Caspari Center Media Review…………………..August, 2002 #1
In the period of time covered by this review, we received 48 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:
- 16 articles dealt with Christian support of Israel.
- 6 dealt with issues of the Christian world
- 11 dealt with Missionary activity.
- 2 dealt with messianic issues.
The remaining 13 articles dealt with individual matters of Jewish or Christian interest.
Increased Christian Support of Israel (The Jerusalem Post 25.07.02) (Israel Today 07.02) (Iton Yerushalayim 26.07.02) (Sheva 11.07.02) (Mekor Reshon 11.07.02)(Yated Ne’eman 12.07.02)
All the above listed papers continued to report on growing support for Israel among the international Christian community. Different articles covered support rallies and conventions such as a prayer conference for Jerusalem recently held in Texas, and a rally “Israel You Are Not Alone” to be held in Washington D.C. in October. The International Business Conference saw the participation of over 400 Christian business men from around the world who came to Jerusalem to show support for the Israeli economy at a time when it is threatened by trade sanctions in different parts of the world.
The papers also reported support given in other ways, such as televised statements and donations to different municipalities throughout the country. Israel Today (July issue) ran an article under the title “How Christians Can Support Israel.” The article suggests various ways the average believer can show their support spiritually, economically and politically.
“The evangelists don’t support Israel, they are Israel” is a quote from former prime-minister Benjamin Netanyahu and also the title of an additional article that appeared in the paper Makor Rishon. This article reviewed the mass political and financial support given to Israel by millions of evangelical Christians in America through different organizations. The article stressed the importance of this support especially in the political field. This support for Israel comes from the same group that made up president Bush’s electoral vote “Bush’s source of political support is also Israel’s source of support, when Bush acts against Israel he acts against his own source of power – against those who voted for him as president.” said Netanyahu
In response to Netanyahu’s comments, a prominent rabbi, Rav Dov Leor said, “In principle a distinction should be made between a contribution that is given on the basis of humanitarian motivations and a contribution that has a Christian ideological dimension. According to the Rambam, Christianity is pagan and as such is unable to aid in the restoration of the nation of Israel and the return to Zion.”
Evangelization in Israel (Israel Today 07.02)
This article discussed the controversial issue of evangelizing among Jews in Israel, and reviewed the different points of view of Catholics, Protestants and Evangelicals. Also mentioned were different problems that arise. Among these problems is fact that evangelizing done by Christians from abroad makes the concept seem foreign to Israelis, and that often the local messianic community is left to deal with angry reactions and the ‘aftermath’ of missionary activity.
Disputes Over Land (Jerusalem Post 30.07.02 , 29.07.02) (Ha’aretz 29.07.02) (
The Jerusalem Post reported that the Armenian Patriarchate is planning to petition the high court of justice over plans for a security fence separating Jerusalem from Bethlehem and Bet Jala that is to run through its property. Apparently the property (36 acres) contains ancient caves tombs and a monastery. Father Pakrad Bourjekian said that in May the monastery was ruined by the I.D.F and that numerous antiquities have been destroyed. The Patriarch has asked that the fence be built along a wall of the monastery that separates it from the Aida refugee camp. Reportedly this proposal was refused and the military ordered the land claimed for security reasons.
In another issue of dispute over land, different papers reported that a conflict at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher deteriorated into a fistfight between Ethiopian and Coptic priests over the division of jointly held roof property. Both sides claimed that the status –quo (set in 1757 and later reinforced by the British) had been broken. After the brawl, the Ethiopian ambassador arrived at the scene and said that the dispute would be resolved through Egyptian diplomatic channels. In this case, the Israeli government is likely to come under pressure from both the Egyptians and Ethiopians to resolve the matter in their favor.
The Deity of Yeshua (Israel Today 07.02)
This article came as follow up to an article, which appeared in the November issue of Israel Today. The original article presented the opinions of twelve Messianic Jews on the subject of the deity of Jesus. The article caused quite a controversial debate, so this second article by David Stern was intended for clarification. In this article Stern first explains how problematic it is to tackle such a subject in so few words and because of this, the twelve statements were unable to fully represent the views. This led to different misunderstandings regarding the texts. In addition, he adds that few of those who were interviewed have had formal theological training “In such cases the statements should be evaluated less as theology than as a heart cry to preserve Jewish identity. I think that all twelve of the Messianic Jews quoted are believers who love God and his Messiah Yeshua with all their hearts even if some of their words about Yeshua deviate from what most Christians consider acceptable.”
He refers readers to the most recent issue of the messianic journal ‘Mishkan’ for further reference on the subject.
Interfaith Involvement (In Jerusalem 02.08.02) (The Jerusalem Post 25.07.02)
One article reported on a letter sent to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon by the Christian Churches in Jerusalem, asking for the government to ease the curfews in the West Bank. Apparently the statement was far more moderate than others sent in the past that had been blatantly anti-Israel. This statement rejected suicide bombings and all types of violence. It asked that curfew hours be regulated and extended in order to allow citizens to take care of their basic needs without endangering their lives.
Another article reported on a joint delegation of Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders who visited Palestinian and Israeli victims of the intifada. The delegation gathered in order to show solidarity and comfort to all victims. All of the representatives spoke of the fact that violence is contrary to their belief and religion.
Missionary Activity (Ha Shavua 07.02) (Hamodia 29.07.02, 19.07.02) (Ha Shavua B’Yerushalayim 11.07.02) (Yom L’Yom 11.07.02) (Chadashot Ha Mishpacha 11.07.02) (Ha Tsofe 29.07.02)
The different religious papers featured over 11 articles warning of various missionary ‘cult’ activities. Two articles focused on missionary ‘infiltration’ into the Charedi community. Titled “The Mission Penetrates Charedi School” and “No Immunity From Missionaries”.
The articles explain how children and their families were ‘lured’ into missionary activities by different types of bribery including financial help and treats for children. The articles report how during meetings the missionaries held classes, teaching the New Testament and other ‘cultish’ literature.
Throughout the articles are stories of different individuals who were saved from the missionaries by different religious organizations dedicated to anti-missionary work. “No one is immune to missionaries, those who are not specially trained are absolutely not to engage missionaries in dialogue” Many of the articles contain similar warnings, one exposing missionaries who helped victims after a terror attack and another telling of Charedi attempts to stop a Christian convention at the Israel National Convention Center. Avi Mizrachi of Tel Aviv is mentioned as having influenced an ultra-orthodox man from Bnei Brak.