August 1 – 2004

Caspari Center Media Review


July 2004 #2, August 2004 #1 Caspari Center Media Review


During the period of time covered by this review, we received 202 articles as



31 dealt with Messianic Jews and anti-missionary organizations

15 dealt with Christian solidarity with Israel

22 dealt with Christians and the status of non-Jews in Israel

38 dealt with anti-Semitism and Jewish-Christian relations

31 covered Christian tourism and tourist sites

18 covered archaeology

14 covered film, books, and music


The remaining articles dealt with domestic Israeli and Christian or Jewish affairs

on their own merit.


“Missionaries” and Anti-Missionaries


Yated Ne’eman, Aug. 3; Yated Ne‘eman English, June 18, July 16, Aug. 6, 20;

Channel 3, July 6; HaTzofeh, July 16; HaModia, July 15, Aug, 12, 17; BaKehila,

June 18, July 29, Aug 5, 12; HaShavua B’Yerushalayim, July 15, Aug 12; Yediot

Haifa, Aug. 6; lton Yerushalayim, Aug. 6; Zman HaDarom, Aug. 6; Sha’‘a Tova,

Aug. 6; In Jerusalem, July 30, Aug. 6, 20; Zman Haifa, Aug. 13; Zman Krayot,

Aug. 13; 7 Yamim, Aug. 13; Yediot Ahronot, Aug. 20; Mishpaha, Aug. 5, 2004


The English edition of Yated Ne’eman (Aug. 6, 20) carried a two-part feature

titled “The Children Who Were Rescued from the Convent,” the “saga of two

Holocaust children, whose rescue from the clutches of the Church triggered a

story of terrifying abuse…” The two brothers, whose parents were deported and

then killed in concentration camps, were sent first to an orphanage and then

ended up in the home of a Catholic teacher, and “were raised on the ‘faith’ in a

certain person … and imbibed the anti-Semitic interpretation of his being killed

by the wicked Jews.” At the end of the war, when the children’s aunt tried to

gain custody of them, the teacher fought back by assuming legal guardianship

and baptizing them in the church. When in 1952 the courts ruled that their aunt

should have guardianship, the church moved the boys to Spain, and only “let

them go” when the Pope intervened. They now live in Israel and have returned

to Judaism.


There are numerous follow-ups to the story about the “Jamm” youth club in

Jerusalem (see and Media Reviews). Bakehila and

HaModia (both Aug. 12) report that the police have closed the investigation into

the missionary activity among youth and have transferred the information to the

attorney general’s office. in Jerusalem (July 30, Aug. 6, 20) printed a cover story

titled “Jamming for Jesus,” which repeats much of the disinformation originally

printed in the orthodox papers, accusing the club of preying on innocent Jewish

youth. In response, the magazine received many letters from readers

expressing either anger at the “mission” or support of Messianic Jews.


Also on this topic is a story, reported by television Channel 3 about those who

reach out to street-youth: both Hasidic and Messianic Jews. A homeless 19-yr-

old says that the Jamm has been renting him a room for 3 months, and he’ll

take what he’s given. He says that the “mission” and Habad (the Hasidic stream

of Judaism affiliated with the late Rabbi Schneerson) are basically “at war” with

each other trying to reach Israeli youth. Also in the news again are the Ben-Haim family (y), who are featured in an article titled

“You Shall Have No Other Gods” (7 Yamim, Aug. 13). According to this article, there are 15,000 Messianic believers

in Israel who live in fear. They are used to being persecuted by orthodox anti-

missionary organizations, but cannot understand why the Interior Ministry –

currently headed by Avraham Poraz, a secular-left wing minister – is trying to

revoke their citizenship. For his part, Minister Poraz says that the ministry

bureaucrats and workers, who for most of Israel’s history have been under the

authority of an orthodox minister, are still influenced by the Orthodox worldview.

Aside from the Ben-Haim’s citizenship battle, the article tells the stories of a

number of believers who have had run-ins with the anti-missionaries, and some

who have lost their jobs. One employer refused to bow to the pressure to fire a

“dangerous missionary,” sarcastically telling Yad L’Achim that if he did so, the

man would only have more time in which to spread his faith. Alex Artovsky of

Yad L’Achim is also interviewed in the article, and claims that Messianic Jews

are both a spiritual and physical danger to Israel – he’s even heard that one of

them helps Palestinian children in Gaza! The article winds down with a

description of a Messianic worship service in Jerusalem, highlighting the music,

relaxed atmosphere, fellowship and enthusiasm of those present. The sermon

touches on both Biblical themes and current events, and concludes with a call

to prayer: “We have a big responsibility to pray for our nation’s leaders … When

is the last time you prayed for … God to give them wisdom to get Israel out of

tough situations? And what about the Interior Ministry? Many of us have

problems with this ministry, but | ask you, when did you last pray for the Interior

