CASPARI CENTER MEDIA REVIEW………………………….…JULY, 2000 #1
The number of articles found the Israeli Media’s coverage of matters relating to Messianic Jews, the Mission and other Christian matters came to a total of 28. Of these, nine articles reported the break in and vandalism of a Messianic Congregation in Jerusalem, five articles dealt with a land scandal between the government and Orthodox Church, three articles dealt with the missionary and anti-missionary activity, three articles dealt with Christian tourism and Christian sites in Israel and three articles dealt with Jewish-Christian relations. The remaining five articles dealt with Arab, Christian or Jewish matters on their own merit.
Messianic Synagogue Looted (Ha’aretz, Radio Yerushalaim (x2), The Jerusalem Post, Globes, 27/06/00, Ha’aretz (x2), 29/06/00, Jewish Chronicle, The Jerusalem Post, 30/06/00)
Roei Yisrael congregation in the center of Jerusalem was broken into late Sunday night. The Torah scroll was stolen along with other artifacts. Police think the thieves were planning on burning the synagogue down since ten bottles filled with gasoline were also found.
A neighbor awakened by the noise of the break in spotted “two men dressed in black emerging from the synagogue carrying a Torah scroll. He summoned police who found that the premises had been breached through a window.”
Yosef Shulam, the head of the Messianic congregation has been under attack by religious Jews for years. Several years ago two fire bombs were thrown near his house. A radio broadcaster pointed out that this Messianic sect is very controversial. “They face opposition from every Jewish group.”
One article focused on the hypocrisy of Jews burning synagogues saying “It is difficult to shake off the oppressive feeling aroused by the sight of burned books or the scorched floor of a synagogue, and it is difficult not to recall similar sights at terrifying events that occurred at other places during other times in the history of the Jewish people.”
It should be pointed out that only two days earlier another synagogue belonging to the conservative movement was broken into and burned down. Police are investigating what might be a connection between the two incidents. No suspects have been arrested yet, but police attribute both break ins to Orthodox Jews. They, on their part, have kept silent.
Some letters of response were sent to the newspapers who published this story. These letters vehemently protested the use of “synagogue” and “Messianic” in the same sentence. Most papers, however, condemned this act, one going so far as to say “if Jews are torching synagogues, why complain about the skinheads?”
Christianity Versus Judaism. The Big Differences (Nekuda, May 2000)
This five page article appeared in a Jerusalem monthly publication. The writer takes it upon himself to explain the differences between Judaism and Christianity following the Pope’s visit last March. He believes the Israeli public simply did not know what it was dealing with.
The article is arranged according to major differences between the faiths, with occasional editorial comments on Christianity’s oddest points.
First the author points out that Christianity is built on a problematic relationship to Judaism; founded on the one hand upon Jewish roots, Christianity cannot find fulfillment without taking away all Jewish rights.
“The foundation of Christianity is the declaration of a new covenant of the Creator with Man. A covenant that puts an end the previous covenant made with Israel.” Early Christian theologians claimed that God had to become a man for this covenant to take on any meaning, “the word became flesh.” But, says the author, this kind of thinking does not sit well in the Jewish mind. It is, in fact, an impossibility.
As a second example the author writes about the differences in work ethics between the two faiths. Judaism believes in the continual learning process based on day to day living; a process with a history of learning from mistakes, of constantly “fixing” one’s person and family. Christianity, on the other hand, dismisses self improvement and offers immediate redemption. There is no correction of fault, only forgiveness. Redemption from on High, by grace, and not by works.
Thirdly, a person is not born Christian like he is born Jewish. He must go through a process of baptism and communion to enter into this faith. This process, or sacrament, should have produced Christians full of love and grace. But the Christian faces such impossible demands that he has no chance of abiding by them. This type of religion creates people who hate themselves on the one hand, and make up impossible ideals and demands, on the other.
Fourthly, Judaism teaches a law that can only be kept by a small society designed specifically for that law, a society that is obligated to keeping its own rules and regulations, in other words, a society that is no less than a nation. In comparison, Christianity desires universality. It is not satisfied with one nation acting as an example for the rest.
Christianity interprets scripture to fit its own need of pointing everything to their Messiah. In this process, simple interpretation is often ignored or lost.
The Jews are to blame for the death of the Messiah. They rejected him and the whole of Christianity, and therefore sentenced him to his death. The Romans are cleared from all guilt since it was the Jews who chose his death.
“One of Christianity’s most basic foundations, that has helped establish the religion in so many places, is the strong emphasis on experience and emotion. Christianity offers an uplifting experience with the aid of music, art, incense, bells, architecture, and ecstatic confessions. Along with these positive emotions, Christianity does not rebuke more passionate ones, such as bitterness, revenge, hatred and humiliation.” It is the legitimacy of such emotions that has made Christians able to keep punishing the Jews for their rejection of the Messiah. Since Christianity is such a forgiving religion, death is not necessary, only eternal isolation, degradation, and humiliation.
“As Jesus is the Eternal Good, so the Jew is the Eternal Bad.”