Caspari Center Media Review… October, 2003
During the period of time covered by this review, we received 100 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:
- 25 dealt with Christian support of Israel
- 23 dealt with Anti-Missionary Attitudes
- 10 dealt with Jewish Christians Relations
- 5 dealt with Business and Commerce
- 5 dealt with Tourism
- 4 were Film Reviews
- 4 dealt with Christians and Politics
- 2 dealt with Terrorism
- 2 dealt with Archeology
- 2 dealt with Israeli Attitudes concerning Christians
- 2 dealt with Religious Freedom and Rights
- 1 dealt with Status of Non-Jews
- 1 dealt with Messianic Congregations
- 1 was a Book Review
The remaining 13 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.
Anti Missionary Attitudes
(Hatzofe Oct. 22, 2003) (Hamodia Oct. 10, 2003) (Mishapaha Oct. 02, 2003) (Bakehila Oct. 02, 2003) (Index Dati-Haredi Oct. 09, 2003) (Yom leYom Oct. 09, 2003) (Iton Yerushalayim Sept. 26, 2003, Oct. 03, 2003) (Hamahane Haharedi Sept. 18, 2003) (Sha’a Tova Sept. 19, 2003)
An extensive article in Yom leYom (Oct. 09, 2003) dealt with missionaries taking advantage of the poor in Israel. The item explains that the new and more “sophisticated” methods utilized, include penetrating communities of families in economic distress, as well as offering assistance to those who have been injured in terror attacks. Photographs of a “missionary” preventing a photographer from documenting an active home church in Be’er Sheva, and of missionaries distributing “enticing” literature in mail boxes in Sderot are shown.
Missionary activity in the Haredi community of Jerusalem was reported in Index Dati-Haredi (Oct. 09, 2003). A brief warning was issued to caution residents of a compact disc that is being distributed in the neighborhoods entitled, “The 300 Jewish Books.” Following investigation, it was discovered that the disc contains “heretical words regarding God and His Law, and praise to ‘that’ man.”
Mishpaha (Oct. 02, 2003) ran a piece proudly declaring that the anti-missionary organization, Yad L’achim, succeeded in turning an active missionary who was operating out of a “cult” in Yizhak Sadeh Street, Tel Aviv, into being a Yeshiva (Talmudic College) student. Before and after photographs are presented.
Mina Panton, a member of the Mafdal political party, and on the Jerusalem council, publicly expressed her dislike of the Christian Embassy representatives who participate in the annual Jerusalem March during the Feast of Tabernacles. In a letter written to Jerusalem’s mayor, she requested banning the Christians from carrying signs; saying, “It can’t be that the March will turn into a demonstration of praise and glorification to ‘Yeshu’.” The Embassy spokesperson, David Parson said in response, “We have never dealt in missionary activity. We are here in order to learn from the Jews.” (Iton Yerushalayim Sept. 26, 2003)
A letter to the editor of the same paper was printed on Oct. 03, 2003 in which a reader protests Ms. Panton’s demands. He expressed that her demands go against the very values of Judaism and the commandment of respecting foreigners among us.
Sha’a Tova (Sept. 19, 2003) ran a comprehensive piece outlining the continual and desperate need of Yad L’achim to prevent missionaries from reaching Jews. Several examples of their “success” stories are related.
An article appeared in Hamahane Haharedi (Sept. 18, 2003). dealing with the history of several of Jerusalem’s hospitals. Missionaries, who intended to take advantage of the plagues and diseases in the Land to win souls to their religion, donated some of these hospitals. The journalist reported that the missionaries did not hide their desire to heal not only the body, but also to “treat the soul.” In response, 106 years ago, a boycott was issued against these hospitals, prohibiting all Jews from being cared for on their premises. The rabbis of the city eventually took the initiative of building “Jewish” hospitals instead. Several photographs and illustrations appear, including that of the English Missionary Hospital.
An outcry by Yad L’achim, claiming that the Zionist Federation is contributing to the strengthening of missionary activity, was published in the religious paper, Hamodia (Oct. 10, 2003). The cause of the organization’s concern was that a group of youth from Ariel was sent on a trip to Christian homes in San Diego, California, where they will encounter “missionary brainwashing by the use of methodical and sophisticated techniques.”
