Mishpaha, September 11, 18; Yediot
Yerushalayim, September 19; HaMahaneh HeHaredi, September 18; BeKehila,
September 18; Yom L'Yom, August 28, 2008 Mishpaha (September 11) ran last week's story of the "missionary" whose conversion attempts Yad L'Achim is endeavoring to foil (see last week's Review).
According to a report published in BeKehila (September 18), Yediot Yerushalayim, (September 19), Mishpaha (September 18), and HaMahaneh HeHaredi (September 18), two "missionary" families, in Bat Yam and Jerusalem, have sent their children to religious kindergartens this year. Neria Arbov is a "well known missionary figure who stars in Yad L'Achim's publicity," whose decision to send his son to a religious kindergarten is being seen as an "embarrassing provocation" by other parents, while Seth ben Haim and John Theodor are a "couple of Gentile missionaries who serve as the heads of missionary congregations in Jerusalem; one of them is married to a Christian woman and the other to a Jewish apostate . . . Seth ben Haim wears misleading religious garb, including a yarmulke and fringes, and was even recently thrown out of the synagogue in which he was ostensibly a member. According to BeKehila, "the parents object, justly, that the missionary children influence their children and that they themselves are forced to deal with the questions the latter ask about 'that man' and so forth." Despite their protests to the Jerusalem municipality, however, the latter "isn't hastening to respond to their request." Shalom Dov Lipshitz, Yad L'Achim's director, said in regard to the incident: "'Here is further proof that the missionaries do not balk at using any means, including the exploitation of small children, in order to integrate themselves into the religious public and thus gain legitimacy as religious Jews, thereby continuing to deceive innocent Jews and persuade them to convert.'" According to Yediot Yerushalayim, a local, non-religious paper, "the Messianic Jewish stream accepts Yeshu as 'the son of God' and considers the New Testament and the Bible as Scripture. According to the parents in the kindergarten, they have nothing against the members of this stream but they refuse to expose their children to a Christian program. 'These are very nice people, and I've got no problem with them,' said the parent of a girl in the kindergarten." This report also quoted a response from the Ministry of Education, whose guidelines state that non-Jewish children cannot be registered at state-religious schools, to the effect that, in all other respects, "'The registration of pupils at educational facilities in Jerusalem complies with the guidelines of the Ministry of Education, and the Messianic students fulfill all the conditions.'"
Ma'ariv, September 26, 2008In a piece entitled "Bible Now," Dubi Zakkai looked at Moshav Yad HaShmonah, run by Messianic believers. "They were eight, eight Jews who crossed the border into Finland. The time: the Second World War, and the Germans had already established their concentration camps. These eight miserable Jews were delivered up to the Nazis' live claws by the Finnish government. Many Finnish citizens were appalled by the act. In the 1970s, a group of golden-haired Finns arrived in our country in order to atone for this handing over, to settle in the land, and to help build the young state of Israel. And thus, after the bureaucratic problems so characteristic of our country, they received a small plot of land on the edge of the Judaean hills on which to build a small village, a testimony to the eight Jews who were sent to the concentration camps, Yad HaShmonah." Starting off with stone houses, a cargo of Finnish wood subsequently arrived to house the children born to the original group, and on the basis of which its residents established a furniture factory and then a guest house. "Over the years, a group of Jews who believe in the Tanakh and the New Testament joined the foreign pioneers." In 2000, the moshav established a "biblical garden" which also includes an ancient synagogue transferred from the Golan with the aid of the Israel Antiquities Authority and several ancient wine and olive presses. "Around these the industrious Finns have planted biblical plants."Anti-missionary Activity
HaModia, September 23; HaTzofeh, September 26, 2008 These two papers carried last week's report about Messianic children being sent to religious kindergartens (see previous Review). HaTzofeh (September 26) provided additional information concerning Seth ben Haim, John Theodor, and Neria Arbov: ". . . the ben Haim family, the father, Seth, a Jewish apostate [mumar] married to a Christian, heads a missionary organization called 'Nashuva' [Let us return/repent], while in the Theodor family, the mother is a Jewish apostate and the father a Christian. Evidence exists from the residents of the neighborhood that the families hold missionary activities in their homes every Friday night [erev Shabbat]. . . . 'Arbov is the head of a congregation which meets in his house on Friday and Saturday evenings. This is to all intents and purposes a Messianic congregation, despite Arbov's misleading external appearance. Outwardly, he looks like an Orthodox Jew: he wears a yarmulke and fringes, but photographic evidence exists that he is engaged in missionary activities.'" The article promised that the paper would publish an investigation into the activities of the mission next week.
