Caspari Center Media Review… May, 2003 #2
During the period of time covered by this review, we received 46 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:
- 8 dealt with Anti-Missionary attitudes
- 6 dealt with Christian Sites
- 5 dealt with Tourism
- 4 dealt with Status of Non-Jews
- 3 dealt with Jewish Christians Relations
- 3 dealt with Christian support of Israel
- 3 dealt with Art Reviews
The remaining 14 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.
Anti Missionary Attitudes
)Yated Ne’eman Mar. 21, 2003, Apr. 11, 2003, May 2, 2003, May 20, 2003) (Hamodia Apr. 16, 2003, May 15, 2003, May 22, 2003) (Mishpaha Apr. 15, 2003)
Three articles in Yated Ne’eman (Mar. 21, 2003, Apr. 11, 2003, May 20, 2003) and one in Hamodia (Apr. 16, 2003) covered the formation of an anti-missionary group in Brazil by Brazilian Jews. The group’s, Judeus Pelo Judaismo, stated purpose is to fight the “increased activity of Christian missionaries who want to convert Jews in the South American country.” The following points were also made:
- Jews for Jesus is distributing tracts to Jewish beach-goers in Rio de Janeiro.
- In Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, some of the missionaries dress like Orthodox Jews.
“Wave of Increased Missionary Activity Around the Country” was the title of a brief item in Yated Ne’eman (Mar. 21, 2003) in which Religious Affairs Minister Gidon Ezra told an Israeli Parliament plenum that citizens country-wide are filing dozens of complaints about missionary activity aimed primarily at vulnerable sectors of the population. Ezra explained that missionary activity does indeed constitute a criminal violation and that the issue of enforcement falls within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Security.
Hamodia (May 22, 2003) described a gathering of Messianic Jews, who, for four consecutive days, assembled at the hotel area of Tiberius while attending a local conference. Yad L’achim attempted to prevent the happening, summoning the city’s Rabbi’s to place pressure on the hotels’ management to get rid of the “missionaries.”
On May 15, 2003 two articles appeared in Mishpaha and Hamodia, warning of a “missionary baptism” to take place by Jehovah Witnesses in Haifa.
Status of Non-Jews
)Jerusalem Post May 21, 2003) (Ha’Aretz May 21, 2003) (Hatzofe May 14, 2003) (Yated Ne’eman May 15, 2003)
Interior Minister Avraham Poraz (of the Shinui party) requested the annulment of immediate granting of citizenship, based on the Law of Return, to individuals who convert to Judaism in Israel. His proposal states that those converting in Israel will be eligible for citizenship. Opposition to Poraz’s decision came from the National Religious Party who demanded that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon freeze Poraz’s authority. (Jerusalem Post May 21, 2003)
Articles in Ha’Aretz (May 21, 2003), Hatzofe (May 14, 2003), and Yated Ne’eman (May 15, 2003), focused on statistics released by the Center of Statistics Bureau that confirms that 81% of those living in Israel are Jews. Zeev Ferber, one of the members of the non-profit organization, “Jewish Majority in Israel,” added that Jews are losing their majority in Israel at a frightening rate due to massive migration of non-Jews which is facilitated by manipulating immigration laws.
(Yated Ne’eman Apr. 11, 2003) (Jerusalem Post May 21, 2003) (Ha’Aretz May 16, 2003) (Eretz Feb.-Mar. 2003)
Church officials have declared that several politicians have been banned from entering the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Those banned include President George W. Bush, Tony Blaire, Donald Rumsfield, and Jack Straw. Father Panaritus is quoted as saying, “They are war criminals and murderers of children.” (Yated Ne’eman Apr. 11, 2003)
The Jerusalem Post listed “Places of Christian Worship in the Holy Land” on May 21, 2003. The comprehensive list was compiled with the assistance of the Christian Information Center in Jerusalem and consisted of Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Anglican, and Orthodox churches.
“Getting Acquainted in Capernaum” was a concise feature in Eretz Magazine (Feb.-Mar. 2003 edition) drawing visitors to the city using appealing descriptions and information.
The Van de Vendel family who live in the “Christian village” of Nes Amim in northern Israel were interviewed in Ha’Aretz (May 16, 2003). The village was established as a token of repentance for the Christian persecutions of the Jews throughout history. As Christians, the Nes Amim residents acknowledge Yeshua’s Jewish roots.
(Yated Ne’eman May 13, 2003) (Hatzofe May 12, 2003, May 13, 2003) (Tourist Guide May 15, 2003) (Globus May 16, 2003)
Hatzofe (May 12, 2003, May 13, 2003) and Yated Ne’eman (May 13, 2003) drew attention to Israel’s Ministry of Tourism campaign, in which Israel-loving Christians would be encouraged to tour Israel. The promotion, costing over one million dollars and stretching over a period of a month and a half, will focus on European countries and the U.S.A.
