April 30 – 1997


Yated Ne’eman English Edition, March 28 1997


This article is part one of a review of the battles over the “heavenly Jerusalem” – the city’s aspects of sanctity and spirituality. It focuses on the “missionary” hospitals of the 19th century and later battles against the screening of movies on Shabbat. The following is a series of quotes from the article.

“There was a period during which … residents preferred to suffer rather than to receive medical treatment in the city’s hospitals. Until today, venerable Yerushalmim recall the “Englisher Shpital” – the dreaded mission hospital – with both wrath and fear…”

“…members of the London Society for the Spreading of Christianity Among Jews… regarded every successful attempt to ensnare Jewish souls as a victory.”

“Side by side with the kosher food and the pseudo-mitzvah observance, the hospital also distributed Christian literature to its patients. … Many picked up these books just to look at them briefly, or even with the intention of destroying them. But meanwhile, they were affected by their venom. Others took the pernicious material home with them, and in that manner, christian germs spread in all directions. Those who weren’t strong enough in their faith or loyal enough to their rabbonim, were led astray by the ‘religion of love’.”

A quote from a period publication says: “The eyes of the beloved … well up with tears, upon seeing the malignant and leprous scourge of the Protestant sect.  … Their fangs drip with honey … as they claim that they have come … only to help ailing Jews. But their thoughts are malevolent…”

In response, the orthodox leadership issued a strict ban, forbidding anyone to work for or receive treatment at the hospital, on threat of being totally excommunicated from Jewish society: “His children will not be circumcised; after his death his body will not be ritually purified, and he will not be buried in a Jewish cemetery.” A later version read: “As a result of the deceit of the inciters, a few Jews were ensnared, and went to the impure inferno (where they heard) their chatter and sermons. When such people’s illnesses deteriorate, the missionaries baptize them… Their lot will be with the instigators, both in this world and the World to Come…”



Letter to the Editor, the Jerusalem Post, March 27 1997


Sir, – “Haredim harass Jehovah’s Witnesses” … on the front page … is the most biased attitude ever expressed. In the two column article … there were three lines admitting that the “Witnesses” do missionary work, their “religious duty” – so why aren’t they the “guilty” and not the haredim who object to it?


Editor’s note: this is in response to the article in the last Media Review about the book-burning and wholesale destruction of the Witnesses’ property in Lod. In more recent articles in the religious press, participants in this vandalism bragged about the bravery, righteousness, and effectiveness of their actions.



Yated Ne’eman, March 3; Ha’Tzofe March 5; Yom Ha’Shishi March 7; Ha’Modia March 7 1997


Representatives of various agencies which work with immigrants from the former Soviet Union announced the formation of a joint “Anti-missionary forum” in order to counter the increased missionary activity among their clientele. The forum will focus on educational efforts as well as lobbying for the passage of stricter anti-missionary laws (specifically the bill prohibiting possession, printing, etc. of evangelistic materials).



Ma’ariv Tel-Aviv weekend supplement, Jan. 31 1997


This is the chronicle of a university student’s search for a text required in one of his courses. The campus bookstore, along with 76 out of 83 book shops in Tel-Aviv, doesn’t carry it. Those who do ask not to be named. Not surprising, considering that stores who do carry such materials have been threatened and vandalized. What is this dangerous, fear-inspiring document? None other than the New Testament, considered by the professors interviewed to be a basic key in understanding western civilization. All those interviewed expressed frustration with the demonization of the NT in Israeli society, and with the opposition encountered when trying to teach or study it, even from a historical or literary perspective. So what’s a student to do? One option is to follow the advice of a teacher, who unashamedly sends pupils “to the missionaries” to get a free copy of this “seditious” text.



Yated Ne’eman: English language religious/political weekly, published in Jerusalem. Very hostile to believers.

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.

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 Ha’Shishi: Jerusalem religious weekly. Hostile to believers.

Ha’Modia: Jerusalem religious daily. Very hostile to believers.

Ma’ariv: National daily, published in Tel-Aviv. Politically tends to the right, mostly objective towards believers (depends on the reporter).