Haaretz, September 23, 24, 2008In a piece dedicated to the state of poverty - or, in the more politically correct terms used, "families suffering from a lack of financial security" - in Israel, Avirama Golan looked at the ways in which people are giving aid to those in need as the holidays approach, suggesting that some of the charities involved are partially funded by evangelical Christians.A surprise examination of the bomb shelters in three northern cities hit by rockets in the Second Lebanese War revealed that many are still not fit for use (Haaretz, September 23). Eli Ashkenazi lamented this fact not only in light of the danger but also from the perspective of the Christian donors who had contributed huge amounts of money for the renovation of these very shelters: "'The contributors from the IFCJ, mostly Christian supporters of Israel, who give up what they could have in order to help the residents of Israel, invested 40 million shekels . . . to give the residents of the north basic protection
Christians in Israel
Haaretz, September 26, 2008 According to a report in Haaretz (September 26), "the same spirit of mission which originally brought them to the country" also inspired a group of Templars to construct a wine press now preserved in south Tel Aviv. "They dreamt of establishing here a community which would adopt for itself a simple way of life and the sincere faith of early Christianity, as well as hastening Yeshu's return." The press was filled with grapes from the same settlement and other Templar settlements across the country, and the wine "exported" to Germany. With the Templars' expulsion during WWII, the site was taken over by the British - and when they left, it became the location of the Hagana's airplane construction. Now, the site has been taken over by Nike: "The sports clothing firm has restored to the site something of the Templars' religious-mystic spirit in putting on an exhibition whose theme is the 'icon' . . . The final room was dedicated to the central element in the transformation of a person . . . into an icon: In it stood a poster on which was written: 'If it weren't for the first flocks of believers who followed after him, Yeshu would have remained the son of an anonymous carpenter.' Next to this stood a large round mirror on which was inscribed 'YOU.'"
HaTzofeh, October 3; Yated Ne'eman, September 29, 2008 In the wake of the "scandal" of Messianic believers sending their children to religious kindergartens, HaTzofeh (October 3) carried an article on the subject as promised in the paper last week. Using false names for the parents interviewed, the latter uniformly expressed their surprise at discovering that people whom they had assumed to be "normal" - and Jewish -were in fact "Christians." When "Orit," for example, had Seth ben Haim's daughter over to visit with her daughter, who goes to the same kindergarten, she was astonished to find that when they sat down to eat, the visitor "asked all those sitting at the table to hold hands and to thank and to pray to Yeshu for the food he had given them. Orit didn't know what had hit her. She explained to the guest that they didn't behave that way in her house but gave thanks to God. The visitor wasn't fazed, however. She replied that if that was so, she wouldn't be able to eat with them. 'Afterwards,' says Orit, 'she changed her mind and asked to pray on her own.' In front of Orit and her daughter's amazed eyes, she thanked Yeshu for the food and only then began to eat. 'Until that moment, it hadn't crossed my mind that the family was Christian,' says Orit. 'Our daughters go the same kindergarten in the neighborhood and from our perspective, the parents, all the children come from the same background, more or less. This family also appeared to be religious Jews in every way. They're a nice family who up until then had made a positive impression. I even remember that I met them once at the mall and the son was wearing a yarmulke and fringes. There wasn't any way to tell that they were a missionary family.'" According to the piece, the parents should have known from the kindergarten that there was a problem, since Seth's daughter would consistently correct her teachers when they said that the children should give thanks to God, saying that they should instead give thanks to "Yeshu." Surprisingly, although the teachers knew, they apparently failed to inform the parents.The parents' objections stemmed primarily from their overwhelming - and intractable - conviction that Messianic families who send their children to religious kindergartens and schools have only one reason for doing so: to "win souls." From