Caspari Center Media Review………………………. June 2002, #1
In the period of time covered by this review, we received 118 articles on the subject of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the mission. Of these:
- 44 articles dealt with missionary activities in the country
- 16 articles dealt with the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem
- 15 articles dealt with the Christian support of Israel
- 9 articles dealt with Greek Orthodox Church
- 8 articles dealt with the status issues
- 4 articles dealt with tourism in the country
The remaining 22 articles were single articles dealing with matters of Jewish or Christian interest on their own merit.
Conference in Jerusalem causes clashes with religious (Hashavua BiYerushalaim, 9/05/2002, 23/05/2002, Hamodia, 10/05/2002, 17/05/2002, HaTsofe, 10/05/2002, 14/05/2002, The Jerusalem Post, 14/05/2002, Shisha Yamim, 10/05/2002, 17/05/2002, Yom HaShishi, 10/05/2002, 10/05/2002, Chadashot HaMishpach, 9/05/2002, Kol HaIr, 16/05/2002, Yom LeYom, 15/05/2002)
Many Jerusalem religious sects were furious over a Christian conference held in the National Convention Center (Binyanei HaUma) in the city. The conference, held by the British evangelist David Hathaway, met with strong opposition and was eventually stormed by a mob of Ultra Orthodox Haredi protestors.
Yad Le’Achim attempted to organize a public demonstration outside the building, on the grounds of their opposition to the clear missionary intent, but eventually decided to cancel the demonstration after being told by police that they would have to finance security guards and a fence around the demonstrators.
This did not, however, stop them from doing everything they could to disrupt the conference. According to the conference organizers, Yad LeAchim threw stink bombs into the audience and stole sound equipment.
Battle in Bnei Brak continues (Chadashot HaMishpacha, 2/05/2002, 30/05/2002, Yom LeYom, 15/05/2002, Shisha Yamim, 2/05/2002, HaModia, 10/05/2002, 30/05/2002)
In continuation of this story, appearing in previous media reviews, Yad LeAchim continued to battle missionaries in Bnei Brak, who were, according to the religious claim, ‘doing anything they could to achieve their dubious goals’.
The 12 believers involved were from Beit Immanuel in Jaffa headed by David Lazarus. They were eventually driven out of Bnei Brak by religious pressure.
Continuation of the Kannot ordeal (BaKehila, 23/05/2002, HaModia, 23/05/2002)
A few months ago, the religious papers carried many articles regarding Yad LeAchim’s legal battle against the Chesed VeEmet congregation. At that time, the congregation was in the midst of a large building project at the Kannot junction where they were to hold their activities. Yad LeAchim found this very disturbing and made every effort to stop the construction, eventually taking the case to court.
Now, once again the story has reached the media. The court case has concluded ant the congregation received a positive ruling. The judge, in his final statement, said that he finds a need to mention that in the scroll of independence, signed near the time of the founding of the state, equality was promised to all religions that exist in Israel.
Yad LeAchim did not find this answer convincing and are now in the process of writing an appeal to the High Court of Justice.
Meetings held in Kiryat Gat (Zman HaDarom, 10/05/2002)
Citizens of Kiryat Gat, a city that is mostly religious in orientation, have begun to complain that in one of the homes in the city, Christian meetings were being held. The citizens turned to the Rabbis of the city with the complaint, and the Rabbis called in Yad LeAchim, who are said to be “investigating the matter.”
Television program receives interesting review (MaAriv, 16/05/2002)
The Open University broadcasted a documentary about the life of Jesus on channel 8, the Israeli culture channel. In this article, which appeared in one of the major Israeli papers, there is a review of the program.
To begin with, it seems that the reporter was very angry with the broadcasting company, calling the show “cheap missionary kitsch.” He also said that the program was very unhistorical. But he then continued to state the importance of the study of the Christian religion and the impact it has on world culture, as well as on Jewish culture.
He concluded by saying that seeing the world without an understanding of Christianity is as incomplete as viewing the world without, say, the color red. He suggests that if the ministry of education is not willing to their job, some other institution should do it.
The monastery in Ein Kerem, a hopeful story (MaAriv, 10/05/2002)
In the midst of all the hardship and pain that Israel is experiencing, it seems that there are still some havens where the truly important things are remembered and concentrated on. According to this touching 4-page article in one of the major Hebrew dailies, the work in Ein Kerem is one of these places.
“The Saint Vincent monastery in Ein Kerem is an island of hope in a cruel land. Jewish and Arab children afflicted with brain damage are treated by nuns and volunteers whose devotion is stronger than any political or religious barrier. A story of a place where love wins.” This is how the article opens. It then tells the personal stories of many of the nuns, as well as the children and includes interviews with many of them.
Interfaith prayer for nonviolence (The Jerusalem Post, 10/05/2002, 15/05/2002)
In continuation of the Alexandria summit, which took place several months ago, there have been several follow-up meetings, the last of which was held in the Tantur Ecumenical Institute. A group of 80 Muslims, Jews, Christians, and visiting Buddhists joined in a unified call for nonviolence and unity. The religious cooperation has set as a goal to amend the misconception of the place of religion today. As is best stated by Rev. Terasawa Junsei, leader of the Buddhist delegation, “religion has become the hostage of violence and conflict. We must help it regain its original purpose- to unite people in one spirit”.
The rally, although very important, was not all that successful when cold reality hit once again and the sound of ambulances confirmed that there had been yet another suicide attack.
New law proposed (Reshet Beit Radio, 21/05/2002, HaTsofe, 26/05/2002, HaArets, 21/05/2002, Yated NeEman, 21/05/2002)
In the usual manner of MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) a new bill was submitted to the Israeli Parliment, proposing that the existing law concerning missionary activity be revised and that the penalty for such activities be raised. This is to be expected from the Unified Torah Judaism. The unlikely surprise, which drew the attention of prominent newspapers and a radio debate, was the fact that Gafni joined forces on this issue with none other than the extreme anti religious MK, Tommy Lapid (Shinui).
The two MK’s are known for their constant disagreement on nearly every issue proposed. Apparently, Gafni initiated the bill proposing that individuals convicted of inducement to religious conversion would be subject to a one-year prison sentence, after he heard Lapid speak out against missionary activities on a TV talk show.