A Street Evangelist is Born
David is a “born” street evangelist: He’s outgoing, friendly, has a winning smile and a passion to share the Messiah—even in the face of physical attacks. This is the story of how a "forbidden book" changed his life forever.
As told to Tamar Afriat – www.TiferetYeshua.org
David is a “born” street evangelist: he’s outgoing, friendly, has a winning smile and a passion to share the Messiah—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…in his own words.
I grew up in a traditional Jewish home. 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 counsel 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 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 the high life with all the pleasures the world had to offer. Despite doing virtually everything I felt like doing, I didn’t experience real happiness. In my heart I felt something was still missing, but I didn’t know what.
Then one day at work, a Jewish customer told me something very interesting; he said 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 soon came across 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 it was talking about Yeshu the Notzri (a derogatory name given Yeshua by the rabbis). So, I did what any good Jewish boy would do: I called my mom!
My mom 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 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
My search continued. I had always wondered about all the sacrifices in the Old Testament, and, in particular, I had wondered why God would ask Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. One day, while I was looking up information about the sacrifice of Isaac on the internet, I found a painting of Abraham offering Isaac as a sacrifice to God. Right above it though, was a picture of Yeshua on the cross—God offering His Son as a sacrifice for us. I suddenly understood it. For me, that was the point of no return.
As soon as I accepted that Yeshua was my Messiah, I began devouring the Word, wanting to learn as much as I could. I came across Isaiah 44 where it’s written in verse 6 that God says, “I am the first and the last.” Soon after, I saw the same line in Revelation where Yeshua says, “I am the first and the last.” Suddenly I realized that Yeshua was not just Messiah, but also Divine. No one had told me!
The moment I believed Yeshua is a part of God, my connection with Him grew much deeper. He’s not just the Savior, the suffering servant Isaiah talks about. He is God and King. Here in Israel, some people may come to the conclusion that Yeshua is the Messiah spoken of in the Jewish Scriptures. “Ok,” they’ll say, “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.
When I came to faith in Yeshua, you could say I was a typical Israeli “punk.” You name it, I smoked it. But as I grew in my faith, I would talk to Yeshua all the time. One day while I was talking to Him, I had an e-cigarette in my hand, and I suddenly felt disgusted by it and threw it away. From then on, I gave it all up.
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 I had betrayed my religion and my people. My mom, in particular, had a very difficult time. It didn’t help that I broke the news to her 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.
However, when I moved back to Israel, my parents began to see the changes that had taken place in me. 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.
My family saw that I was suddenly a serious, responsible person whereas before I was just interested in fooling around. They knew how addicted I had been to smoking and drugs and suddenly I wasn’t doing any of that. It didn’t take long for them to realize 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! He 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—just as we rejected many other prophets God sent throughout the Bible. But there was always a remnant among the Jews who believed.
The Calling of an Evangelist
When I first came to Tiferet Yeshua Congregation, a couple who would go out every week to witness on the streets invited me to join them. We prayed together before we went out and then headed to the streets. At first I was afraid, and I would let them approach people while I’d stand aside to see if it ended up with punches thrown. After a while, though, God gave me grace and it came more naturally for me.
It’s not always easy talking to people about Yeshua, and many Israelis don’t want to hear about Him because they’ve already been told so many terrible things 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 is my prayer that the questions I ask them will have the same effect as that one question someone asked me all those years ago in America—and they would, in turn, dare to ask God, “Show me who you are!”
Yeshua was what I was missing my whole life. His peace changed my heart and transformed me for good. The more I learned, the more Yeshua won my heart and I just fell in love with Him.
Maoz Israel supports local congregations like Tiferet Yeshua, who are reaching the people of Israel with the life-changing knowledge of Yeshua. You can help make more stories like this possible when you support Maoz Israel.
Read more from this issue
A Street Evangelist is Born
Discover something new about Israel.