their perspective, using young children to achieve this aim is despicable behavior. From a legal point of view, they were able to turn to the Ministry of Education in order to have the children removed due to a law on the statute books which prohibits non-Jews attending religious schools. (In the case of the ben Haims and Arbovs, since neither mothers are Jewish, the children are also not Jewish according to halakhah.) They are also disturbed by the fact that young children do not have the intellectual tools to deal with religious issues. Thus, for example, Einat's son came home from kindergarten and asked why they didn't believe in Yeshu: "'He told me that N. had said that Yeshu lives in everyone's heart and we must give thanks to him. A four-year-old, when you come to him with such things, can't accept religious answers with intellectual tools. He didn't stop with his questions, and eventually we explained it to him in terms he managed to understand - that when N. came back with her messages again in kindergarten, my son told her that Yeshu was an ordinary Jew who went mad and in any case he died many years ago. His answer to N. was in line with the answer he got at home. For a child who comes from a completely different religion it was difficult to deal with what our son told her and she burst out in tears . . . I don't need my four-year-old son asking me why we aren't Christians or coming and telling me that his friend in kindergarten tells him that Yeshu was a righteous man and that he also wants to be like Yeshu.'" Einat was also concerned for Seth's own daughter: "'. . . to put your child into a kindergarten whose purpose is entirely different from your faith at home, is a sort of emotional abuse.'" It was difficult to understand precisely what "exposed" the Messianic families as "Christian" in the eyes of those who felt that they had been deceived: "'They integrate themselves into the community in which they live and they hunt people . . . But we see and hear them. On one Friday evening recently we heard the sound of Christian singing from one of their homes. We could clearly see that there were dozens of people there. They held hands and sang.'" As long as it was known that Seth ben Haim was a pastor at King of Kings Assembly - and thus openly a "Christian" - people didn't mind. When he established his own ministry, however, it "'gradually became a clandestine group.'" Some of the motives attributed to Messianic Jews are also very reminiscent of Christian Zionist axioms: "'You have to remember that the motivation which lies behind this missionary activity is ideology. The missionaries see the conversion of as many people as possible as their purpose in life. Their faith decrees that the more Jews who convert to Christianity the quicker the time of Yeshu of Nazareth's revelation as the messiah will come.'"The remainder of the article was devoted to Yehuda Deri's response to the "missionary phenomenon," in which he detailed the various activities he is engaged in fighting against in Beersheva.In the wake of the attempt on Prof. Zev Sternhell's life in a fashion similar to that of the attack that injured Amiel Ortiz - a bomb planted outside his door - the public has urged a proper investigation. Since Sternhell's comments were anti-right-wing, it has been mooted that those responsible were settlers. In an article investigating the matter (Yated Ne'eman, September 29), the author suggested that the explosive device which detonated at a police post in Ali in 2006, a similar one near the monastery in Beit Jamal in 2007, the explosion of a small device in the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem a month later, and that which severely injured Ortiz, were all the work of the same group responsible for the attack against Sternhell.
Makor Rishon, October 3, 2008 In an interview with Prof. Avraham Grossman, author of a book on Rashi, the latter's relations to Christianity were briefly covered. "His third task, which became more central over the years, was the polemic with Christianity. At the end of the eleventh century, the church was growing in strength (following the 'Walk to Canossa'). Popular monks, a growing phenomenon, passed through the villages and the Christianity of the surroundings became more significant and more missionary. In his commentaries on Proverbs and Daniel, for example (in the manuscripts rather than the censored printed editions), a fierce polemic exists with Christianity. Rashi was one of the great disputers against Christianity. He saw many apostates in his life, many persecutions, and a lot of destructive anti-Jewish propaganda."