Minister, that God will give him grace and wisdom?” (7 Yamim, Aug. 13)


Christians in Israel / Status of non-Jews


Makor Rishon, July 23; Kol Ha’lr, Aug. 20; Ha’Aretz, July 22, 23, 27, Aug. 3, 25;

Jerusalem Post, July 9, 16; Yediot Haifa, July 9; Ma’ariv, July 16; Iton

Yerushalayim, July 16; Kol HaZman, July 16; Kolbo, July 9; HaTzofeh, Aug. 11;

Yediot Ahronot, Aug. 5, 13; in Jerusalem, Aug. 6; Jerusalem Report, Aug. 9; Kav

Kav L’Moshav, July 19; Israel Today, Aug. 2004


Ha’Aretz (July 21, 22) reports on Israeli bills that have the potential to divide

families. These bills concern non-Jewish relatives of Israeli citizens, who up till

now have been able to immigrate to Israel – for instance, the parents and

children (from a previous marriage) of a non-Jew married to a Jew. The

proposed change to the law of return would take away the Interior Minister’s

right to grant citizenship to these non-Jewish family members. Thus, a family

could be citizens, but have a child who is not, and the latter could be expelled

from the country. In particular, this will impact immigrants from the former

Soviet Union.


On Aug. 3 Ha’Aretz carries another article on citizenship and the character of

the state of Israel., but from the Arab minority’s point of view. The writer asks,

“Who benefits from the poverty of Arab children? Why is it good to separate a

man from his wife and a mother from her children in the name of the citizenship

law? … Why isn’t the voice of Israel’s majority, who want to live and let live,

heard?” The writer doesn’t believe that those who promote the new citizenship

law represent true Judaism, but only a small and vocal minority. On Aug. 25,

Ha’Aretz again addresses this issue, reviewing the legal status of Arab spouses

of Israeli citizens. According to the Interior Ministry, the citizenship law doesn’t

prevent citizens of Arab countries from joining their Israeli spouses, but in reality

it’s the security service which controls – and prevents – family unification in this

sector of the populace. Unable to have their marriages recognized or settle in

either Israel or her neighbors, these couples often must seek political refuge in

a third country.


Makor Rishon (July 23) reports on the “Black Hebrews” who have been living in

the southern city of Dimona for over 30 years. These African-Americans believe

that they are the true children of Israel, and their status has always been

somewhat in dispute, with the orthodox of course opposing them. The current

article states that the community has ties with both criminal and anti-Semitic

elements outside Israel, and is being monitored by the FBI. Also, they are said

to have designs on Israel itself, a leader being quoted as saying that “God

commanded me to take control of Israel.”


On the positive end of the spectrum are 3 flattering articles about Christians and

Messianic Jews. The first, in Kolbo (July 9), describes the Italian hospital in

Haifa, run by the Franciscans, as a pleasant place. A few of the nuns are

interviewed, and talk about prayer, their lives, and relationships with Jewish and

Moslem patients (many are uncomfortable talking with nuns). Kav L’Moshav

(July 19) writes about Yad HaShmonah, the Christian/Messianic moshav

outside Jerusalem. It is described as “the center of the movement of Messianic

Jews in Israel,” where the vision of being a bridge between Jews and Christians

has been fulfilled. Ha‘’Aretz (July 23) carried a profile of one of Yad

HaShmonah’s families, the Ronens. They aré asked about the moshav, their

home, worship, work, families, and so on, and are presented as a very likeable

Israeli family. And on a final note, a profile of Israel’s Olympic delegation in

Yediot Ahronot (Aug. 13) mentions that 2 of them are Christians – and asks,

“Does it really matter who?”


Anti-Semitism and Jewish-Christian Relations


Jerusalem Post, July 2, 15; Yediot Ahronot, July 26, Aug. 16; HaTzofeh, July 72,

12, 20, Aug. 15; Ha’Aretz, July 12, 13, 23, Aug. 5, 11, 15, 18 20; Yated

Ne‘eman, July 23, 30, Aug. 20; Ma’ariv, Aug. 15; Makor Rishon, Aug. 13;

