April 15 – 2004

April 2004 #1, 2; May 2004 #1 Media Review


Christians in Israel


Kol HaZman, April 9; Reshet B, April 10; Kol Ha’lr, March 26; Yediot Ahronot,

March 28, April 13: Ha’Aretz, March 31, April 11; Ha’Aretz English, March 30,

April 8; Ma’ariv, April 7, 2004


Kol HaZman (April 9) interviewed Abigail Litle’s brothers and sister, as well as a

friend from school. Abigail, 14, was a member of the Messianic community in

Haifa who was killed in a bus bombing in March 2003. Her 3 brothers and sister

miss her terribly, but at the same time express trust in God, and the hope that

they will see her again. Their faith is what gives them strength to go on, to

remember their sister with thanksgiving, and to be open about their emotional

journey. Abigail’s friend, Sarit, does not have that same sustaining faith, and

speaks of being angry – though she doesn’t know at whom – and of how Israeli

children have to grow up too fast because of the hardships they experience.


Abigail’s parents were interviewed on Reshet B radio (April 10), following the

sentencing of a Palestinian resident of Haifa to life imprisonment for being an

accomplice to the suicide bomber who killed Abigail and many others. The

Litles’ faith is presented, as well as the difference between them and other

families of victims: while the others want revenge, and say they will not forgive,

the Litles forgive the people involved since they trust in God’s justice, and say

they are not angry at the terrorists.


Another Christian victim of terrorism was George Huri, an Arab Christian who

was shot in Jerusalem. George’s father, Elias, was interviewed in Kol Ha’lr, and

spoke of his anger at those who called his son a “martyr” of the Palestinian

cause. (Kol Ha’lr, March 26)


Other articles covered the plight of non-Jews who are facing visa restrictions

and, in some cases, deportation. Some of these are illegal foreign workers, but

others are clergy, some of whom – including elderly nuns – have been harassed

by police, resulting in official Vatican complaints to the Israeli government.

(Ma’ariv, April 7; Ha’Aretz English, March 31, April 8; Ha’Aretz, March 31)


Christian Support for Israel


Ha’Aretz English, April 25, May 4; Jerusalem Post, April 2, 9, 14, 23, 26, 30, May

May 2: Israel Today, April, May, 2004; Ma’ariv, April 26; Ha’Aretz, April 29;

Walla, April 30; Sha’a Tova, April 5, 2004


American evangelical Christians are not happy with President Bush’s support

for Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw from Gaza (Jerusalem Post, April 9, 23;

Ha’Aretz English, April 25; Sha’a Tova, April 5, 2004). The National Unity

Coalition for Israel went so far as to warn Bush of “the potential downside of

getting involved” and that the plan could “fail your own presidency.” An

American Jewish activist is behind some efforts to pressure Bush to “honor

God’s covenant with Israel,” saying that if Israel doesn’t honor those covenants,

many Christians will stop supporting her. Walla News (April 30) and Ha’Aretz

(April 29) report on American Congressman Henry Hyde’s call to change the

route of the separation fence south of Jerusalem, so as to not “choke out

Christian life.” This, too, is an issue for many Christian voters in the US,

according the reports.


Missionaries and Anti-Missionaries


Ha‘Aretz English, April 30; Bat Yam Shtei Arim, March 31; BaKehila, March 18,

25, April 22: HaModia, March 24, April 2, 20, 22; Radio Moreshet, March 29;


Yated Ne’eman, April 2; Index Yerushalayim, March 31; Y-net, April 19;

Ha’Aretz, April 30; Kol HaNegev, April 23; HaTzofeh, April 29; Makor Rishon,

April 23; HaModia English, April 28; Kol HaDarom, April 16, 30; LaDa’‘at.net,

April 25; Kol HaZman, April 30, 2004


Many articles decried the presence of Messianic Jews in the southern city of

Arad, and described the efforts of anti-missionaries to get rid of them (Ha’Aretz

English, April 30; BaKehila, March 25, April 22; HaModia, March 24, April 20; Y-

net, April 19: Ha‘Aretz, April 30; Kol HaNegev, April 23; HaModia English, April

28: LaDa‘at.net, April 25). After discovering the presence of some 15 Messianic

families in the town, busloads of orthodox Jews traveled there to demonstrate

outside their homes. The demonstrations were held with permission from the

police, and local authorities did nothing to intervene. Many of the besieged’s

neighbors, however, took up their cause and argued with the orthodox

protestors, saying that they didn’t even know their neighbors were Messianic so

the accusations against them – that they “hunt souls” and “kill and steal children”

– were obviously false. Some of the believers interviewed expressed fear about

the harassment, while others took it calmly. Other demonstrations were held

outside the “missionary coffee shop” in Arad’s commercial center.


