Caspari Center Media Review………..…December 2001, #1
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:
- 3 articles dealt with the Vatican and the Catholic Church
- 2 articles dealt with the political situation in Israel
- 10 articles dealt with anti-missionary activity in the country
- 5 articles dealt with Christian support of Israel
- 2 articles dealt with tourism in Israel
The remaining 14 articles were single articles dealing with matters of Jewish or Christian interest on their own merit.
The Anglican School- A Little Haven Within a City of Strife (In Jerusalem, 30/11/01)
In this feature article there is a description of the work of the Anglican school in Jerusalem. “Christian Mission Among the Jews” originally founded the school in 1843 as a Mission school, but today the school is very far from its origins as the school director Chris Wright emphasizes. Its goal today is to empower all students to become responsible world citizens. Wright feels that due to its rich and diverse cultural exposure, the school “can be a contributing force to peace in the region.”
The school is Christian in name, and as well, 89% of the student body is Christian. 13% are Christian and Muslim Israeli Arabs and Palestinians. There is a small percentage of Jews, religious and secular as well as one Buddhist student. There are 34 nationalities represented in the student body. Wright explains that he would like to increase the number of local students to 35% instead of its current 15%.
The school has students from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Wright sees the school as “providing a different way of living than seen on T.V. or even in their local communities. There must be a different model than conflict. Here we can show the opposite-how to treat people as individuals.” According to Debbie Denison, school registrar and office manager; this is no easy task. People are polarized.
The staff of the school aims for reconciliation based on listening and understanding each other. “It is a very adult thing which many adults don’t do here, and that is to have enough heart to listen.”
The Anglican school is so special that the British journalist Inigo Gilmore will be producing a film documentary about a year in the life of a small group of 12th graders in order to promote dialogue and interaction between students of different races, creeds and religions.
In the words of the high school principle, Peter Welby, “this is a very special school; the students are very fond of one another and there is a relaxed and frank relationship between staff and pupils.
The YMCA- A Place of Peace (Chalonot Yerushalaim, Autumn 2001)
The YMCA building in Jerusalem has been attracting various crowds of Jerusalem citizens for 70 years. It has throughout its years of activity, managed to create a warm atmosphere of understanding and partnership to a variety of religions and races.
The money for constructing the building was donated to promote the vision of peaceful co-existence in the Holy Land. The three buildings in the center of Jerusalem were christened in 1933 and since have become a unique place were all the citizens of the city can come together and leave their differences outside.
The architecture of the building also emphasizes its honorable goal. It is constructed using Muslim, Jewish and Christian symbols and its interior is similarly decorated
Ever since it was constructed, the YMCA building has hosted many important events and delegations. It has also headed different activities to promote co-existence both for young people and adults. This of course is common for most YMCA centers across the world, but is given a new meaning in Jerusalem in these times.
One of the latest programs is the “children of peace kindergarten” were Jewish, Muslim and Christian children play, learn and grow together. “The peace in the kindergarten is put into action, even if it is sometimes non-existent at the negotiating tables.” Says Teddy Koleck.
The Anti Missionary Law (Bakehila, 16/11/01, 23/11/01; Hashavua Beyerushalaim, 15/11/01, Hamachane Hacharedi, 15/11/01, Yom Leyom, 22/11/01, Hamodia, 23/11/01)
The conflict between the Messianic Jews and the Ultra Orthodox continues with no real developments and full coverage in the religious papers. The only new statement, according to the religious, is that the United States has had a hand in preventing a new mission law from passing.
The situation of the Grace and Truth congregational building continues to receive coverage in these articles but there is little new information. The interior committee of the Knesset did meet at the request of Yad L’Achim in mid-November to discuss the situation regarding the construction of the congregational premises at Kanot junction. Yad L’Achim reported on a video tape that implicated the congregation in “missionary activity- offering bribes to people to change their religion.” Although Yad L’Achim delivered this tape to the police, the police responded that the case had been closed due to lack of evidence.