Caspari Center Media Review……..September 2001, #1
In the period of time covered by this review, we received 57 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:
- 6 articles dealt with Christian support of Israel
- 5 articles dealt with matters concerned with the Greek Orthodox Church
- 5 articles dealt with Christian lands in Israel
- 4 articles dealt with Israel and the Vatican
- 3 articles dealt with Christian tourism and Christian tourist sites
- 3 articles dealt with security issues (increased security at Christian sites)
- 2 articles dealt respectively with interfaith issues, Jehovah Witnesses, Missionary activity, Messianic Jews, and convent life
The remaining 21 articles were single articles dealing with matters of Jewish or Christian interest on their own merit.
“Christians For Israel” (31/08/01 Ha’aretz, English and Hebrew editions, 31/08/01, Jerusalem Post)
A full page paid advertisement appeared in both of these large circulation national daily papers expressing strong support of Israel. The advertisement was sponsored by a German Christian organization, Christen Für Israel International, headed by Pastor Dr. h.c. Fritz May.
The text of the ad connected the threat against Israel with a threat to world peace and Christianity. “Anti Judaism is an original sin of the traditional Christianity and a moral and spiritual declaration of failure of the Christian Church. Whoever is against the Jews is also against the Jew Jesus of Nazareth.”
The tone of the advertisement was both political and theological. “Every form of hostility against the Jews must therefore provoke our determined and strong protest. We say NO to Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Anti-Israelism and Anti-Judaism! Those who remain silent are also guilty of being against the Jewish people. And they harm themselves.”
Lev L’Achim Threatens Closure of School (31/08/01, Yidiot Achronot)
The Ultra Orthodox anti-mission group, Lev L’Achim, has been working to close the “Atid” school in Mikveh Israel. The school was founded three years ago by a group of parents who wanted an open, tolerant, humanistic approach to education. The school has been under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and has been cited for excellence.
Lev L’Achim took the school to court claiming, together with other lies about the competence of the staff, that the teachers were trying to “convert the children to Christianity.” In spite of the fact that Lev L’Achim was successful in obtaining a closure order issued by one of the directors of the Ministry of Education, when the matter went to court, the presiding judge cancelled the order after hearing evidence presented by the counter claim of the parents.
From the article, it would appear that Lev L’Achim took up this matter because some of the original founding parents of the school had a “drawing towards scientology.” The matter went so far as to become a matter of interest to Knesset member Moshe Gafni who then applied pressure to one of the assistant directors of the Ministry of Education. The end result of the case is that the school has been given another year to operate on the condition that they will meet the necessary pedagogical requirements.
Television Documentary on Life in a Silent Convent (31/08/01 MaAriv, 30/08/01 Globes)
The major Hebrew daily paper, Maariv carried a two- page feature article with an interview with the filmmaker Shiri Tzur, about the research and filming of a half-hour television documentary that was broadcast on Israel channel 8 in early September. Globes, another Hebrew daily, also covered the showing of the documentary.
Both articles present fascinating pictures of life in a convent of silent nuns at Beit Jamal, near Beit Shemesh. The filmmaker spent many months building trust and cultivating meaningful relationships with the nuns before they agreed to let her make the documentary. The question behind the film is why these women would choose to live their lives in silence and in dedication to God. In the end, that question is not answered and the film itself progresses silently.
Shiri Tzur has many positive things to say about life in the convent and the benefits that silence bring to one’s life. For her, the film was not the end of her relationship with the convent and even though she has married, she still wants to visit her friends, the nuns of Beit Jamal.
Tracts in Tiberias (31/08/01, Index HaGalil)
This Tiberias weekly paper reports on the distribution of Hebrew language Christian tracts and articles in the mailboxes of Tiberias residents. ‘World Pastor’ Tony Alamo is responsible for these tracts, entitled “God has no Mother,” and “Christianity.” The rabbis of Tiberias called on the public to burn the tracts and articles.
Alamo offers other articles, includes a website address, offers free Bibles and he writes: “The Alamo Christian Church provides accommodation and food for those who want to worship God whole heartedly.”
Popes Against the Jews (03/09/01, HaAretz)
In a translation of an article that originally appeared in the New York Times, this major Hebrew daily reports on a the publication of a new book, scheduled to appear in the bookstores on September18: “The Popes Against Jews, The Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism,” by David Kratzer, an historian and professor at Brown University in the United States.
Kratzner has specialized in the study of 19th century Italian history. His new book deals with the whole modern period and he specifically relates to the attitudes of Pope Pius the 9th whose papacy was during the middle to final years of the nineteenth century. Some historians question Kratzner’s reading of the historical data but others say the he reveals the ‘naked truth’ about Papal anti-Semitism in the modern era. Kratzner has had access to the Vatican archives from the Roman Inquisition and he claims that these reveal a high level of official opposition and persecution of the Jews by the Vatican. His conclusion is that the church paved the way to the holocaust.
Woman Denied Status (03/09/01, MaAriv)
The paper carries a report concerning the refusal of the Ministry of Interior to recognize a new immigrant as being Jewish. This is in spite of the fact that the woman has documentation to prove her Jewishness and that the Religious Court of Beer Sheva has authenticated both her Jewishness and that of her mother. The Ministry of the Interior bases their decision on the fact that prior to coming to Israel, Louisa Tairov was married to a Greek Christian and her children were baptized. She has been fighting for four years to be given rights as a new immigrant.
In the Footsteps of Abraham (07/09/01, HaAretz)
This article is a report on a new religious documentary film that was produced in the USA. It is entitled, “Jews and Christians: A Journey of Faith.” The inspiration for the film came from a book written over a decade ago by Marvin Wilson, professor emeritus at Gordon Conwell Seminary. His book, “ In the Footsteps of Abraham,” explored the Jewish roots of Christianity in a popular format.
The film examines aspects of the theological and historical relationship between Judaism and Christianity. More that 40 people from many different backgrounds (religious and secular Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, etc.) were interviewed for the film. The producer, Gerald Karl, had many obstacles to overcome to produce the film. His hope is that the film would help Jews and Christians to understand the other’s religious heritage.