Another religious paper, Hatzofe (Oct. 22, 2003) expressed a journalistic opinion as to why Jews were expelled and are not welcome in most countries today. The reason given was their rejection of The New Testament.
Christians and Politics
(Ha’Aretz Oct. 05, 2003) (Ha’Aretz English Edition Oct. 05, 2003) (Sha’a Tova Sept. 19, 2003) (Yediot Sept. 30, 2003)
Both Ha’Aretz and Ha’Aretz English Edition ran articles entitled, “We can’t lose Jerusalem” on Oct. 05, 2003. The articles focused on America’s large evangelic Christian coalition, their political influence on the U.S. electoral sector, and their demand not to pressure Israel into retreating from the territories. Several statements and slogans of Christian activists are presented, as well as photographs of demonstrations outside President Bush’s Texas ranch.
Sha’a Tova (Sept. 19, 2003), a religious weekly paper, reported that a Jew who “converted to Christianity,” Wesley Clark, is a new democratic candidate for presidency in the U.S.A. Brief background information about Clark is reviewed, and includes his stepfather’s influence on his conversion.
Hunger in the Falashmura Camp
(Yediot Sept. 30, 2003)
At the beginning of 2003, the Israeli government decided to liquidate the Falashmura camp in Ethiopia and to assist the entire tribe in immigrating to Israel. Due to delay in the implementation of this decision, malnutrition, disease, and crowdedness have occurred in the group. Additional Ethiopians have apparently also joined the camp, now causing the government to doubt the original decision to assist the ethnic group in immigration. Yediot (Sept. 30, 2003) details the dilemma.
The Feast of Tabernacles and The Jerusalem March
(Kol Hazman Oct. 10, 2003) (Iton Yerushalayim Oct. 10, 2003) (Hatzofe Oct. 14, 2003, Oct. 15, 2003, Oct. 20, 2003) (Ha’Aretz Oct. 09, 2003, Oct. 15, 2003,) (Ha’Aretz English Edition Oct. 09, 2003, Oct. 15, 2003, Oct. 17, 2003) (Jerusalem Post Oct. 14, 2003, Oct. 15, 2003) (T.V. Transcript – Ro’im Olam Sept. 27, 2003) (Tourist Guide Oct. 16, 2003) (Yediot Oct. 13, 2003, Oct. 15, 2003) (In Jerusalem Oct. 17, 2003)
Seventeen articles (In Jerusalem Oct. 17, 2003, Kol Hazman Oct. 10, 2003, Iton Yerushalayim Oct. 10, 2003, Hatzofe Oct. 14, 2003, Oct. 15, 2003, Oct. 20, 2003, Ha’Aretz Oct. 09, 2003, Oct. 15, 2003, Oct. 21, 2003, Ha’Aretz English Edition Oct. 09, 2003, Oct. 15, 2003, Oct. 17, 2003, Jerusalem Post Oct. 14, 2003, Oct. 15, 2003, Yediot Oct. 13, 2003, Oct. 15, 2003) and a television program (Ro’im Olam Sept. 27, 2003) featured the influx of Christian tourists to the city of Jerusalem on the occasion of the Feast of Tabernacles and the celebrated annual Jerusalem March. The articles included:
- Photographs of some of the participants in the Sukkot parade, the largest delegation being that of Christians from eighty countries numbering approximately 3,000.
- Information by the Ministry of Tourism regarding financial income by the Christians’ visit, estimated at $8-10 million, accounting for over 15,000 hotel-room nights.
- Interviews with Christian visitors, in which great support for Israel was expressed.
Ro’im Olam, a television news program presenting features related to international events, dedicated a section of the program on Sept. 27, 2003 to the Evangelical Christians expected at the Feast of Tabernacles and the Jerusalem March.
