February 28 – 2002

Caspari Center Media Review…………… February 2002, #1


In the period of time covered by this review, we received 47 articles on the subject of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the mission. Of these:


  • 14 articles dealt with missionary and anti-missionary activity in the country
  • 6 articles dealt with interfaith issues
  • 6 articles dealt with land issues
  • 6 articles dealt with the passing Christmas festivities in Israel
  • 3 articles dealt with tourism in the country


The remaining 12 articles were single articles dealing with matters of Jewish or Christian interest on their own merit.


Legal victory to Yad Le’Achim in the Kanot trial (17/01/02, Yom Le’Yom, 18/01/02, Shisha Yamim, 18/01/02, Yom Hashishi, 24/01/02, Chadashot Mishpacha, 25/01/02, Yom Hashishi)

In the interim verdict given by the regional court in Be’er Sheva, the request of the messianic congregation of Chesed Ve’Emet, headed by Baruch Maoz, to drop the plea of the anti-missionary group Yad Le’Achim against the building of a new spiritual center in the industrial center of Kanot was denied. The denial was given on the basis that the license for the construction was wrongly given seeing as how the center is in an industrial area and should be used for those purposes alone.


The judges’ decision presents a new doubt as to the continuation of the construction of the building.


Courts’ decision appealed (8/02/02, Iton Yerushalayim)

This week, David Stern, one of the local messianic leaders in the country appealed to the regional court of Jerusalem after the local court stated that the Israeli newspaper “The Jerusalem Post” was not obligated to run an ad posted by Stern. The purpose of the ad was to publicize his books, and was denied on the ground that most of the papers readers are religious Jews and would find the ad offensive.


Searching for identity (25/01/02, The Jerusalem Post, In Jerusalem, 4/02/02, Yediot Acharonot)

In the The Jerusalem Post and in the J.Ps’ Jerusalem weekly supplement-In Jerusalem there appeared two major articles, one and three page spreads, concerning the messianic movements in the country. The articles described the growth of the movements in the recent years as well as the growth of the Russian participation in the movements.


The articles interviewed a number of people including Jerusalem pastor Benjamin Berger, David Parsons of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ), Russian believers from the Chesed Ve’Emet congregation such as Alex Fybishenko and many others. They also include a number of personal testimonies of coming to faith from different backgrounds ranging from atheist Russians to Jewish Orthodox Americans.

The articles are very informative and deal with a wide range of issues, among these; mission; theology; the Jewish-Christian connection and much more. Many of the statistics relied upon were according to studies published by the United Christian Council in Israel and the Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies.


The third article that appeared in Yediot Acharonot was of similar content. The difference being that while the first two articles related to the messianic movement, the third related to Jews converting to nominal Churches after coming to Israel even when coming from Jewish homes. The reason given for this unusual decision was mostly based on the lack of understanding the new immigrants experienced while living in the country, especially from the Orthodox Jews. Some of the comments went as far as to include physical damage as was told by Yivgeni from Tiberius “they would throw stones at us when we attempted to drive on Shabbat” or the story told by Oxsana of how she fears for her daughter who was threatened at school and nearly beaten, after she mentioned that her family goes to Church. The spirit of the article was concluded by Yivgeni who said “I can’t understand a religion which acts in such a violent and intolerant way. My late grandfather, who used to read Hebrew prayers to us while we were still in Russia and prayed that one day we would make it to the land of Israel, would probably not believe that this is the way believing Jews act”.


All three articles suggest that the Jewish religion, or at least its current Orthodox representation, is in many ways lacking in spirituality as well as acceptance and tolerance.