Jerusalem Post, October 6, 2008 According to the Jerusalem Post (October 6), "A wave of irate protest silenced a Jews for Jesus radio campaign last week on a local radio station in the North. It took just a few hours for Kol Rega, which broadcasts to the Galilee and northern valleys, to cave in to pressure from listeners who phoned in to demand that the Jews for Jesus campaign be taken off the air . . . The slogan of the radio campaign is 'Yeshu [a derogatory form of Jesus] equals Yeshua [accent on penultimate syllable] equals yeshua [accent on last syllable].'" The ad is intended to inform listeners that "Jesus is equivalent to redemption" and concludes with the question, "Confused? Call for more information." Contacted for his response, Dan Sered, "head of Jews for Jesus in Israel," said, "'All we are trying to do is share our faith. We just want to provide Israelis with an opportunity to know that Jesus died for our sins and rose on the third day. Most Israelis have never gotten the chance to hear about Jesus . . . Jews who believe Jesus is the messiah are a minority in Israel, but so are the Orthodox. Why should they be allowed to prevent secular Israelis from hearing Jesus's message of love and peace?'" The radio ad was part of a wider publicity campaign which included full-page ads in the daily national papers Ma'ariv and Israel HaYom, while JFJ members also distributed literature in Nahariyah, Kiryat Shmona, and the Haifa area. Response to the campaign took a more violent turn in Kiryat Shmona, where the air was removed from a car tire. According to the city's Chief Rabbi, Tzfania Drori, "'That is probably one of the mildest reactions imaginable in response to aggressive missionary activity pursued by these Jews for Yeshu. I believe we have a right to prevent these people from entering our town and promulgating New Testaments and missionary literature; it is tantamount to a woman performing a striptease in the middle of a public place.'" [Editor's note: the explanations in square brackets above are in the original text.]
Haaretz, October 7, 10 (Hebrew and English editions), 2008 The lives of monks and tourists alike, as well as the church itself and other nearby structures, are in being put in danger by a dispute between the Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox churches over responsibility for the Deir-al-Sultan monastery on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Haaretz, October 7). While Ethiopian clergy inhabit the site, the Copts claim ownership of the property. The Israeli Interior Ministry's offer to pay for the necessary renovations is going to waste because it is conditional upon an internal church resolution of the matter. In a letter to the Interior Ministry, Archbishop Matthias recently stated: "'This condition is completely unacceptable to us, since we do not recognize any right of the Coptic church in the area in question. It is inconceivable that the implementation of emergency repairs would be conditioned on the consent of the Coptic church. Indeed, there is disagreement between us and the Coptic church regarding the rights at the site in question, but that is precisely the reason we are turning to the Israeli authorities, as a neutral factor, to carry out the necessary repairs.'" In a second article, titled "Saving Christianity from Itself," the same paper (October 10) suggested, "Due to the risk to the lives of the monks and visitors and the danger to one of the world's holiest sites, the government must not neglect the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It must exercise its authority to maintain public safety and repair the building, taking great care not to intervene or take a stand in the fundamental dispute between the churches." The report indicated that at least two precedents exist for such intervention.
