Caspari Center Media Review
March 2005 #2 Caspari Center Media Review To subscribe to the Media Review, send a blank email to ict ous. Ai oi To request copies of original articles, email suusc” ons @octeparicci
During the period of time covered by this review, we received 135 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:
37 dealt with Jewish Christian relations
14 dealt with Tourism
11 dealt with status of non-Jews
10 dealt with Christian support of Israel
8 dealt with anti-missionary attitudes
6 dealt with Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Christians 5 dealt with Messianic Jews
5 dealt with the Holocaust and anti-Semitism 3 dealt with early Christianity
2 dealt with attitudes about Jesus
5 were book reviews
1 was a film review
The remaining 28 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.
HaMekomon Yerushalayim, Mar. 23; BaKehila, Mar. 17; Al HaSharon, Mar. 25; Sha’a Tova, Mar. 18; Jerusalem Post, Mar. 25; HaTzofeh, Mar. 29; Yated Ne’eman, Feb. 18; INN (www.inn.co.il), Mar. 29, 2005
The religious paper HaTzofeh (Mar. 29, 2005) reports that the “Forum Against Discrimination,” which seeks to fight for citizens’ rights, is guilty of perpetuating discrimination against Yad L’Achim and Lev L’Achim. The article claims that Yad L’Achim has the same objectives as The Forum and suggests that instead of criticizing Yad L’Achim it would be better if The Forum would expose the Christian cults and missionaries who exploit the young, the poor and the psychologically weak in Israeli society.
HaMekomon Yerushalayim (Mar. 23, 2005) carries a story about Mafdal party member Mina Penton, who claims that the ICEJ musical “Ha Brit” (The Covenant) distorts history by infiltrating a portrayal of Yeshua that emphasizes His Jewishness, and in doing so serves as a missionary trap. Penton, a member of Jerusalem City Council, approached the Minister of Education and Rabbi Michael Melchior demanding that they intervene to stop the musical from being shown in schools.
Yated Ne’eman (Feb. 18, 2005) carries an article about “the Zone” in Zion Square, Jerusalem. Run by Yeshiva-trained counselors, the Zone serves as a drop-in center offering shelter and a listening ear to Jewish youth who have “fallen into the hands of missionaries.” The article claims that Messianic Jews and Christian missionaries target the vulnerable, disillusioned, and young people in society by offering them food and lodging on the condition that they attend meetings to discuss Christian ideas.
The Jerusalem Post (Mar. 25, 2005) reports a “remarkable drop” in the number of New Testaments requested by IDF soldiers. Over the last four years many non-Jewish immigrant soldiers had been allowed to swear allegiance on the New Testament. According to the report the significant drop in enlisting immigrants, combined with an active IDF policy to expose new recruits toJudaism, are the reasons behind the low demand.
In BaKehila (Mar.17, 2005) Rabbi Yosef Ganz quotes the High Court saying, “there is no such thing as Messianic Jews.” In the same article he describes “The Mission” as “dangerous.” He also compares missionaries to birds of prey who stand on street corners handing out huge funds with the sole purpose of making the Jewish people extinct.
A drama student in a high school in Herzliya claims that he was given a lower grade because he wore a cross as part of his provocative drama performance. Al HaSharon (Mar. 25, 2005) says that the teacher, a traditionally religious Jew, denies the accusations as “completely foundationless.”
The deputy mayor of Karmiel says that the government is neglecting immigrants, and that Messianic Jews and Christian organizations are filling the vacuum. Rina Greenberg claims that there are at least five hundred families who are being looked after by these organizations. It is reported by /NN that Yad L’Achim have written to the Prime Minister, demanding that this “disguised missionary activity” immediately be brought to a halt among the new immigrants.
Messianic Jews Yated Ne’eman, Feb. 18; Sha’a Tova, Mar. 25; HaModia, Mar. 23; Jerusalem Post, Mar. 31; BaKehila, Mar. 17; Iton HaZvi Arad, Mar. 10, 17, 2005
Both Sha‘’a Tova (Mar. 25) and HaModia (Mar. 23) publish exactly the same article about stopping missionary activity in Esther HaMalka Street, B’nei Brak. Both papers report on the determination to close another center in HaYehudit Street, run by Messianic Jews who are “sent out by the notorious Bet Immanuel Church” in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Rabbi Shalom Dov Lipshitz was quoted as saying, “I have no doubt that the neighbors who live next to this center will spew out of their mouths this plague that has spread in the streets.” The article also reports the closure of three locations in which Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists were active, and includes them in the category of Messianic Jews.
