CASPARI CENTER MEDIA REVIEW FEBRUARY 1999
The Jerusalem Post, Jan.18; Ha’Aretz, Feb.2 1999
ATTACKS ON CHRISTIANS
A recent wave of threats and attacks against Christian organizations is being investigated by Jerusalem police. On January 5th stones were thrown at St. Andrew’s Church, breaking several stained glass windows. Workers at the church were not able to see the attackers, but random vandalism was ruled out by the size of the rocks thrown and the secluded location of the church. Two possible scenarios for the attack are being considered – one, that it was perpetrated by Moslems protesting the air-strikes on Iraq, and the other, that Haredi Jews were protesting against “the mission.”
On New Year’s Eve, pictures of one of the Swiss women whose apartment was ransacked, with a bull’s-eye around her face and a bullet hole drawn on her forehead, were glued to the door of the Bible-Society bookshop and outside two churches.
Uri Mor, Director of the Dept. of Christian Communities in the Religious Affairs Ministry, suspects that the approaching millennium may inspire religious fanatics – both Jewish and Moslem – to attack Christians. And in his opinion – as well as that of Charles Kopp of the UCCI – the media is not helping. “When an esoteric and fringe phenomenon is presented as representative of things to come, this is disproportionate exaggeration,” says Mor. “If millions of Christians come to Israel, we can expect that there will always be a few lunatics, but we don’t need to frighten the public with apocalyptic forecasts.”
Editor’s note: This week the entrance to the Caspari Center was “adorned” with stickers proclaiming: “Danger – Mission. The goal of the mission is the destruction of the people of Israel.”
Ha’Aretz, Feb.11 1999, by David Rosen (Director of the Israel office of the Anti-Defamation League)
The expulsion from Israel of the “Concerned Christians” … turned the world’s attention to Christian apocalyptic expectations about Israel in the year 2000.
Yes, there are Christians who believe that the prophecies of the end-times are about to be fulfilled in the holy land next year, and some believe that they should actively participate in this fulfillment. … But beyond this, the truth is that those who expect apocalyptic events in the year 2000 are a small minority even among evangelicals.
Of course, you don’t need a lot of people to cause a lot of damage, especially when weapons of mass destruction are readily available. In addition, there are fanatic groups amongst Jews and Moslems who would be happy to use Christian fanatics for their own ends. …
It is important to emphasize that most of the evangelical Christians who come to Israel will be peaceful and Israel-loving pilgrims. … It is important for us to be aware of the differences among Christian groups. By doing so we can be prepared to handle security problems and to ensure a warm welcome to the vast majority of Christians who come to celebrate the new millennium. Aside from the huge profits Israel can enjoy, this is a one of a kind opportunity to present the culture and advancement of the Jewish people in their own state to such a large part of the Christian world.
Kol HaNegev, Jan.22 1999
A resident of Gan Yavne filed a complaint with the Beersheva police against the municipal Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Yehuda Deri, for incitement against Christians. According to the complaint, the Rabbi declared that he would wage war “until the last drop of blood” against the missionaries, who baptize Jewish babies into Christianity; this constitutes incitement and makes Christian blood “free game.”
Persons close to Deri claim that his words simply reflect reality, and that he plans to prevent missionary activity in Beersheva. Deri responded, “The man has a right to complain, and if I have to be questioned I’ll be questioned. I warned against the phenomenon, but didn’t incite to harm anyone.”
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.
Ha’Aretz: National daily, published in Tel-Aviv, mostly objective towards believers.
Kol HaNegev: Southern region weekly.