By Anna Ahronheim, Jerusalem Post

Simon Zauber believes serving in the IDF is his way of following in Jesus’ footsteps.

“We were raised in believing in Jesus and to follow his footsteps and what he did was serve so for me it’s very important to serve, in any way I can,” the 19-year-old Givati soldier originally from North Carolina told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Zauber is a Messianic Jew, Christians who believe that Jesus, or Yeshua, is the Messiah and is the only path to redemption. There are an estimated 20,000 Messianic Jewish believers in Israel, but due to their beliefs have been subjected to discrimination, such as being ineligible to make aliya because it is not accepted that a Jew can believe in Jesus, even though they consider themselves to be Jewish.

“Israel is defending itself. It needs people and so I wanted to be in an army that actually needed somebody. It’s not as if I’m fighting on someone else’s ground, it’s a fight for survival. This is God’s land and this is God’s people and in the end I’d rather fight for God’s land and God’s people rather than in America,” he said.

His upbringing as a Messianic Jew had a major impact on his decision to come to Israel and serve in the IDF, Zauber told the Post, explaining that while he did not initially plan to come to Israel he changed his mind in the middle of his final semester at university.

“I felt that God was talking to me and that he was going to reveal something to me. When I was opening up my scriptures I would always read stuff about Israel and then my parents started talking about Israel and I felt that God was calling me to Israel.” Continue Reading on JPOST—