Yated Ne’eman (Feb. 18) reports on the appointment of evangelists Daniel and Deborah Nessim of Chosen People Ministries in Britain. It says that according to a spokesperson for the UK Chief Rabbi, a campaign has begun to “guard against missionary activity that alienates Jews from their faith and tradition.”
The Jerusalem Post (Mar. 31) runs a short article about Agudat Israel, a Messianic Jewish congregation in the US that is no longer funded by the Presbyterian Church (USA). It is reported that according to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Philadelphia, the decision to cease funds exhibits “an increased understanding on behalf of the Presbyterian leadership that churches that claim to incorporate aspects of both Judaism and Christianity are inherently inauthentic.”
lton HaTzvi Arad (Mar. 10, 17) reports on two consecutive weeks about a chess club in Arad, which they claim is sponsored by the “Messianic Jewish cult that aims to trap Jewish souls.” Messianic Jews are described as believing in Yeshua the Christian. In response, the followers of orthodox leader Rabbi Gur have set up an alternative chess club.
Christian Support of Israel Ma‘ariv, Mar. 24, 25; Ha’’Aretz, Mar. 25; NFC (www .nfc.co.il), Mar. 28; Kan Darom, Mar. 25; Jerusalem Post, Mar. 17, 31, 2005
Two papers (Maariv, Mar. 24, 25; Ha’Aretz, Mar. 25) and NFC (Mar. 28) run articles about The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which donated 500,000 NIS toward renovations of Arab-Christian houses that were destroyed in the village of Maghar during the February riots. The village priest, Hanni Shahadan, expressed his gratitude and also his concern that the Christian population in Israel is rapidly diminishing. NFC quotes Shahadan as saying: “It is us, the Arab Christians, who are the salt of the earth for the people of Israel.” Kan Darom (Mar. 25) reports that the ICEJ donated 60,000 Euro for a swimming pool in Ashkelon. Malcolm Hedding, the director of the ICEJ, is cited as saying, “| see much importance in the project, without a shadow of doubt it will contribute to a better quality of life for the residents of the area and give their children much joy and contentment.”
“Visiting Christian body builders flex their support for IDF, Israel” is a headline in the Jerusalem Post (Mar. 17). The article covers “The Power Team,” a group of American body builders who were brought over by the Ministry of Tourism to perform for IDF soldiers in “a display of love and support for the people of Israel.” Their brochure declares that “not only is it safe to travel to the Holy Land, but you will be surrounded by The Power Team and the Lord.”
The Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, delivered an address in the Hebrew University whereby he emphasized the Christian importance of recognizing Jewish connections to the land. According to the Jerusalem Post (Mar. 31), he said, “Christians should rejoice in the return of the Jews to the Holy Land as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.” In responding to a Palestinian priest who was present at the lecture, the Cardinal explained that he hoped the conflict in the Middle East will be resolved, bringing justice and respect to the Palestinian people.
Religious Leaders Unite against Gay Pride March
NFC (www.nfc.co.il), Mar. 31; NRG (www.nrg.co.il), Apr. 1; Ha’Aretz English and and Hebrew editions, Mar. 31; Ma’ariv, Mar. 31; HaTzofeh, Mar. 17; Jerusalem Post, Mar. 17, 31; Walla! (www. walla.co.il), Mar. 31; HaModia, Mar. 24, 2005
Ma’‘ariv (Mar. 31) publishes a large photo of leaders from all three monotheistic religions joining hands against the International Gay Pride March in Jerusalem. The caption, “united against pride,” is reiterated by NRG (Apr. 1) and NFC (Mar. 31). Ha‘Aretz English and Hebrew editions (Mar. 31) report on the cooperation between American Evangelical leader Pastor Leo Giovnetti and the Chief Rabbinate, that resulted in the launch of the campaign against the march. The Jerusalem Post (Mar. 17) and HaTzofeh (Mar.17) comment that the signing of the petition by the Shas Knesset faction makes it “an unprecedented move.” They note that it is the first time the party has supported a Christian-sponsored initiative.