An increase in Christian tourism from Poland is expected in the upcoming months. LOT, Poland’s national airline, has raised the number of weekly flights to four and reportedly already have several reservations for tour groups of “believing Christians.” (Tourist Guide May 15, 2003)
Globus (May 16, 2003) reported that there has been a boost in the number of Catholic tourists to Israel of late, following a disappointing year by this sector of Christians last year. According to the Ministry of Tourism, 1,500 Catholic tourists are expected to arrive from Italy, Venezuela and Spain, adding to the 600 who already visited Israel recently.
Patriarch Sues Maariv Newspaper
(Globus, May 26, 2003)
The Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Irineos I, is suing the Israeli newspaper, Ma’ariv, for one million shekels. His claim is due to his complaint that the journalist who wrote an article published on Dec. 26, 2002 “slanderously” portrayed him, as well as the Patriarchate, as being anti-Semitic, making covenants with Arafat, and that his purposes to gain economical and political power in Israel are threatening. The Patriarch maintains that the content of the article was false, and that letters quoted in the item were fictional. (Globus May 26, 2003)
New Consultant for Christian-Jewish Dialogue
(Ha’Aretz English Edition May 06, 2003)
Ha’Aretz English Edition (May 06, 2003) ran a piece entitled, “Palestinian Priest Named Vatican Consultant for Christian-Jewish Dialogue.” Pope John Paul II has appointed Father Elias Michael Chacour as a consultant to the Holy See committee that promotes dialogue between Christians and Jews. Father Chacour is the first Palestinian to be appointed to the five-year post.
(Ha’Aretz May 21, 2003, May 22, 2003, May 23, 2003)
Articles in Ha’Aretz over a period of three consecutive days (May 21, 2003, May 22, 2003, May 23, 2003) dealt with various art and photography exhibitions focusing on Christianity, including an exhibition of 150 photographs showing the representation of Yeshua in photography spanning the past 160 years that was exhibited at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and Buxtehude’s cantata, “Yeshua’s Members,” that was presented at the Tel Aviv Museum.
Christian Support of Israel
(Ha’Aretz May 06, 2003) (Jerusalem Post May 18, 2003)
“Friends of Truth” was the title of a feature article in Ha’Aretz (May 06, 2003) that concentrated on Rabbi Yehiel Ekstein, founder and C.E.O. of The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. The article extols Evangelical Christians, describing them as:
- Appreciating the Jews and the nation of Israel.
- Believing in the Old Testament as is and seeing the Jews as the chosen people.
- Standing firm in their convictions regarding Israel’s borders and the Land’s completeness.
- Their encouragement is practiced in the form of large donations to aid and support Israel.
- They support the I.D.F.
The item also described Rabbi Ekstein as being Israel’s spokesperson to the non-Jewish world.
The Jerusalem Prayer Team announced the launch of a new program that pairs Evangelical Christians in the U.S.A. with Israeli’s living in the territories, named, “Adopt a Settler.” In The Jerusalem Post (May 18, 2003) article, prayer team Chairman Michael Evans, expressed that the program hopes to pair 200,000 settlers with Christians in the U.S.A. in an attempt to strengthen opposition to the road map. He added, “There are enough Christians that believe the Bible, and if they unite, it can be stopped.”
Christians and Christianity in the Holy Land
(Ha’Aretz May 09, 2003)
“Christians and Christianity in The Holy Land: History, Society and Culture as of the Latter Part of the Nineteenth Century” was the title of a two day seminar held in Jerusalem on May 13, 2003. The detailed notice announcing the event appeared in Ha’Aretz (May 09, 2003)
The I.D.F.’s Chief Priest
(Mishpaha May 15, 2003)
A brief article regarding new laws proposed for the I.D.F. made negative mention that a suggestion has been made to appoint a rabbi, a kadi and a priest (“!”) as part of the religious authority over I.D.F. soldiers. Members of Parliament who made the suggestion, Ran Cohen, Majalli Whbee, and Ayoob Kara, said that this was due to the latest incidents in which Muslim, Druze and Christian soldiers did not receive appropriate and respectable religious services after their death. (Mishpaha May 15, 2003)
“Yeshua Arrested by Belgian Prosecution”
(Nativ Feb. 2003)
An article claiming that Yeshua returned to earth, anonymously requesting to know of the situation of Christians in Europe, was featured in Nativ (Feb. 2003). According to the journalist, when Yeshua arrived in Brussels, Belgium, in 1982, He was arrested and sent to prison, on counts of being a Jew in occupied Palestinian territories. The article continues to link Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, to Yeshua, comparing the two as both being wanted in Belgium for judgment.
Interview with Haim Zeldis
(Yediot May 09, 2003)
“When I Write About Yeshua, I Write About Myself” was the title of an interview with author Haim Zeldis in Yediot (May 09, 2003). Zeldis, who resides in Israel, is described as having “discovered Yeshua” as a result of physical abuse from his Italian neighbors. When asked what draws him to Yeshua, Zeldis responds that Yeshua’s story is a Jewish one, and that he identified with Him as soon as he heard His story, due to anti-Semitism for simply being Jewish.