The Media Review is an English-language synopsis of articles that were originally published in the Israeli press. The articles, most of which were written in Hebrew, focus on Messianic Jews and Christianity. This synoptic translation is a Caspari Center exclusive. 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 [Editorís note:].
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During the week covered by this review, we received 10 articles on the following subjects:
Attitudes towards Christianity
The Vatican and the Pope
This week's review included an article on the Shelter in Eilat.
Ha'Ir Eilat, June 7, 2012
This article looked at the Shelter, run by John Pex in Eilat, noting, "In Eilat there is a Messianic Jewish congregation numbering around 100 people, its leader John tells me. They hold conferences, have a broad social ministry, celebrate Friday-night and festival meals, and run a hostel for anyone who wants a universal faith and human love irrespective of differences and without a religious character. ... Not everyone knows the place, even though it exists right in the heart of our city. Even though it has operated openly for years. As though on this unclear line between religious faith and a simple expression of love even the neighbors know to say that they've heard of it and know John Pex, but can't really distinguish between a church and social gatherings. ... Even on the way it's clear that I'm traveling along a blurred boundary. One not completely known and understood. The taxi drivers and residents give me different names, some speak about a church, other say that people are always going there. But very few knew how to direct me or to tell me what I'm going to encounter there. The uncertainty continued even when we got there. You won't find Christian icons or statues of Yeshu as you might in a church. Indeed, this isn't a church in the normal sense. Yet it does have daily prayers and Bible study led by John every morning for anyone interested in studying the Book of Books and learning from it about life. There are also similar readings from the New Testament. You won't find a priest there, but there's certainly the presence of a congregational leader and a different atmosphere. Right at the entrance it seems as though you've come to a welcoming place, a bit reminiscent of Nueiba, a bit like the atmosphere of Sinai." Following a brief survey of John's history, the article concludes with a description of Messianic Jews: "The Messianic Jewish congregation is based on faith in the Tanakh and the New Testament and on the belief that a person must live according to God's will. According to the view of the believers, the New Testament was written by a local Jew and at its heart lies the Messiah promised to Israel - whom they believe to be Yeshu. In this religious denomination, there is no religious God, no God who punishes, but a promise of redemption in the figure of the envoy Yeshu. According to their belief, God created every person and loves them without distinction, boundaries, war, or power struggles: Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to live in unity."
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Yehudi BeRosh, May 30, 2012
In this article about Shavuot in Yehudi BeRosh
, the author noted that "even a superficial glance demonstrates that all the religions took their key elements from Judaism: circumcision, immersion (Christian baptism), food restrictions, the Sabbath, etc."
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Haaretz, June 8, 2012
"Tel Aviv University is to establish the first interfaith center of its kind in Israel, in cooperation with the University of Cambridge in England. The center will conduct comparative research on the world's three major monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - to dispel 'dangerous' stereotypes, according to the center's head. 'In Israel, people do not know their own religion, and widespread images of Christianity and Islam are dangerous. Not all religious Muslims belong to Al-Qaida,' said Menachem Fisch, a professor of philosophy and the history of science at Tel Aviv University. Fisch is heading up the project, which will have one site in Israel and another in England. 'There is fear and aversion both in Europe and Israel of Muslims, and the way to change perceptions begins with understanding those who are different,' he added. The center's comparative approach to religious study is motivated by recognition of the three religions' mutual influence. ... The University of Cambridge has already developed an interfaith curriculum. 'They have 800 years of experience in researching Christianity,' Fisch said, adding that the British institution also has contacts in the Muslim world. 'Nonetheless, they won't attain the level of research of Judaism that we have here. You can't properly research any juncture in Christianity without accounting for how Judaism responds to it. Judaism developed over the course of generations in response to other religions.' The new center will include a research unit; an education unit, which will train teachers to provide instruction on the monotheistic religions; and an interfaith dialogue unit, which will sponsor lectures and seminars."