Attitudes to Jesus and Christianity
HaZofeh, October 10; Modi'in, October 16; Ma'ariv, October 17, 2008 Menahem Ben, an ardent advocate for the beauty of the New Testament, is not as well pleased with Jesus' name as it is pronounced in Hebrew. Writing in Ma'ariv (October 17) in relation to the recent JFJ publicity campaign (see previous Review), he stated: "In the run-up to the Feast [of Tabernacles], a large advertisement appeared in the press on behalf of 'Jews who believe in Yeshu,' who are careful to define themselves as 'Jews who believe in Yeshua' and are insulted when people use the term 'Yeshu.' But with all my love for Christians, Messianic Jews, and the New Testament (even though I don't in any way believe that Yeshu is the Messiah), their claim that the word 'Yeshu' is an acronym for 'May his name and memory be blotted out' is groundless. It may be true that some Orthodox Jew coined some insulting term with regard to the name 'Yeshu,' but this is still his rightful, natural, and lovely name - and not the ridiculous term 'Yeshua' (which sounds to every Israeli ear like 'the wild Yeshua' [Ye(ho)shua ha-paru'a - a popular children's book]). Why don't you understand this?"
Moshe Feiglin of the Likud, founder of the "This is our land" and civil disobedience movements in Israel, recently came out strongly against any Israeli/Jewish relations with evangelical Christians. According to a report by Mordechai Sugerman in HaZofeh (October 10), Feiglin is convinced that Christianity poses a greater threat to Israel (people and land) than does Islam. As a result, he advocates cutting off all relations with Christian Zionist supporters. In his eyes, contacts with the evangelical community "allow Christianity to enter [Israel] and to dominate the Israeli experience." In Sugerman's words, "Feiglin's demand to cut off all contacts with the American Christian community and not to accept any funds from it effectively constitutes an attempt to widen the collective Israeli borders to include the [social] norm which categorizes friendship with Christian bodies or the receipt of funds from them as a form of illegitimate social behavior, part of his endeavor to classify such contact as contradictory to the Israeli ethos. He fears that the 'Christian conquest/occupation' is much more dangerous than the Muslim, because it is indirect. He even takes pains to point out that the Christian intention is to send millions of people to Israel to become citizens and 'to convert everyone.' This Christian sector will 'consume the children of Israel and take control of its [the state's] mind.'"Sugerman took issue with Feiglin's opinion, commenting that Feiglin finds it easy to refute baseless accusations when he cannot adduce a single example of Christian funding which is conditional upon anything which might justify his fears. He likewise accused Feiglin of irresponsibility in ignoring the Iranian and Hizbollah threat, further appealing to the example of Herzl, Haim Weizman, Haim Arlozorov, and Abba Hillel Silver, all of whom made great efforts to "come close to Christian circles in the Western world, because they understood the importance of their influence on policy makers in the United States and Europe in everything relating to relations with the Jews and the creation of the State of Israel."In a column titled "10 things you didn't know about Sukkot [the Feast of Tabernacles]," the local paper Modi'in (October 16) included the fact that "it is also celebrated by a Christian minority which has decided to start observing the biblical festivals again. As proof [of the necessity of doing so], they claim that Yeshu also celebrated Sukkot (John 7:10) [sic; in fact that reference was given as 7, 10:26]. The date on which they celebrate the festival is close to its Hebrew date and is called [the] 'Feast of Tabernacles' in English [the name was written here in English]."
Yated Ne'eman, October 12, 2008 Orthodox ire has been raised by the participation of Christian Zionists in the annual Sukkot Jerusalem March, primarily due to the fact that the group was due to wave flags carrying the image of the "Lion of Judah." Despite its biblical origins, according to Mina Fenton this symbol carries "prominent Christian theological significance." "The fact that the Christians intend to wave the flag with the lion removes all doubt, if there were any, about the purposes, intentions, and practical plans of the 'International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem,' which is the umbrella organization under whose auspices all the missionary organizations and various Messianic congregations operate.
