name it, I smoked it. But as I grew in my faith, I would talk to Yeshua all the time. Once while I was talking to Him, I had an e-cigarette in my hand, and I suddenly I felt disgusted by it and threw it away from me. From then on, I gave it all up. I had been an impatient, hot-tempered person before I came to faith. I come from a Moroccan Jewish background, and Moroccans are known in Israel for their warm but explosive temperaments—that was me. You couldn’t have a normal conversation with me: I’d cut you off. I’d swear. I was prideful and impatient. All of that began to change as I grew in my relationship with Yeshua: He was what I was missing my whole life. His peace touched my heart and changed me for good.
You’ve Betrayed Your People and Your Heritage!
When I first told my parents about my faith in Yeshua, they did not take it well at all. They told me that I had betrayed my religion and my people. My mom, in particular, had a very difficult time. I told her about my new faith during a time when there had been some tragedies in my family, and this news that I had, in her eyes, betrayed my people and my faith, was very difficult for her. She even blamed my believing in Yeshua for the bad things that were happening in the family.
When I moved back to Israel, my parents began to see the changes that had taken place in me. They saw that I was suddenly a serious, responsible person whereas before I was just interested in having fun. They saw that I didn’t have the same bad temper as before, that I wasn’t smoking anymore—they knew how addicted I had been to smoking and drugs. It didn’t take long for them to realize that all these changes in me were because of what God had done for me through his Son. Praise God they now know that He’s not Yeshu the Notzri but Yeshua the Jew who came for all of us—first for the Jews and then for the rest of the world. It’s just that we, the Jewish nation, rejected Him when He came. It’s my heart’s cry that my people would discover their savior and King, Yeshua the Messiah!
The Calling of an Evangelist
When I first came to Tiferet Yeshua, there was a couple who would go out every week to witness on the streets who invited me to join them. We prayed together before we went out and then headed to the streets. At first, I was afaid, and I would let them approach people while I’d stand aside to see if it ended up in punches. After awhile, though, God gave me grace and it came more naturally to me. It’s not easy talking to people about Yeshua, and many Israelis don’t want to hear about Him. But, I feel called to bring the message of the Jewish Messiah to the people of Israel—to ask people, “Why are you here? What does God want from you? What does the Bible say about it?” It’s my prayer that what I share, the questions I ask them will have the same effect on them as that one question someone asked me all those years ago in America, and that they would open their hearts to God and say, “Show me who you are!”