As a minority, Messianic Jews have made great attempts to be accepted by Israeli society, with some success in becoming integrated. The younger generation of Messianic Jews is better integrated and often face little to no persecution from general society as result of their beliefs. Messianic Jews tend to be very supportive of government policy, and they typically adopt Israeli society's suspicions of the Palestinian community. Additionally, most Messianic Jews have center right to far right political leanings within the Israeli spectrum, and these views factor into their interactions with Palestinians, and often into their theology. Messianic Jews are required to serve in the Israel Defense Forces, like the majority of Israeli Jews, and they also tend to encourage volunteering for elite combat units. In the main, Messianic Jews view the land as promised to the Jewish people, and if there is consideration for Palestinians in their theology, they often feature as the 'stranger' (a term Palestinian Christians do not accept as they see themselves as the indigenous inhabitants of the land).
Palestinian Christians are well integrated into Palestinian society, and they often share Palestinian society's suspicions of Israelis in general. Palestinian Christians tend to lean toward the political left both in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as left-leaning parties tend to emphasize pluralism and minority rights. Many Palestinian Christians are pacifists or have some history of pacifism in their religious backgrounds; they have difficulty understanding how Messianic Jews choose to be in the IDF, and volunteer for positions where they will be put in morally questionable situations. Israeli-Palestinians are not required to serve in the army, although there is political pressure for them to do so; most refuse to serve in the army as a condition for equal citizenship. This is a controversial issue between Israeli-Palestinians and Israeli Jews, including Messianic Jews. Many Palestinian Christians embrace some form of Palestinian liberation theology or replacement theology, which Messianic Jews see as threatening. If Messianic Jews, or Jews, feature into Palestinian Christian theology, it is often as the oppressor from which Palestinian Christians seek liberation. Palestinian Christians see justice and human rights as a direct outworking of their faith (and a necessity to redress past grievances), and they put many efforts toward these endeavors.
We also tend to see many other voices join the Messianic Jewish or Palestinian Christian side in the Holy Land. It is not uncommon to see Israeli Messianic Jews marry non-Jewish Christians from North America or Europe; likewise there are a number of Palestinian Christians in Israel and Palestine who marry Christians from North America and Europe. These non-Messianic Jewish Christians and non-Palestinian Christians contribute a unique third perspective to the dynamic. Often seen as ‘others,’ they can be overlooked, but will voice very strong opinions among those like themselves. Sometimes, this third perspective calls for greater balance and tolerance. Other times, this third perspective takes up the banner of the community they have married into, and are even more pro-Israel than the Israelis, or more pro-Palestinian than the Palestinians. Their children often hold a second passport and the option to move elsewhere, but they tend to assume the conflicts and positions of the societies in which they live.
Overall, Israeli Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians reflect the fears, hesitations, and lack of good will their respective sides have for each other. Our regular bloggers on this site would like to counter these negative trends by engaging in this project together, and sharing some of the positive and negative experiences we face with Messianic Jews, Palestinian Christians, and our respective societies. While we cooperate together here, we do have political and theological differences of opinion. We are happy to work together all the same.