Jerusalem Post, October 17, pp. 4, 18 (x 2); Haaretz, October 15, 19 (Hebrew and English editions); Yediot Yerushalayim, October 17; Israel HaYom, October 15, 2008 According to a report in the Jerusalem Post (October 17, p. 4), "Using the Feast of Tabernacles event in the capital, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem announced on Thursday that a growing list of prominent Christian ministries has joined the effort to indict Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad for incitement to genocide against Israel." The initiative was inaugurated by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs two years ago, and the ICEJ now joins politicians, ambassadors, and Nobel Laureates whose support has already been garnered. In addition to submitting the initiative to the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee, "a global petition signed by more than 55,000 Christians from over 120 countries was delivered by the ICEJ to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon last month."The same paper also carried an interview with the ICEJ's current director on the same day (October 17, p. 18), in which Michael Hedding asserted that the Embassy should not be considered a "radical" Christian Zionist group: "'This is a more Eurocentric ministry, and we believe in biblical Zionism, which recognizes that there are a lot of things playing out in Israel over which we have no influence,' he says. Hedding trusts that God will ultimately fulfill his promise to bestow the Land of Israel on Abraham's descendants, but that the Land of Israel goes well beyond Judea and Samaria . . . 'So while there may be a more complete fulfillment of this promise in the future, we will leave that to God.'" In Hedding's view, while the Embassy once inclined towards the "political, eschatological" form of Christian Zionism, under his leadership it now advocates the position that "'Israel is not a theocracy, it is a democracy. We believe that the people of Israel, through their elected representatives, have the right to make their own decisions on this country's future, and we have said that we will support the State of Israel wherever it chooses, or chooses not, to extend its sovereignty' . . . the rigid demand by many evangelicals that Israel hold onto every inch of territory 'is highly dangerous,' he says, 'because then Jews become pawns in your religious agenda.'"More practically, Christian Zionists have helped "save" Israeli tourism in the north this year (Haaretz, October 19 [Hebrew and English editions]). While the number of Israeli visitors is down 30% from last year, the number of evangelicals has risen 20%, with over 7,000 visiting the region. Local tourist officials opine that the rise is largely due to identification with Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations, although the improved security situation has also contributed to the growth. The numbers this year have even exceeded the peak figures of 2000. The evangelical camp was similarly responsible for filling 20,000 hotel rooms in Jerusalem over Sukkot, an influx expected to "infuse some $18-20 million into the local economy" (Jerusalem Post, October 17, p. 18). According to Haaretz (October 15), the Christian Feast of Tabernacles includes "a visit and stay at Kibbutz Ein Gedi, the Jerusalem March, prayers and lectures on religious topics." A brief report in Israel HaYom (October 15; see also Yediot Yerushalayim, October 17) noted that the pilgrims have come from over one hundred different countries to demonstrate solidarity with Israel against Iran's intention to become a nuclear power.
Christians in Israel
Yediot Haifa, October 17, 2008 A new party in Haifa, named the "Haifa Coalition," is putting forward a list of candidates for the local municipal elections which includes both Jews and Christians. The former are primarily pensioners, the latter environmental and neighborhood activists. The party is a lobby of the "Justice for the Elderly" group and is putting emphasis upon "full cooperation with the Christian sector in the city, which includes 24,000 residents, 12,000 of whom are eligible to vote." Christian candidates are placed third and fifth on the list - truly viable places; the latter spot is filled by the son of Archbishop Elias Chacour. If the party wins seats, it will demand that it be given the post of Deputy Mayor, thereby enabling more funds and assistance to be devoted to the Christian sector of the city.