Yeshu is not “Stoned” Globes, Mar. 25; Ma’ariv, Mar. 30, 2005
A caricature of a drugged Yeshua comes under the heading “Yeshua is not stoned” in Globes (Mar. 25). This book review speaks about the problems Austrian author Gerhardt Heidrich is encountering following the publication of “his controversial, yet popular book, ‘The Life of Jesus,” in which, according to Globes, the author claims that “Yeshu is an alcoholic, nudist, drug abuser and Jimmy Hendrix fan.”
Ma’ariv (Mar.30) runs a short trivia quiz about Christianity, including questions such as, “who are the four evangelicals in the New Testament?” and “what was the profession of Yeshu’s adopted father?”
The dying Pope
Ha‘Aretz English and Hebrew editions, Mar. 28; Ha’Aretz Hebrew edition, Mar. 31; Ma’ariv, Mar. 23, 24, 28; Yediot Ahronot, Mar. 23, 28; Jerusalem Post, Mar. 28, 2005
All of the above newspapers carry large photos, long articles and continued updates concerning the deteriorating health of the late Pope John Paul Il. Ma’‘ariv (Mar. 24) reports how the Christian world views the timing of the illness of “God’s representative on earth” as tragic, amalgamating the crucifixion of “Yeshu” and the slow death of the Pope as two “catastrophic coincidences.”
http://www.caspari.com/mediareview/2005/05-03-2.htm!| 15-May-05 Caspar) Center Media Review Page 4 of 6
Greek Patriarch’s troubles continue
Ha‘Aretz English Edition, Mar. 23, 25, 28, 29, 31; Ha’’Aretz Hebrew Edition, Mar. 25, 27; Ma’ariv, Mar. 23; Jerusalem Post, Mar. 27, 29; NFC (www.nfc.co.il), Mar. Mar. 27: Kol HaEmek VeHaGalil, Mar. 18; Fax Tours, Mar. 20; HaModia, Mar. 30; INN (www.inn.co.il), Mar. 4; Yated Ne’eman, Mar. 11; Makor Rishon, Mar. 25, 2005
Ha’Aretz devotes much continued attention to the land scandal involving Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Patriarch Ireneos | (Ha’Aretz English, Mar. 23, 25, 28, 29: Ha’Aretz Hebrew, Mar. 25, 27). Each article reports of increasing pressure on the Patriarch to resign, following fresh demands from political- religious sources in Jordan, Greece, and the Palestinian Authority. Ma’ariv (Mar. 23) claims to be the one who “first exposed the sale of land into Jewish hands.” The Jerusalem Post (Mar. 27) gives an account of a protest in which people demonstrated against the “Judaization of the Arab Christian heritage.”
World Council of Churches Jerusalem Report, Mar. 21, 2005
The World Council of Churches call for its members to “give serious consideration” to pulling investments out of Israel is the theme of a short article in the Jerusalem Report (Mar. 21). It says that Jewish leaders were “surprised” and “angry”; in addition it states that the WCC is an umbrella group and its decisions are not “binding on member churches.”
Ha’Aretz English Edition, Mar. 31; INN (www.inn.co.il), Mar. 4; Jerusalem Post, Mar. 17; Yated Ne’eman, Mar. 11, 18; Eastern Mediterranean Tourism and Travel, Mar.-Apr. 2005
Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has plans to attract millions of Christian believers to the Galilee (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 17). In a speech given at the Hebrew University, Netanyahu proposed leasing land in the Galilee to various foreign Christian congregations so they could build their own facilities. Netanyahu, who also spoke about other issues, was given a standing ovation.
Yated Ne’eman (Mar. 11) reports about a government plan to build a Christian tourist center in Galilee. The paper sees the move as indicative of the “increasing interest that Israel is placing in the Evangelical Protestant community.” Tourist Minister Avraham Herschson says it will “serve as a focal point for Christians all over the world” (Eastern Mediterranean Tourism and Travel, Mar-Apr.).
