January 31, 1997
SECULAR ISRAELIS, BEWARE
Letter to the Editor, Itton Yerushalayim, Jan.10 1997
Throughout all the years of the Jewish people’s existence, we were always warned against the Christian missionaries who wanted to convert us. But compared to the shocking Jewish missionary message of Rabbi Leah Kook at a gathering of newly orthodox women, all those Christian missionaries, including the Spanish inquisitors, were raw recruits. These Jewish Khomeinis will do anything to get innocent people to become orthodox, without giving a moment’s thought to the destruction of families in the process.
At the current pace of events, the day will not be long in coming when these Khomeinis will hold mass gatherings in order to burn “unacceptable” books, movies and plays.
HaModia, Jan.9,14; Yated Ne’eman Jan.9 1997
The main thrust of these articles is that due to the increase in missionary activity in Israel, including the mass mailing of the “Shalom” booklet and the expansion of “missionary facilities” such as Christ Church in Jerusalem’s Old City, the anti-missionary laws must be more severe. A number of orthodox MKs have suggested passing a law that would prohibit any religious influencing of people of other faiths, whether it be Jews influencing Christians or Moslems, Christians influencing Moslems or Jews, or Moslems influencing Jews or Christians. An interesting aside in the Jan.14 piece in HaModia is that alongside these efforts a liberal MK has introduced a bill to make it illegal to influence a minor to become an orthodox Jew…
CONQUERING THE JEWS IN THEIR OWN LAND
HaModia, Jan.10 1997
This editorial comes out against the liberal causes of “Democracy” and “Freedom of Conscience” as they are expressed in the effort to legitimize Messianic Judaism. The author likens the latter to illegal drugs, saying that just as the law prohibits people from using or dealing in certain substances in order to protect both life and property, so it should ban any spiritual “substance” which will harm the life of the nation. Messianic Jews are portrayed as
having severed their ties with the nation as a whole and having no loyalty to either the country or the people since their defection to the enemy camp.
JESUS IS GOD
Holon – Bat-Yam, Jan.3 1997
This article in a local weekly describes the life and beliefs of Ya’akov Damkani, a Messianic leader in Tel-Aviv. He is treated with doubt and contempt by the writer, who seems more sympathetic to the orthodox who regularly attack Damkani for his evangelical activities. Damkani explains that the persecution doesn’t bother him as much as attempts to pass new
laws against evangelism. He also thinks that the orthodox are over-reacting, and that the Messianic movement is too small to pose a serious threat to traditional Judaism.
Editor’s note: In many ways this article is representative of much of the media’s portrayal of believers as “Soul Hunters” out to get as many new recruits as they can, without seeking to understand the true motivation behind sharing our faith.
CAUTION! MISSIONARIES DISGUISED AS SHOE PEDDLERS!
Yated Ne’eman, Jan.6; HaTzofe Jan.7 1997
Both papers warn their orthodox readers that the folks peddling shoes and slippers door to door in Bnei-Brak are really missionaries… These impostors offer their wares at low prices and are friendly with neighborhood children, thus getting their seditious material into the hands and homes of the local population. Rabbis called on the public to warn their children not to endanger their souls by conversing with the peddlers.
THE COMFORT IN THE MISSIONARY ONSLAUGHT
Yom L’Yom, Dec.12 1996
This opinion piece by a rabbi tells the story of Rabbi Akiva laughing when he saw a fox on the Temple Mount, while his companions cried over the desecration. When they asked him to explain his reaction, he said that until the prophecies of destruction were fulfilled, those of the restoration could also not be. Thus he managed to find good in a painful situation.
The writer applies this lesson to the proliferation of missionary work in Israel, adding that as the power of (orthodox) repentance and purity grows, so evil will also become more concentrated, and its followers farther and farther from the possibility of redemption. He concludes with a call to all faithful Jews to do their utmost to keep the commandments and do good deeds in order to overcome the “other side.”
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
Ma’ariv Jan.7,8; Ha’Modia Jan.7; Yated Ne’eman Jan.8,17; Ha’Aretz Jan.19; Sheva Jan.9; Kol HaNegev Jan.10; Kol HaDarom Jan.3; HaShavua B’Ashdod Jan.3 1997
These articles deal with the hardships created by the influence and power of political orthodoxy in the lives of normal citizens of Israel. Many immigrants (and their Israeli born and raised children) who can not prove their Jewish ancestry are not eligible for burial in Jewish cemeteries, whose ground, the rabbis say, is hallowed and must not be defiled by
the burial of non-Jews. There are very few “alternative” cemeteries in the country, and these are often far from the bereaved families’ homes. The Rabbinate and Burial Societies often treat these families disrespectfully, adding to their suffering.
Another side of this rift in society is the outrage expressed by orthodox leaders over intermarriage. In one recent case, a couple that was wed in Cyprus wanted to celebrate with family and friends at a rented hall in the bride’s hometown. When the local Rabbinate heard of the affair, they first pressured the owner of the hall to cancel the party, and when that didn’t succeed they told the family that the bride should wear black and that her family should be mourning her.
STRANGERS IN OUR MIDST
The Jerusalem Post, ‘A View From Nov’ by M. Kohn, Jan.10 1997
This column opens with musings about the ethical and moral lessons taught by Judaism, and then focuses on our, and especially our government’s, application (or lack thereof) of these truths to relations with non-Jews. The writer touches on our “less-than-noble” treatment of those Arabs and Druse who have chosen to support the country by serving in the IDF, often at risk of their lives and lively-hood. He goes on point out the disdainful treatment received by foreign Christians, many of whom perform vital and charitable tasks, when they seek to renew their visas at the Interior Ministry.
“Part of the problem,” writes Kohn, “is rooted in the classic stereotypical behavior of government officials, treating all clients equally in a manner ranging from indifference to disdain. … Another part of the problem is a morbid attitude to non-Jews ranging from fear through suspicion to antipathy: non-Jews who like us or help us are regarded as psychically disturbed, or as out to convert us or otherwise exploit us for their own ends. In any event, certainly in the instance of our Orthodox-dominated Interior Ministry, the problem is not that the officials involved had a poor education in Jewish law and values, and are not aware of the Jewish teachings concerning treatment of the “stranger in our midst.”
He concludes by quoting various Biblical and Talmudic passages which teach us to love not only our neighbor, but strangers as well – a good reminder for us all.
NEWSPAPERS USED IN THIS EDITION:
Itton Yerushalayim: Jerusalem weekly.
Ha’Modia: Jerusalem religious daily. Very hostile to believers.
Yated Ne’eman: National religious/political daily published in Bnei Brak. Very hostile to believers.
Ha’Tzofe: Tel-Aviv religious/political daily. Hostile to believers.
Yom L’Yom: Jerusalem religious/political weekly. Hostile to believers.
Holon – Bat-Yam: local weekly.
Ma’ariv: National daily, published in Tel-Aviv. Politically tends to the right, mostly objective towards believers (depends on the reporter).
Ha’Aretz: National daily, published in Tel-Aviv, mostly objective towards believers.
Sheva: Beersheva weekly.
Kol HaNegev: Southern region weekly.
Kol Ha’Darom: Ashdod weekly.
HaShavua B’Ashdod: Ashdod weekly.
The Jerusalem Post: National English language daily, published in Jerusalem. Tends to the religious right, but careful and relatively fair towards believers (has a large Christian readership). Friendly towards right-wing political Christianity.