Caspari Center Media Review……February, 2003 #2
During the period of time covered by this review, we received 22 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:
- 6 dealt with Jewish/Christian Relations
- 6 dealt with Anti-Missionary attitudes
- 3 dealt with Business and Commerce
- 2 dealt with Christian support of Israel
- 1 dealt with Early Christianity
- 1 dealt with a Television Review
- 1 dealt with a Book Review
The remaining 3 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.
Anti Missionary Attitudes
(Yom le Yom Feb. 13, 2003) (Hamodia Feb. 13, 2003, Feb. 20, 2003, Feb. 21, 2003) (Hashavua Be Yerushalayim Feb. 13, 2003)
Three articles (Yom le Yom Feb. 13, 2003, Hamodia Feb. 13, 2003, Hashavua Be Yerushalayim Feb. 13, 2003) covered the continuation of the issue regarding the plan to erect a tourist center on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. The High Court denied Yad L’achim’s petition to avert the building on grounds that it is destined to turn the holy place into one used exclusively for commercial purposes.
Yad L’achim “discovered” that the High Court’s ruling was received by “missionary centers” in Israel with great rejoicing. The journalist related that “missionary leaders” declared the day on which the decision was announced as “an historic day of missionary victory in Israel.” Several missionaries also labeled the president of the High Court, Aharon Barak, as “the hero of the victory, for his brave verdict.”
Hamodia (Feb. 21, 2003) ran a short item exposing a Korean “Christian cult’s” intentions to set up a large university in a central location of Jerusalem. The article claims that millions of dollars have already been spent on examining the possibility of the building, and that the heads of the program have already met secretly with various Israeli leaders, including Ehud Olmert, Jerusalem’s former mayor, ministers, and members of parliament.
Included in the cynical tone of the article was the fear, “It is something that is liable to penetrate deeply into the Israeli society as a whole, and to Jerusalem in particular.”
“Yad L’achim Prevented Renting Of Gigantic Building In Jerusalem To Missionaries” was the title of an article printed in Hamodia (Feb. 20, 2003). The matter presented referred to the intent of Ulf Ekman, the head of the “Word of Life” Ministry to raise “a large missionary center in Jerusalem”. Upon learning of the information, Yad L’achim approached the Minister of Interior, Eli Ishai, and former Jerusalem Mayor, Ehud Olmert, who in turn notified Ekman that he was denied an entrance permit into Israel due to his intended purpose being illegal missionary activity in Israel.
Israeli Actions Compared to Crucifying Jesus
(Jerusalem Post Feb. 16, 2003)
B’nai B’rith issued a report that sharply criticizes Jerusalem’s Young Men’s Christian Association and its women’s affiliate for its display of pro-Palestinian activities. The release notes that as part of its campaign, a brochure was issued that compares “the treatment of the Palestinians by Israel to the crucifixion of Jesus by the Romans.”
The brochure states, “Jesus was crucified with the people who were branded as ‘terrorists’ by the authorities of this time. The Palestinians are currently crucified, humiliated, and denied their human rights and dignity.”
The Jerusalem Post (Feb. 16, 2003) claims that all reports by the YMCA of “Palestine”, which is spearheading the B’nai B’rith campaign, deal only with the Palestinian hardship and blame is assigned solely to Israel.
Christian Support of Israel
(Hadaf Hayarok Feb. 13, 2003) (Jerusalem Post Feb. 16, 2003) (Hatzofe Feb. 13, 2003)
Hatzofe (Feb. 13, 2003) ran a short article regarding Christians from the Netherlands who correspond with members of the Rosh Zurim Kibbutz, with their motivation being to cultivate fellowship and friendship with settlers living in Israel’s occupied territories. The recipients have said that they have been encouraged by the letters from the Dutch Christians, who also “encourage them to hold onto our Holy Land.”
The Evangelical Israel Broadcasting Network was launched in Nashville, Tennessee, with its stated mission being “to guard, protect, and defend Eretz Yisrael and its people until the Messiah comes to Zion.” The network was said to be an alternative to the liberal, secular media’s fundamentally biased news stories on Israel, and that EIBN plans to provide not only news, but the newsmakers of the nation of Israel directly and uncensored to the Christian marketplace.
Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and former Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert expressed their wholehearted support for EIBN via satellite addresses to the Nashville event. In his speech, Netanyahu said, “We have no greater supporters than our Christian friends in the United States. Israel needs this support, because so many lies, so many slanders are in fact hurled at us, and the only way they can be fought is by opening up the truth. Who better to reveal the truth, and hold up the torch of truth than our many Christian friends in the United States?” (Jerusalem Post Feb. 16, 2003)
Hadaf Hayarok (Feb. 13, 2003) reported that The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews have decided to significantly support a program to professionally train new immigrants from Argentina and Ethiopia in a framework entitled, “First home in the Homeland.” The article proceeds in outlining some of the organization’s additional activities, and their past donations.
(Jerusalem Post Feb. 20, 2003)
Three articles in The Jerusalem Post on Feb. 20, 2003, dealt with Catholic and Vatican matters. The first entitled, “Glasnost at the Vatican” referred to the Vatican taking a small step in opening its World War II archives to researches examining the role of Pope Pius XII in the Holocaust. The journalist states that for decades the issue of the papacy’s silence in the face of Germany’s murder of six million Jews has cast a heavy shadow over Catholic-Jewish relations. Another point presented was, “If Catholic-Jewish relations are to further improve in the future, the first thing that needs to be done is to have an honest accounting of the past.”
“Edith Stein Letter Among Released Vatican Documents” was the title of the second article dealing with a letter seeking papal intervention against the Nazis, written in 1942, by a famous Jewish convert to Catholicism, Edith Stein. A short section of the letter was published in the article, “Not only Jews but also thousands of Catholic faithful in Germany – and I believe in all the world – for weeks are waiting and hoping that the Church of Christ will make its voice heard against such abuses in the name of Christ.” Stein died at Auschwitz in 1942, and Pope John Paul II declared her a saint in 1998.
The third article featured on the subject of Catholicism was a letter to the editor of The Jerusalem Post by Eugene Fisher, the director of Catholic-Jewish relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and consultor to the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. The letter was in response to an article published on Dec. 27, 2002 in the paper, entitled, “Catholicism is our Friend.” Fisher defends the Vatican and the Pope, expressing his view that under Pope John Paul II the Vatican has been “consistently mindful to Jewish sensitivities.”
Business and Commerce
(Iton Yerushalayim Feb. 07, 2003, Feb. 14, 2003)
“A Hostel for Pilgrims? Only If The Area is Free of Graves” was the title of an article in Iton Yerushalayim (Feb. 14, 2003) concerning members of the Greek Orthodox Church requesting the establishment of a building for monks and pilgrims. They have been requested to prove to the Regional Council that the land in question is free of ancient graves.
The same newspaper (Feb. 07, 2003) ran an item entitled, “Kfir Cinema Sold to a Christian Organization for 2.8 Million Dollars.” The journalist exposes that John Newton, representing a Christian Organization by the name of Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (P.A.O.C.), was searching for a large hall that would be utilized as a gathering place for its members, and settled with the owners of the cinema.
(Ha’Aretz Feb. 19, 2003)
The feature in Ha’Aretz (Feb. 19, 2003) comments on the parables in the Kabbalah, and then compares them with Yeshua’s parables. An analysis is made regarding Yeshua’s words in Aramaic and Greek in various phrases, and eventually the journalist declares that after going into it all, he lost his desire to read from the New Testament.
Television Program Review
(Yediot Feb. 13, 2003)
“Yeshua’s Feasts” is an Israeli produced television program described by the journalist as “clearly for sale among foreign, more Christian markets.” The program follows several stories from the New Testament in the area around Jerusalem and Nazareth. The review is negative, calling the broadcast boring, and hard to find an interest in. (Yediot Feb. 13, 2003)
(Ha’Aretz Feb. 18, 2003)
Tel Aviv University published a book entitled, “First Body in Two Voices – The Autobiography of Giber Manujan and Yehuda Herman” which is a translation of the Latin autobiography of the Father of the Manujan Monastery. The book also includes the personal life story of Yehuda Herman and his “path from Judaism to Christianity.” (Ha’Aretz Feb. 18, 2003)