HaShavua B’Yerushalayim, July 29; HaModia, July 7, 16, 21; Yediot Haifa, July

9, Aug. 20; Zafon-1, Aug. 6; Lu’’ach 34+, Aug. 5; Emtza Hadera, July 30; Arei

HaMifratz, July 30; Hed HaKrayot, July 30; Hadashot Haifa V’haZafon, July 28;

israel Today, Aug. 2004; Tchelet, Summer 2004; Otot, Aug. 2004


Mavariv, Ha’Aretz, and HaTzofeh (all Aug. 15) report on anti-Semitic vandalism

in Paris, where swastikas and “Death to the Jews” were spray-painted on a wall

in the Notre Dame cathedral compound. This and other anti-Semitic incidents

are being investigated by French police. In Poland, a Catholic priest accused of

abusing a young boy claimed in a sermon that the charges against him are part

of a Jewish-Communist plot against the church. His hearers cheered him, and

as of the writing of the article his words hadn’t been censured by the leaders of

the Polish church. (Ha’Aretz, Aug. 11) The Jerusalem Post (July 2) reports on a

collection of essays published by the Vatican titled “The Inquisition.” Only one

essay mentioned the persecution of converted Jews, but all include

“Judeophobia” as a basic reason for the inquisition. In the Church of England,

new liturgy to be used before Easter includes a prayer acknowledging Christian

complicity in anti-Semitism (Jerusalem Post, July 15, Yated Ne’eman, July 23).

One bishop, however, has criticized the prayer, saying it is “biblically and

theologically unjustifiable. … We should not confess to sins we have not

committed.” (Jerusalem Post)


HaTzofeh (July 20) and Yediot Ahronot (July 26) both tie European anti-

Semitism to Christianity. HaTzofeh explains that the Catholic Church – as well

as the rest of Christendom, in various ways – believes that God has rejected

Israel, and the Church is now the “chosen people.” Therefore Jews have no

right to the holy land – or at least the holy sites – and the Palestinians are

championed in order to weaken the Jews’ grip on Israel. Yediot Ahronot

publishes the thoughts of an Israeli traveling in Europe who encountered

entrenched anti-Semitism. Speaking to fellow travelers on a train, he was told

that Israel shouldn’t kill Palestinian [terrorist] leaders, because “once you killed a

leader, and look what happened: the Christians are stronger.” Another person

he met called the establishment of Israel “the original sin.” The writer concludes

that it is not Israel’s actions that cause anti-Semitism in Europe, but that anti-

Semitism leads to criticism of Israel.


Ofot (Aug. 2004) includes a long article on the “New Jew-boy,” looking at the

conflict between how Israelis see themselves and how the rest of the world

sees them. The author writes that following the Sept. 11 and other Muslim terror

attacks, Israel should have been seen as one of the “good guys” – but for some

reason Israelis are still asked, “How can you act like that [towards the

Palestinians]?” David Ben Gurion said it didn’t matter what the gentiles thought

of Israel, but it does – world opinion has a greater effect on Israel’s well-being

than another squadron of fighter jets. Unfortunately, according to this article,

though Israelis see themselves as “western,” in the eyes of much of the world

they are still seen – unconsciously in many cases – as greedy, power-hungry

occupiers, in other words, as being different from those who hold those

stereotypes and who consequently distance themselves from Israel. Israel’s

leaders will have to broaden their outlook and come to terms with this gap in

perception before they can hope to improve the country’s image abroad.


Christian Solidarity with Israel


Kol Ha’lr, July 16, 23; Ha’Areiz, Aug. 6, 9; Jerusalem Post, July 2, 14, Aug. 8:

HaMahane HaHaredi, July 6; Makor Rishon, July 23; Yated Ne’eman, July 23,

30; Israel Today, Aug. 2004


Ha’Aretz (Aug. 6, 9) reports on a new mutual fund that invests in Israeli

companies, and that is marketing its services to American Jews and evangelical

Christians who support Israel. In order to get publicity, the fund is giving free

shares to Jewish teens celebrating their Bar/Bat Mitzvah and to Christian youth

being confirmed in their churches, Other Christian supporters of Israel took part

in the human chain in support of Israeli settlements in Gaza.


Kol Ha’lr (July 16) reports that Yad VaShem (the Holocaust Memorial Museum)

does not want to recognize Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor and

theologian killed by the Nazis, as “Righteous Among the Nations” – a

designation honoring those who helped Jews during WWII. The reason given is

that earlier in his life he held contemporary negative views of the Jewish people.

In response, the Center for Jewish Pluralism has appealed to the high court,

requesting that it order Yad VaShem to bestow the title on Bonhoeffer based on

his anti-Nazi and anti-racist teaching and activism in later years. In the July 23

issue, Kol Ha’ir printed 2 letters in response to the article, one in defense of

Bonhoeffer and one reiterating Yad VaShem’s position that he does not qualify

for the honor since he did not actively rescue Jews.