Radio Moreshet (March 28) and HaModia (April 2) convey Yad L’Achim’s

warning against missionary organizations that are distributing donations of food

for Passover. The Christian Zionist “International Christian Embassy” is

specifically named as a dangerous source of help. Yad L’Achim also claims to

have disrupted missionary activity in Nitzanim (HaModia, April 22), and warns

against Passover-themed missionary literature being handed out in Ashdod (Kol

HaDarom, April 16}. Kol HaZman (April 30) covers the work of missionaries

among Jerusalem’s homeless youth, saying that the latter are offered a free

place to live in exchange for converting to Christianity.




Makor Rishon, April 16, 23; Ha’Aretz, March 26, April 5; Ma’ariv, April 1, 23;

HaTzofeh, April 13; Yediot Ahronot, April 5; Ha’Aretz English, April 5; HaModia,

April 2; Shofar News, April 28; Jerusalem Post, March 26, 2004


Many papers cover the topic of the “new anti-Semitism” which hides behind the

guise of anti-Zionism. Makor Rishon (April 16) considers this new phenomenon

more dangerous, because it hides its explosive hatred. “It is easier to deal with

those who burn a Jewish library than with reports by human-rights

organizations,” but according to the writer the attitudes are one and the same.

Hillel Halkin, writing in the Jerusalem Post (March 26), says that the purpose of

anti-Zionism is to silence Israel’s supporters, including Diaspora Jews, who are

not directly “targeted” by anti-Israel campaigns.


In Europe, with growing Muslim populations, the problem is worse. The hatred

for Jews is the same, even though it now wears a mask of “social

conscience” (HaTzofeh, April 13). Ma’ariv (April 1) reports that “Europe is bad

for the Jews,” and that though many anti-Semitic attacks are carried out by

Muslims, white men are responsible for the majority.


Israel’s (Christian) Nuclear Spy


Mavariv, April 15, 21, 22, 23, 25; Yediot Ahronot, Apnil 15, 21, 22, 23, 25;

HaShavua B’Yerushalayim, April 22; Jerusalem Post, April 21, 22, 23, 25, 26,

29, 30, May 3; Yated Ne’eman, April 20, 28; Ha’Aretz English, April 25, 28;

HaTzofeh, April 29; Globes, April 22; HaModia, April 22; Kol Ha’ir, April 23;

Ha’Aretz, April 19, 20, 22, 2004


Many reports on the release from prison of Mordecai Vanunu raise the topic of

his conversion to Christianity. Vanunu’s first stop after being released was an

Anglican church in East Jerusalem, where he took refuge. The convicted spy is

quoted as saying, “l suffered for 18 years because I’m a Christian, because |

was. baptized” (Globes, HaModia, April 22); The Jerusalem Post interviewed

local Christians who said that it seemed Vanunu’s agenda was more political

than religious, and that he was obviously “angry and bitter” and “in some ways

very pitiful.”


In a letter to the editor of the Jerusalem Post (May 3), Rev. Higton, director of

the Israel Trust of the Anglican Church, distanced himself and ITAC from

Vanunu’s opposition to the state of Israel and disparagement of Judaism.

(Higton’s remarks were also reported in Ma’ariv, April 25.) HaShavua

B’Yerushalayim (April 22) reports that “the rabbis instructed Vanunu’s orthodox

family to cut off all ties with him.”


Yediot Ahronot (April 21) interviewed Father David Smith, who “converted”

Vanunu and convinced him to go public with his photos of the Dimona nuclear

reactor because that was his “divine mission.” Ma’ariv (April 23) reprinted letters

written by Vanunu to Father Smith from jail, some of which profess strong faith

and trust in God’s justice, and others which reveal a faith shaken by events and

paranoia of the “security services.”



Ha’Aretz (April 15)


Ha’Aretz (April 15) carried a report about an Israeli archaeologist’s theory that

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Galilee rather than the traditional site south of

Jerusalem. Digs carried out over the last 10 years unearthed remnants of a

Jewish population in Bethlehem in Galilee from the time of Jesus, as well as the

mosaic floor of a large church and other Christian artifacts which point to a

continuous Christian presence there from the first century through the Byzantine

period (6-7 centuries AD). In contrast, no signs of a first-century Jewish

population have been found in Bethlehem in Judea, and the Christian artifacts

which have been found are from the fourth century and later.


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