Caspari Center Media Review…………….. November 2001
In the period of time covered by this review, we received 63 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:
- 14 articles dealt with anti Missionary activity
- 13 articles dealt with interfaith issues
- 6 articles dealt with Christian support of Israel
- 6 articles dealt with Israel and the Vatican
- 4 articles dealt with matters concerning the Greek Orthodox Church
- 2 articles dealt with the political situation in the country
The remaining 18 articles were single articles dealing with matters of Jewish or Christian interest on their own merit.
The Messiah Through Different Eyes (2/11/01, Zomet Hasharon)
In this four-page article the reporter searches most of the streams in Judaism for some clarification on the subject of the Messiah. The article starts out by pointing to the history of short periods when the Messiah was said to have come, different cults and streams and their beliefs. The journalist then interviews people from different sects of Judaism. The Lubavichers who believe that their Rabbi is the Messiah and that although he is dead, he will return. They also believe that he is at the door and that the time is very short. The Neturei Karta say that there is no date but that Jews may shorten the time by becoming religious. The Breslav Jews think messiah will come only by the faith of his people. The Sepharadi Jews are waiting for the Messiah’s imminent appearance. The Messianic Jews were also represented. Shiria Yahav from Tiberias was quoted saying that Jesus is the promised Messiah, that He will return, and when He does, we will recognize Him.
Protest against Missionary Activity in Holon (9/11/01, Hamodia; 8/11/01, Yom Le’yom; 2/11/01 Zman Mekomi)
The anti-missionary group Yad Le’ahim organized a protest rally in front of the Messianic congregation on Sokolov Street in the city of Holon. The protesters cried out against the congregation’s activities claiming that their motive was to take innocent Jews away from their faith. During the rally many rabbis spoke and a petition was distributed to those gathered. The petition demanded that the municipality expel the “Missionaries” from their outpost on Sokolov Street.
Trial Against the Municipality of Kanot (2/11/01, Yediot Haifa; 8/11/01, Yom Le’yom; 9/11/01,Yom Hashishi; 13/11/01, Hamodia; 15/11/01, Hamodia; 16/11/01, Yom Hashishi; 9/11/01, Shisha Yamim; 16/11/01, Shisha Yamim; 13/11/01, Yated Ne’eman)
The ongoing fight between the anti-missionary group Yad Le’ahim and the Messianic congregation Hesed Ve’emet has escalated to a higher level. While in the past, the group harassed only the congregation and its participants, they are now taking the municipality of Kanot to court for granting the congregation a building permit for their new center.
Yad L’achim’s claim states that the congregation did not inform the municipality of their true intentions for the building and also that there was some form of conspiracy between the congregation and the municipality. The court in answer requested the municipality to present the request forms and the reasoning behind the consent to grant the permit within fourteen days. If they refuse to do so, the case against the municipality will be opened. The court accepted the plaintiff’s suit.
The same issue also resounded in the halls of the Knesset where the Minister of the Interior together with representatives from both Yad Le’ahim and the Mesianic movement, headed by Eitan Kashtan, met especially in order to discuss the issue of the building in Kanot. The orthodox religious ministers were very critical of the government’s offices that to their claim are apathetic about the situation and are not doing enough to treat the claims brought against the missionary activity in the country.
Jewish-Christian Co-existence (11/01 Haim Aherim)
In this monthly Tel-Aviv magazine, a story is told about the peaceful village of Nes Amim where a small group of Christians from around Europe and the United States have come to live. They live in the village between one and seven years.
The project was begun and led in the late fifties by a German doctor and his Jewish friend. The residents of the village are Christians who believe that Jesus lived and died as a Jew, and that Christianity has done the Jewish people wrong throughout history. They came to the country to build a basis of understanding between the two religions after the Holocaust.
In the beginning they were not accepted by the Jews or by the Church, the one for fear of missionary activity and the other for lack of understanding as to their motives as well as opposition to missionary activity. But their story is one of success; their relationship with their Jewish neighbors is on good terms and the church now has movements that support reconciliation between the two religions.
The spoken language in the village is English. On Saturdays they hold meetings in which they read the Bible and discuss the passages from Jewish and Christian viewpoints. They also head a yearlong curriculum where the studies consist of the Jewish-Christian relationship, Zionism, the Holocaust, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and more. They also hold short seminars on these issues in which they receive groups from all over the world, Israel included.
Gentile Immigration (22/11/01, Yediot Aharonot)
In a recent statistical analysis it was found that 70 percent of the immigration this past year was not Jewish. The problem occurs because the Law of Return (law that enables all Jews to freely immigrate to Israel) includes also the grandchildren of Jews and their families. The Minister of Interior Eli Yishay is of the opinion that the law must be altered but he is not clear on the degree of the change.
Jehovah’s Witness Doctor Restored to His Job (23/11/01, Ha’arets (Hebrew and English editions); 22/11/01, Hamodia; 20/11/01, Ma’ariv)
A number of months ago Dr. De Vries was fired from his job because of religious pressure on his employers, the Maccabi Health Fund. He was said to have given a tract to one of his suffering patients and therefore was mixing work and belief. But of late, an interim order was issued by the District Court in Jerusalem that ordered Maccabi to allow him to work until the conclusion of the legal proceedings against him.