Over three hundred Catholic clergy gathered to dedicate a new library and prayer center north of the Galilee. According to Ha’Aretz (Mar. 31), the Domus Galilaeae is a spiritual center that “has worked hard for reconciliation between Jews and Christians.” Minister of Tourism Avraham Herschson claims that the arrival of over three hundred priests is important because it will also encourage more pilgrims to visit the Holy Land (/NN, Mar. 4).
Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Christians In Jerusalem – Jerusalem Post Weekly, Mar. 25; Jerusalem Post, Mar. 23, 28; Globes, Mar. 23, 2005
The Jerusalem Post (Mar. 28) and In Jerusalem – Jerusalem Post Weekly (Mar. 25) carry full-page features on Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land at Easter. The feature quotes the minister of the Scottish Church of St. Andrews, Clarence Musgrave: “The Via Dolorosa helps to give shape to remembering the Passion of Christ. That for me is the most significant part of it.” Another person quoted in the feature was Marjorie Cohen, a resident of Jerusalem. “| am Jewish, but also a believer in Jesus Christ. Abraham was 75 years old when he left his country and | was 75 when | left mine.”
Both Globes (Mar. 23) and the Jerusalem Post (Mar. 23) feature lengthy articles on ethical issues following the case of Terri Schiavo. The Jerusalem Post points out “clear theological differences” between Christianity and Judaism in matters pertaining to abortion, stem-cell research and euthanasia, pointing out the flexibility allowed in Judaism. Globes comments on the consistency of the church in its stubborn stand against anything that robs life.
High Court recognizes Reformed and Conservative conversions
YNET (www.ynet.co.il), Mar. 31, Apr. 1; NRG (www.nrg.co.il), Apr. 1; Walla! (www. walla.co.il), Apr. 1; Nana (www.nana.co.il), Mar. 4, 2005
Three web sites ran updated news and opinions on the High Court’s decision to recognize Reformed and Conservative conversions. The sites offered articles by Rabbi Meir Azri, the Rabbi of Bet Daniel Assembly in Tel Aviv, and Rabbi Israel Rozen, head of the Tzomet Institute in Gush Etzion, arguing for and against the decision (NRG, Apr. 1) The Yediot Ahronot web site (Ynet) quotes Knesset Member Ariel who says that the decision of the High Court has “made kosher” all kinds of cults who are only similar in appearance to the true religion of Israel.
Ynet (Mar. 31), Nana (Mar. 4), and Walla (Apr. 1) call the Sephardic Chief Rabbi’s decision to recognize the claimed descendents of the “Menashe tribe” as Jews “historic.”
Catholic graduate converts to Judaism Ha’Aretz English Edition, Mar. 31, 2005
A Catholic’s conversion to Judaism is the subject of a two-page feature in the English edition of Ha’Aretz (Mar. 31), describing his story as one of “personal redemption.” Wicikowcki, a graduate of theological seminary, claims that he “abandoned Christianity about five years ago and fell hopelessly in love with Judaism.” The author notes his difficulties with the Ministry of Interior in obtaining citizenship, and says that they are ignoring the 36 biblical instructions in the Torah that forbid the “abuse of strangers (converts).”
Anti-Semitism HaModia, Mar.30; Yated Ne’eman, Mar. 11, 21, 2005
According to a very short article in HaModia (Mar. 30) a Catholic Priest in Argentina accused Jews of being “greedy beyond belief.”
Yated Ne‘eman (Mar. 11) reports on the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who has told the Jewish community in the former Soviet Union that they can “count on his support to fight anti-Semitism.” Yated Ne‘eman (Mar. 21) also has a feature about the Vatican’s post-war decision not to allow Jewish children (who had been sheltered by Catholics) to return to their families. The paper concludes that “although Jewish lives were saved, Jewish souls were not.”
Early Christianity Jerusalem Post, Mar. 25, 2005
A three full-page feature depicting parts of the life of John the Baptist, and the holy sites associated with him, appears in the Jerusalem Post (Mar. 25). He is described as a man who “lived a colorful life and died a terrible death.” The feature derives information about John the Baptist’s way of life from the Gospels, and says that he was “Intensely interested in baptism as purification and the beginning of a new life.” It also says that his most famous immersion was of “his cousin, Jesus of Nazareth.”