October 16 – 2004

Caspari Center Media Review


October 2004 #1 Caspari Center Media Review


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During the period of time covered by this review, we received 180 articles as



15 dealt with Messianic Jews and anti-missionary organizations

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

31 dealt with Christian solidarity with Israel

27 dealt with anti-Semitism and Jewish-Christian relations

16 covered Christian tourism and tourist sites

5 covered archaeological finds

7 were film and book reviews


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

on their own merit.


“Missionaries” and Anti-Missionaries


Ha’Aretz, Oct. 13; Ha’Aretz English, Oct. 13; HaModia, Oct. 15, 18: HaShavua

B’Yerushalayim, Sept. 9, 22; lton Yerushalayim, Oct. 15; Ynet, Oct. 25; Arutz 7,

Oct. 13, Emiza Hadera, Sept. 24, Olam U’Melo’’o, Sept. 2004


lton Yerushalayim carries a feature about Barbara Ludwig, a Messianic believer

who is fighting to get a student visa from the Interior Ministry. Titled “This is

Inquisition Behavior,” the article details her interview with Interior Ministry

officials who asked her for the names of fellow believers and locations of

meeting places, and who, when she refused to give this information, told her

that her visa would “probably be denied.” The article includes some quotes from

Calev Mayers, a Messianic Israeli lawyer who represents Ludwig and other

believers, and a statement saying that Interior Minister Poraz does not consider

all missionary activity to be illegal, and that everything should be done to help

members of this community.


A school-teacher in an orthodox school has been fired because she and her

non-Jewish husband met with Christians (Emiza Hadera). The school’s

administration knew that she herself was not orthodox, and only required that

she dress modestly; but when they found out about the meetings with Christians

the principal called her a traitor and a liar, and eventually fired her. The teacher

is suing the non-profit organization which runs the school for religious



Arutz 7 reports that Yad L’Achim has started a new campaign aimed at

Christian tourists, warming them not to “try to sink their claws into Israel.” Large

signs posted in various cities contain the following message:


We, the Jews in Israel, welcome tourists to our country and

appreciate your coming here, especially in these days. But we

cannot remain silent in the face of tourists who come here with the

sole aim of conducting missionary activities which prey on the

hardships of innocent Jews who don’t know the difference

between people who want to help and imposters who want to

entrap their souls and change their religion under the guise of



The Jews in Israel see missionaries as the heirs of the inquisition,

who will use any means to obtain their goal. The Jews in Israel

to see missionaries as enemies of the Jewish people, who behind all

their donations hide the dark goal of annihilating every remnant of

the people of Israel. The Jews in Israel see missionaries as

unwanted guests, and each person must use any legal means to

stop their activities.


So then, dear tourist, our country is open to you. Don’t abuse our

hospitality for destructive hunting of souls. The Jews in Israel say:

yes to tourists, no to missionaries.


(Editor’s note: According to the article, news of these signs “caused a sensation”

sensation” in the international media, especially on the internet, but | have not

seen a single mention of them except in this article.)


Christians in Israel / Status of non-Jews


Jerusalem Report (Hebrew), Oct. 4; Ha’Aretz English, Oct. 1,8,12,15,18,22;

Ha’Aretz, Oct. 1,10,11,12,13,14,15,17,18,22; HaModia, Oct. 14,19; Jerusalem

Post, Oct. 1,11,15,21,22; NRG, Oct. 13; Ynet, Oct. 25; Kol HaTzafon, Sept. 24;

HaTzofeh, Oct. 13,15,22; Kol HaZman, Oct. 15; Yated Ne’eman, Oct. 15; Kol

HaEmek V’HaGalil, Sept. 29: Maariv, Oct. 18° Mifneh, Sept. 2004


The bulk of the articles in this category cover the incident in which a yeshiva

student spat at an Armenian archbishop in Jerusalem’s Old City. Some

orthodox Jews often spit on the ground when they see crosses or Christians in

religious garb, but on this day the spitting occurred during a procession, and a

ceremonial cross was the target. The archbishop got upset and slapped the

young man, which resulted in a scuffle, and both men were questioned by

police. The student eventually apologized. Israeli authorities, including some

rabbis, were quick to condemn the incident, which also grabbed attention in the

international media and in various internet weblogs.


Numerous editorials also condemn the incident and others like it, bemoaning

the impact on Jewish-Christian relations (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 15) and

attempting to get to the bottom of Orthodox Jewish hatred of Christians

(Jerusalem Report, Oct. 4, NRG, Oct. 13). In these latter two editorials we read

about traditional Jewish prayers thanking God that he “didn’t make me like the

gentiles” who “worship in vain.” The authors conclude that the orthodox

community is still relating to Christians with the mindset of a persecuted minority

in the diaspora, to some extent because they do not recognize Israel as a truly

Jewish state. Other editorials in the orthodox press (Yated Ne’eman, Oct. 15,

HaModia, Oct. 19) make light of the incident, complaining that Israeli officials

don’t condemn attacks against orthodox Jews by secular Israelis, and claiming

that this incident is not representative, since it’s the first time something like this

has happened since the establishment of the state of Israel. (This despite

numerous other reports of spitting and vandalism against Christians. – ed.)


Violence takes a political face in “Holy Land Crusaders of a Different

Kind” (Ha‘Aretz English, Oct. 15: also Ha’Aretz English and Jerusalem Post,

Oct. 1, and Ha’Aretz, Oct. 15). These articles cover an attack by settlers against

members of the Christian Peacemakers Team who were escorting Palestinian

schoolchildren near Hebron. Two volunteers were injured in the attack, and their

belongings were stolen. The Peacemakers are members of a Christian pacifist

group which attempts to reduce violence between Israelis and Palestinians by

physically coming in between antagonists, “using the cross as an alternative to

the sword.”