Christian Support of Israel
(Iton Yerushalayim Oct. 16, 2003) (Hatzofe Oct. 15, 2003) (In Jerusalem Oct. 03, 2003) (Ha’Aretz English Edition Oct. 13, 2003) (Jerusalem Post Sept. 29, 2003, Sept. 30, 2003)
Iton Yerushalayim (Oct. 16, 2003) featured a historic photograph of a group of Zionist-Christian Americans who came to Israel in 1982 to convey their support for Israel during the war with Lebanon by playing musical instruments and singing at the entrance to Prime Minister Menahem Begin’s office.
The religious paper, Hatzofe (Oct. 15, 2003), reported that appreciation certificates were granted by the Minister of Tourism to the heads of the tour groups sponsored by the Christian Embassy who came to Israel for the Feast of Tabernacles.
Articles in The Jerusalem Post (Sept. 30, 2003) and In Jerusalem (Oct. 03, 2003) reported that the Jerusalem Municipality claimed a $500,000 donation from Christian supporters of Israel after a four-month delay. The contribution was made through The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, and will be distributed via the city’s welfare department to needy Jerusalem families.
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews was also the subject of an article in The Jerusalem Post on Sept. 29, 2003, that announced that a $300,000 contribution was being made to help launch President Katsav’s campaign to help Israel’s elderly.
“Two Christian Conferences Underway in Capital” was the title of a brief item in Ha’Aretz English Edition (Oct. 13, 2003). The first conference referred to was one in which some one hundred opinion-makers from the U.S.A. and Europe discussed various issues of peace in the Middle East in the post-Oslo era. The latter conference was that of the Feast of Tabernacles, held by the International Christian Embassy. A large photograph of international Christian supporters of Israel fervently praying at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem appeared.
(Yediot Oct. 01, 2003, Oct. 10, 2003)
Yediot (Oct. 01, 2003) announced that a conference including an international tourist fair would take place with the participation of Prime Minister Sharon in February 2004. A senior official in the Ministry of Tourism said that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Tourism would address supporters of Israel and urge them to encourage an increase of tourism to Israel.
In an article discussing Israel’s tourism, Malcolm Hedding, head of the International Christian Embassy was quoted, “Our message is important both to the Israelis and to the world. We stand behind Israel and are committed to her peace and security.”
“The Passion” Controversy Continues
(International Herald Tribune Oct. 01, 2003) (Maariv Oct. 10, 2003) (Jerusalem Post Oct. 22, 2003) (Ha’Aretz Sept. 26, 2003)
Articles concerning Mel Gibson’s film, “The Passion,” continued to appear in the media. In an extensive article run by Maariv (Oct. 10, 2003) entitled, “Ho, Jesus.” Gibson was accused of threatening to start a religious war between Judaism and Christianity The question of who killed Yeshua was brought up again, with American Jews warning, “He is returning us to the Middle Ages, to the Inquisition and the Crusades.”
Ha’Aretz (Sept. 26, 2003) focused on Gibson’s attitude towards the film and its criticism.
An article in The International Herald Tribune (Oct. 01, 2003) reported on a movie of the life of “Jesus” that opened in four U.S. cities, ahead of Mel Gibson’s film. The movie, “The Gospel of John,” is a production financed by a “small, faith-based media company” called Bible Visual International.
In an opinion column of The Jerusalem Post (Oct. 22, 2003), writing about “goyische Hollywood moguls,” the journalist quotes an observation from a column criticizing “The Passion,” “As a churchgoing Christian, I believe my redeemer Christ possesses transcendent power to enter any life and turn a thief or a murderer or a Hollywood vulgarian into a child of God.”
(Yediot Oct. 01, 2003) (Ha’Ir Oct. 15, 2003) (Maariv Oct. 02, 2003; Oct. 08, 2003; Oct. 17, 2003) (Ha’Aretz Oct. 14, 2003 [two articles], Oct. 22, 2003) (Hatzofe Oct. 12, 2003)
Three articles (Yediot Oct. 01, 2003; Maariv Oct. 02, 2003; Hatzofe Oct. 12, 2003) dealt with concerns regarding the Pope’s failing health. The Vatican called for prayer for his condition. Rumors that arrangements for an heir are being made, and refutations that the Pope is being treated by Dialysis are among some of the points mentioned.