Jerusalem Post, October 15; Yediot Haifa, October 17; Haaretz, October 10; A La Gush, September 25, 2008 A group of students studying Judaism at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow recently visited Israel in order to learn about the country close up and to discover in greater depth the "common roots" of Judaism and Christianity (A La Gush, September 25). The trip was initiated and accompanied by the Academic Center in Israel. In a visit to the Experimental High School in Jerusalem, which regularly sends its students to Poland, the Polish visitors explained that many Poles are now studying Judaism because of its great influence on Polish history and culture, and endeavored to explain "in every possible way" that Jewish history in Poland should not be studied solely through the lens of the Holocaust; you have go back a thousand years prior to the war.Isi Leibler commended Haifa Chief Rabbi She'ar Yashuv Cohen in an opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post (October 15) this week, praising him for "diplomatically but forcefully" raising the "most sensitive issue on the Catholic-Jewish agenda" when he spoke before the synod of Bishops at the Vatican (see previous Reviews). "Many Jews being honored as he was by the Church would have taken the less hazardous path of avoiding controversy. But Cohen has a track record of courageously expressing his views and refusing to bury his head in the sand. Clearly, he has no interest in meddling in the internal affairs of the Church. But he does have a sense of history and feels that for the record, even if Catholics proceed on the path to beatification [of Pius XII], Jews are obliged to make their voices heard on such a burning issue. Cohen also maintained that if our reconciliation with the Catholic Church is truly meaningful, it should understand the depth of our feelings on such a matter and not take offense or permit such expressions to inhibit ongoing good relations." In Leibler's view, "The achievement of constructive goals in our interfaith activities is frequently undermined by internal handicaps. Many Jewish lay representatives active in the field are ignorant of their own religious heritage and thus incapable of presenting an authentic Jewish position. On the other hand, some rabbis are insufficiently experienced with the world to be able to effectively participate in interfaith encounters. Another problem is that many lay Jewish activists are tempted to regard access to Christian or Muslim groups as an end in itself. They fail to appreciate that sharing platforms and obtaining photo opportunities can be counterproductive if it imposes an obligation to remain silent on 'sensitive' issues so as not to 'destabilize the relationship.'" A report in Yediot Haifa (October 17) also covered the same event. According to Haaretz (October 10), "An editorial in the Vatican newspaper defended Pius two days after the first Jew to address a Church synod . . . told the gathering that Jews 'cannot forgive and forget' Pius's silence. The Osservatore Romano called him a 'man of peace' who tried to do his best during one of the most violent periods in history."
Yediot HaGalil, October 24, 2008 "Yeshu, or at least his disciples, are walking around the streets of the cities of the Valley areas," reported a piece in Yediot HaGalil (October 24). According to the article, a campaign is underway in Upper Nazareth in the framework of which books entitled "Son of David," which tell the story of "Yeshu, 'the Gospel According to Matthew'" are being distributed, to the chagrin of the residents. The pamphlets are being disseminated by "Congregation Jerusalem - Beit Geula, which defines itself on the website [printed on the pamphlet] as Jews and Gentiles 'united in faith in God in light of what is written in Scripture and the New Testament. We worship together the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and believe that the Messiah promised in the Tanakh is Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God.'" According to the article, the website contains "questions and answers of a missionary nature" as well as a "statement of faith": "Among other things, the God of truth is described as One 'in whose unity are combined three entities: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and the three entities are equal to one another in their power, and have defined roles which complement one another in everything connected to the working out of redemption.' Salvation, according to the members of the congregation, is a divine initiative 'which is made possible through the mediation of the house [sic] of God; salvation isn't given to us on the basis of our works and depends exclusively on our faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah. It isn't given to those who do not truly and sincerely repent.' Likewise, the declaration states that 'the congregation of Yeshua the Messiah is a body distinct from Israel and does not constitute a substitute for the people of Israel.'" [Editor's note: The quotes appear to be taken verbatim from Beit Geula's website - apart from the "house of God," which in the original says "Son of God." This may merely be a typographical error rather than a deliberate distortion of the text.]