A number of recent articles profile Christians living in Israel, introducing them,

as it were, to a public that has little first-hand knowledge of adherents of other

faiths. “The Cloistered Among Us,” a 3-part series of articles in the Jerusalem

Post, takes a look at monks and nuns in various monasteries in Israel, both

Catholic and Orthodox. Included are interviews with members of these

communities, who share their thoughts about their lifestyle as well as their

interactions with Israeli society. Ha’Aretz (Hebrew, Oct. 1, and English, Oct. 8},

in its “Family Affair” series, interviewed Fred and Diana Hibbert of St. Andrew’s


Scottish Church in Tiberias. The Hibberts talk about their faith, lives, and plans

for the future. Two articles (Kol HaEmek V’HaGalil, Sept. 29 and HaTzofeh, Oct.

15) profile Arab Christian clergymen who support the state of Israel. Naim Huri,

pastor of the Baptist church in Bethlehem, and Emil Shufani of Nazareth both

go against the common attitudes of their communities-with Huri even receiving

death threats-but they refuse to give up preaching and teaching peace.



Ma’ariv, Oct. 18,24; Jerusalem Post, Oct. 18,24; Yediot Ahronot, Oct. 5,18 24:

HaTzofeh, Oct. 24; Ha’Aretz, Oct. 4, 2004


Yediot Ahronot (Oct. 5) and Ha’Aretz (Oct. 4) cover the potential canonization of

Anne Catherine Emmerich, a nun whose visions influenced Mel Gibson’s The

Passion of the Christ. The two articles consider the move to canonize her a

“negative message about the fight against anti-Semitism,” since she and her

visions were, in the opinion of many, anti-Semitic. In Germany, a Catholic

church plans to commemorate Ahmed Yassin and Abed Rantisi, two leaders of

the Hamas terrorist group (Yediot Ahronot, Oct. 3, Ma’ariv, Oct. 18). Their

names will be carved in a stone which will be laid in the floor of the church,

where other victims of violence-such as the Israeli Olympic athletes murdered in

Munich in 1972-are commemorated. The priest is quoted as saying that “it

would be awful if the fate of only one side is commemorated.”


In France, the French Union of Jewish Students has mounted an unusual

campaign against anti-Semitism (Ma‘ariv, Jerusalem Post, Yediot Ahronot,

HaTzofeh, Oct. 24). The campaign, which aims to shock, consists of posters of

Jesus and Mary with the words “Dirty Jew” written across them, and with the

slogan: “Anti-Semitism: What if it were everyone’s problem?” Both the Catholic

Church and French Jewish leaders slammed the campaign, calling the posters

“inappropriate and misleading,” since the Catholic Church is not the proper

target for this type of campaign.


Christian Support for Israel


Ha’Aretz English, Oct. 6,22; lion Yerushalayim, Oct. 6,15; Kol Ha’Ir, Oct. 15; Iton

lton Holon Bat-Yam, Oct. 15; Ha’Aretz, Oct. 1,6; Index Yerushalayim, Oct. 4;

News First Class, Oct. 3,4,5; Walla!l, Oct. 4; Jerusalem Post, Oct. 1,15,19;

Yediot Haifa, Sept. 29; Tourist Guide, Sept. 29; Yediot Ahronot, Oct. 5;

HaTzofeh, Oct. 4; Israel Today, Oct. 2004


The main topic of these articles was the Jerusalem March, in which a large

delegation of Evangelical Christians participated. Jerusalem, as usual,

welcomes the influx of tourists, but the official welcome this year was somewhat

lacking, as expressed in the headline: “Let Them Love Another Country” (/ton

Yerushalayim, Oct. 6). This refers to Jerusalem’s ultra-orthodox mayor, who

shies away from recognition of Christian Zionists since they are Evangelicals,

and thus, in the opinion of most Orthodox Jews, dangerous missionaries. One

reader (/ton Holon Bat-Yam, Oct. 15) writes to the editor with the suggestion

that the Israeli government work to convert all those pro-Israel Christians to



In related events, Evangelicals held a large prayer rally in a downtown

Jerusalem park, and heard speeches by leaders such as Pat Robertson, who

warned that President Bush would lose the support of US Evangelicals if he

“touches Jerusalem and … gets serious about taking East Jerusalem and

making it the capital of a Palestinian state.” (Ha’Aretz Hebrew and English, Oct.

1,6; HaTzofeh, Oct. 4; Jerusalem Post, Oct. 15; Walla!, Oct. 4, NFC, Oct. 5)


Film, Theater and Books

Ha’Aretz, Oct. 6, 22; Ha’Aretz English, Oct. 6; Zman HaSharon, Sept. 24; Yediot

Ahronot, Ocf. 18; Rating, Sept. 8, 2004


Rating has a review of “The Passion of the Christ,” in which the reviewer writes:

“|. | think what | suffered in the two hours of watching “The Passion” is ten

times worse than what Jesus suffered on the cross … this is… the cruelest

movie I’ve ever seen. … | can’t think of anything good to say about Gibson, or

about the millions who saw this movie willingly, and cried at the end, and

hugged the people around them.”


Ha’Aretz (Oct. 22) has an article about the discovery of the apocalyptic

“Revelation of Zerubabel,” circa 970 AD, which was found in Cairo. The

document, just recently translated, contains expectations and predictions about

the coming of the Messiah, the war of Gog and Magog, resurrection of the

dead, and the defeat of Islam.


Ha’Aretz (English and Hebrew, Oct. 6} has an article about illustrations from a

12th century manuscript which shed light on the theological debate over the fate

of the Virgin Mary. Yediot Ahronot carries an article about European tours

inspired by “The DaVinci Code.”


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