Ha’Aretz (Oct. 14, 2003, Oct. 22, 2003) discussed an overview of Pope John Paul II’s reign, emphasizing that during his twenty-five years of priesthood, Christianity in Europe has decreased. A graph is featured and several statistics are given to illustrate the phenomenon. A large photograph of the Pope standing at the foot of the Western Wall, taken during his visit to Israel in 2000, is also shown. Maariv (Oct. 08, 2003) wrote about the Pope’s contribution to reconciliation between Jews and Christians, and expressed doubt that his successor would continue the policy of appeasement between the religions.
An additional article in Ha’Aretz on Oct. 14, 2003, announced that in November 2003 Father Jean Batiste Gurion would be appointed as the first bishop of “the Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel.” His central task will be to operate among the hundreds of thousands of Christian immigrants from the Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.), and to assist them in forming a new religious identity. “As there is a French church and an Italian church, so there will also be an Israeli church,” Father Gurion said. Maariv (Oct. 17, 2003) ran a comprehensive feature about the Father, including his background, an interview, and photographs.
Business and Commerce
(Yediot Oct. 09, 2003) (Iton Yerushalayim Oct. 03, 2003) (Globus Sept. 30, 2003, Oct. 02, 2003)
Articles in Globus (Sept. 30, 2003; Oct. 02, 2003) and Iton Yerushalayim (Oct. 03, 2003) reported on plans by a South Korean university to purchase the Carmit site in Jerusalem for a price ranging between nine and fifteen million dollars. The South Korean institute intends on opening an extension of their university, with the focus being on studies regarding Israel, the Bible, and Archeology. When Minister of Parliament, Ehud Olmert, was mayor of Jerusalem, he promised his support for the project.
A group of “religious Christian investors and entrepreneurs” from England, are trying to persuade the Head of the Civilian Administration to grant them fishing permits for the Dead Sea. Yediot (Oct. 09, 2003) reported that the group believes that Ezekiel’s biblical prophecy in chapter 47 stating that there will be fish in Ein Gedi will be fulfilled shortly.
Mormon Baptisms of the Deceased
(Yediot Oct. 05, 2003) (Hatzofe Oct. 13, 2003)
Yediot (Oct. 05, 2003), a popular secular paper, and Hatzofe (Oct. 13, 2003), a religious paper, ran articles exposing the Mormon Church’s alleged baptism of hundreds of thousands of Jews “into Christianity” after their death. Those baptized included Theodore Herzl, Anne Frank, David Ben Gurion, and Golda Meir. Heads of the Mormon churches are now apologizing for the deed, but are saying nonetheless, “This is an act of love and friendship towards the Jewish nation.” Hatzofe describes the act as one of “lust to baptize Jews.” The articles claim that even while the apology is being made, the mass baptisms continues. Photographs shown include a comic sketch of Herzl being forced into a bath to be baptized.
Mosque and Church to be built at Airport
(Ha’Aretz Oct. 17, 2003) (Ha’Aretz English Edition Oct. 13, 2003)
A mosque and church are planned to be built in the new terminal at Ben Gurion Airport, due to open summer 2004. They will be made available to passengers using the new terminal. (Ha’Aretz Oct. 17, 2003, Ha’Aretz English Edition Oct. 13, 2003)
(Ha’Aretz Oct. 21, 2003)
Pupils from a school of sciences and arts in Jerusalem are working in cooperation with students from a technical college in Milan, Italy, on an interactive project concerning hidden scrolls. Ha’Aretz (Oct. 21, 2003) said that Christians find great religious interest in historical hidden scrolls due to the period in which they were written, attributed to the period of early Christianity.
(Ha’Aretz Sept. 29, 2003) (Ha’Aretz English Edition Sept. 29, 2003) (Yediot Afula veHa’amakim Sept. 26, 2003) (Israel Today Oct. 2003)
Articles featuring the Christians in Muqibla village appeared in Yediot Afula veHa’amakim (Sept. 26, 2003), Ha’Aretz (Sept. 29, 2003), and Ha’Aretz English Edition (Sept. 29, 2003). Muqibla, located on the pre-1967 Green line border, is one of five Arab villages belonging to the Gilboa regional council, and the only one with Christian residents.