Jerusalem Post, October 16; Ma'ariv, October 16; Yediot Yerushalayim, October 24; Makor Rishon, October 16, pp. 8, 24, 2008 Under the headline, "35,000 make pilgrimage to Jerusalem March," the Jerusalem Post (October 16) noted the part played in the event by Christian supporters of Israel. "Citing different verses of scripture shared by Jews and Christians alike, organizers pointed out that Succot is the time when the nations of the world are supposed to come to Jerusalem and celebrate with the Jewish people. In that vein, biblical prophecy came alive on Wednesday, as the flags of countries from Norway to Kenya were seen blowing in the wind above the marchers. While the prophecy is supposed to be fulfilled in the Messianic era when the various nations will bring sacrifices to a rebuilt Temple, many of the participants said they felt blessed to be in Jerusalem in any case, and to have the ability to take part in such a powerful showing of camaraderie." This year, however, the march was also presented as a "'solidarity march to show that we stand with Israel, through thick and thin, against the Iranian threat.'" Amongst the Christian participants were ostensibly also many who claimed to be part of the lost tribes. A sidebar titled "The Holy Land in your living room" further provided information on a website which allows people to see the festivities even if they are unable to actually visit the country. "IPrayTV, an Internet Christian broadcast services company, launched its new Web site www.IPrayTV.com last week, offering live simultaneous video streaming of Holy Land sites . . . viewers can see the sites simultaneously, bringing Israel live to their living room across the globe." According to Mike Peros, the site's founder and CEO, "'The constant availability of live footage of places so dear to us will be a valuable tool for pastors and ministries around the world, and for anyone seeking to strengthen their connection with the Holy Land.'"The March was also covered with a picture and short caption in Makor Rishon (October 16, p. 24), under the headline "Rejoice, Jerusalem."While in Jerusalem for a conference, the "Community of worldwide Christian leaders" took the opportunity to bestow an honorary award on Ron Nahman, Mayor of Ariel, for his leadership and activities in the city, Samaria, and the state as a whole (Makor Rishon, October 16, p. 8).According to a piece in Ma'ariv (October 16), some settlers in the West Bank are "falsely" promoting the view that that the political situation in the territories is in fact a religious struggle - with the "encouragement of Jewish and Christian groups from abroad."Yediot Yerushalayim (October 24) devoted a lengthy article to the work of the "Temple Institute," which is dedicated to preparing the instruments, garments, and methods which will allow the rebuilt Temple to function properly. In stark contrast to those Orthodox (and others) who refuse to accept money from Christians for charitable purposes, the Temple Institute welcomes contributions from Gentiles with open arms: "The Institute enables everyone who wishes to take part in the building [of the Temple], even those who aren't Jewish. Glick [its director], who is in contact with interested parties across the globe, is not at all perturbed that the building is largely being supported by Gentiles. He flips through the Tanakh and cites verses which prove, according to him, that this is the proper way [for it to happen]. The paradoxical situation is thus created whereby members of other religions are working together on the basis of a common interest without being in agreement on the implications of their respective beliefs. Evangelical Christians, who believe that the strengthening of Israel will lead to the renewed birth [sic] of Yeshu and to the conversion of the Jews, also visit the Institute in great numbers."
Christians in Israel
Yediot Ahronot, October 16, 2008 Christians in Haifa continue to benefit from cooperation and coexistence with their neighbors in the city. In the market in Wadi Nisnas, "people are going for tri-existence. Christians, Muslims, and Jews enjoy a joint successful commercial business together, and there's no greater fun than strolling through the booths in the market on Shabbat morning."
Megiddon, September 30, 2008 What was originally a Christian house of prayer, now enclosed within Megiddo Prison, is being restored under the joint auspices of the local Megiddo Council and the Commercial Company for the Development of Megiddo. When the site was first excavated in 2003, an inscription was uncovered which reads "Akaptos, lover of God who contributed the altar to the god Jesus Christos, as a memorial," leading archaeologists to claim it as the earliest Christian structure in the world. In its decision to encourage development of the site as a tourist attraction, a group of MKs responsible for the development of the Negev and the Galilee determined that the site constitutes "'a tourist attraction and a gateway for pilgrims to the Galilee.'
Copyright 2008, Caspari Center.
The Media Review is an English-language synopsis of articles which were originally published in the Israeli press. The articles, most of which were written in Hebrew, focus on Messianic Jews and Christianity. The Media Review reports what was said in the press irrespective of its accuracy, and the information does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Caspari Center. On occasion the editor includes explanatory matter in brackets, preceeded by the words [Editor’s note:].