Bat-El Levi, 15, from Be'er Sheva is one of the 4 Israeli finalists in the Chidon HaTanach, the international Bible competition for Jewish teens sponsored by Israel. She is also a Messianic Jew who believes in Jesus.
From The Jerusalem Post:
The controversy surrounding the participation of 16-year-old Bat-El Levi, from Beersheba, began last week as a result of a campaign led by the haredi anti-missionary organization Yad Le'Achim.
Yad Le'Achim discovered that Levi belonged to a messianic Jewish congregation. The organization immediately contacted rabbis and other spiritual leaders. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a leading religious Zionist halachic authority, called to boycott the quiz if the messianic Jew did not forfeit her participation. His call was joined by other rabbis aligned with religious Zionism, including Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu.
Sources close to the Levi family, who did not deny their ties with a messianic Jewish congregation, said there had been attempts by Yad Le'Achim to dissuade Bat-El from taking part in the competition. A group of activists demonstrated in Dimona when the participants came to the Negev town for a preliminary quiz.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. One the one hand, the Chidon HaTanach has always been the pride of young Jews showing their knowledge of Torah in an international competition. Should that be spoiled by the spectacle of a girl who believes in Jesus possibly winning this thing and becoming a point of pride for Messianic Jews and creating an opportunity for increased openness to missionary activity?
On the other hand, this is a Jewish girl living in Israel who has studied hard and has gotten where she is on the basis of merit. Is it fair to bar her?