Sarit Hadad, the Israeli pop sensation, performed to a crowd of thousands of Arab young people in Nazareth. Israel Today (Oct. 2003) explained that the aim of the concert was to “build bridges not only between Jews and Arabs, but also between Christians and Moslems in Jesus’ hometown.”
Israeli Attitudes Concerning Christians
(Kol Ha’Ir Oct. 16, 2003) (In Jerusalem Oct. 17, 2003)
Kol Ha’Ir (Oct. 16, 2003) looked at the link that the city of Jerusalem has to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Regarding Christianity, the journalist referred to the Garden Tomb as a holy site, but said that the Temple Mount is not as significant to Christianity as the Garden Tomb. He also wrote about doubts as to the specific venue of the Crucifixion. A large comic photograph is presented of Mohammad, Abraham holding Isaac, and Jesus with a crown of thorns on His head with his hands tied, all standing together on a little rock.
An editorial column in In Jerusalem (Oct. 17, 2003) referred to the Christian participants in the Jerusalem Marco. After acknowledging how friendly they are, the reporter says of them, “These Christian pilgrims do not proselytize when they come here. They don’t attempt to convert us, and there’s no doubting their love and support of Israel and the Jews. They are the ones who come here when many Diaspora Jews are too terrified to set foot in this country.” She also stated that when “Jesus” returns to earth in the Second Coming, the evangelicals expect that all Jews will “see the light,” and recognize that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, and “summarily convert to Christianity.” The overall conclusion is that despite the differences between the Christians and Jews, Israel currently needs their support.
(Makor Rishon Oct. 17, 2003)
Makor Rishon (Oct. 17, 2003) ran a piece entitled, “Or Jewish, Or Crucified,” that dealt with Israel’s stubborn audacity throughout her history. The article stated that it is because of this audacity, that the Jews have been able to survive the persecutions of the gentiles, and not convert to their religion.
(Jerusalem Post Oct. 05, 2003) (Hamodia Oct. 08, 2003)
The biannual Abu Ghosh Vocal Music Festival was expected to perform Bach’s Christmas Oratorio during October 15th-18th. The item in The Jerusalem Post (Oct.05, 2003) is therefore entitled, “It’s an Early Christmas in Abu Ghosh.”
The ultra-Orthodox paper, Hamodia (Oct. 08, 2003), publicized that a Christian children’s choir will hold a concert in a renovated, ancient synagogue in Sogovy, Spain, to mark the completion of the refurbishment that took two years. The article also writes about additional ancient synagogues that have undergone renovation in Spain.
Christians and Terrorism
(Ha’Aretz Oct. 17, 2003)
The twenty-first person killed in the Maxim Restaurant in Haifa was George Meter, one of the restaurant’s owners, who was laid to rest in the Christian cemetery in Haifa. (Ha’Aretz Oct. 17, 2003)
Status of Non-Jews
(Ha’Aretz Oct. 13, 2003)
Ha’Aretz (Oct. 13, 2003) featured illegal workers and their churches that are closing due to many members leaving the country, and others being too fearful to attend services due to threats by the police. Roland Ostars, “the preacher,” is shown packing his suitcase with his wife and daughter, preparing to depart the country. His family’s personal story is shared.
(Israel Today Oct. 2003)
“Under Scrutiny; The Body of Messiah in Israel” was the title of an article in Israel Today (Oct. 2003) analyzing the body of Messiah in the Land, and how some Israeli believers feel when Christians scrutinize them to see if they are “really saved.” The September issue’s interview with Menahem Benhayim is referred to, and a general breakdown of the Body of Messiah in Israel is given.
(Jerusalem Post Oct. 10, 2003)
A book entitled, “A Season in Bethlehem: Unholy War in a Sacred Place,” authored by Newsweek’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Joshua Hammer, was featured in The Jerusalem Post (Oct. 20, 2003). Hammer seeks to draw a portrait of the city from the time of the beginning of the current uprising in September 2000 until the siege on the Church of the Nativity in Spring 2002. The review comments that for the most part, the author accurately delivers a portrayal of events and personalities.