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Haaretz, June 11, 2012 (Hebrew and English editions)
According to this report, titled "Palestinians: Vatican set to indirectly recognize annexation of East Jerusalem," "The draft of an economic agreement being forged between Israel and the Vatican makes no distinction between sovereign Israel and the territories occupied in 1967. The lack of a preamble containing such a distinction is at the center of heightened tension between various Christian denominations and the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Vatican. ... The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel is to meet in Rome today and tomorrow. They are to continue talks that took place in Jerusalem last week on matters of contention. While an accord is not expected to be signed, the parties say progress has been made. Negotiations toward an agreement on the fiscal status of Catholic institutions in Israel have been underway for 13 years. ... Over the past few months, NGOs and members of various Christian denominations in Israel have begun to receive details about the draft agreement, which has been presented to them as a failed effort by the Vatican. ... A well-informed source ... told Haaretz
that the Vatican-Israel agreement contains no geographical reference to any institution mentioned, and that there are no negotiations underway over the status of institutions in East Jerusalem. He said the agreement recognizes that 'the Vatican has some obligations but [also] some immunities because of the special character of the Church and religion,' and that the accord relates to Israel as it is identified and recognized internationally."
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The Jerusalem Post, June 11, 2012
"Something startling occurred in Germany last week. Anti-Jewish boycotts have returned to the country where they once marked the beginning of an unprecedented genocide against the Jews of Europe ... this time it is not the far-right, but Christians from the peace camp and members of the Left. ... With the slogan 'Occupation tastes bitter,' the German chapter of the Catholic organization Pax Christi began a national boycott campaign against Israeli products. The NGO rejected any equation of its campaign with the infamous Nazi boycotts of the 1930s because, as Pax Christi emphasized in a statement, its focus was on the 'settlements.' Yet the vice-president of the organization admitted she would not buy 'goods with the origin specification "Israel" because under this designation products could come from the settlements.' Even with this ambiguous clarification, it seems unclear how a boycott aimed only at companies run by Jews, where most of the workforce is Jewish and that are geographically connected to the only Jewish state could be anything but anti-Semitic. ... Neither of the two major churches in Germany, Protestant and Catholic, considered it necessary to issue a statement condemning the campaign and demanding a retraction ... it is not surprising that the call for a boycott of the Jewish state was not met with a huge public outcry in national German media or from politicians. It is not an exaggeration to say that the reaction so far has been silence ... it is the irony of history that the ones who are most outspoken about remembering the Shoah today are the ones who are at the forefront of a campaign to delegitimize the only Jewish state in the world. The rest of Germany will remain silent - until it is too late."
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Yehudi BeRosh, May 30; HaMevaser, June 6; Shofar, May 25, 2012
(May 30) reported the recent find under Robinson's Arch of a seal serving to mark "holy things brought to the temple," while Shofar
(May 25) ran the story of the discovery of the Second-Temple-period Bethlehem seal (see recent Reviews).
According to HaMevaser
(June 6), the Israel Antiquities Authority announced this week the discovery of a large quantity of precious Roman gold coins and jewelry in a Roman/Byzantine-era structure near Kiryat Gat, Israel. Presumably hidden by a wealthy inhabitant, the magnificent artifacts were buried in a courtyard and wrapped in cloth. "According to archaeologist, Emil Aladjem, the excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, 'The magnificent hoard includes gold jewelry, among them an earring crafted by a jeweler in the shape of a flower and a ring with a precious stone on which there is a seal of a winged-goddess, two sticks of silver that were probably kohl sticks, as well as some 140 gold and silver coins. The coins that were discovered date to the reigns of the Roman emperors Nero, Nerva, and Trajan, who ruled the Roman Empire from 54-117 CE. The coins are adorned with the images of the emperors and on their reverse are cultic portrayals of the emperor, symbols of the brotherhood of warriors and mythological gods such as Jupiter seated on a throne or Jupiter grasping a lightning bolt in his hand.'"
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The Jerusalem Post, June 5, 2012
According to this report, "A 16th-century painting of Christ carrying the cross ... was recently restituted to the heirs of a Jewish-Italian businessman. ... Christ Carrying the Cross
, by Italian painter Girolamo Romanino, was restituted by a U.S. District Court in February to the heirs of Federico Gentili di Giuseppe, a Parisian art collector who died in 1940. ... The work was returned to the Gentili de Giuseppe heirs only weeks ago, capping a more than decade-long process that began with a 1999 Parisian court ruling that nullified the 1941 sale of the businessman's estate."
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