April 18 – 2005

Caspari Center Media Review… April 2005 #2


During the period of time covered by this review, we received 226 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


   156 dealt with Jewish-Christian Relations

   14 dealt with Anti-Missionary Attitudes

   10 dealt with Tourism

   6 dealt with Christian Support of Israel

   5 dealt with Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Christians

   5 dealt with Christian Sites and early Christianity

   4 dealt with Status of Non-Jews

   4 dealt with Attitudes about Jesus

   3 were Book Reviews

   1 dealt with Film Review


The remaining 19 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.


Anti-Missionary Attitudes

(HaModia Apr. 04, 2005) (www.inn.co.il Apr. 06, 2005) (BaKehila Apr. 24, 2005, Mar. 31, 2005) (Yediot Eilat Apr. 08, 2005) (Iton Ha-Ir Eilat Mar. 31, 2005) (Sha’a Tova Apr. 08, 2005) (Yated Ne’eman Apr. 08, 2005) (Ha Tzofeh Apr. 7, 2005) (Ma’ariv Apr. 7, 2004)


Rina Greenberg, the head of absorption in Karmiel, claims according to the weekly Sha’a Tova that the State of Israel is neglecting the new immigrants and alarmingly, missionaries are filling in the gap. (Sha’a Tova Apr. 8, 2005). Alongside the article there is a photo of Messianic Jew, Avi Mizrachi, (un-named) wearing a prayer shawl and kippa with the caption,  “An example of missionaries leading a Passover meal.”


Yad L’Achim now claims to be on stage three of their scheme at “Noffey Alexandra,” a project that exists for “victims of the Mission.” (BaKehila Mar. 24, 2005) The article reports that “thanks to the relentless work of Yad L’Achim, thousands are saved daily from the clutches of Christian missionaries and cults who terrorize the Jewish population of Israel.”


The religious weekly BaKehila (Mar. 31. 2005), features an article called “The ABC of Rabbi Moshe Lachover.“ In the article, Rabbi Lachover recalls a speech he once gave at a Bar Mitzvah telling his listeners how he saved a young man and his mother from “falling prey to Messianic Jews.” He relays how he brought them back to Judaism despite the fact that they had been baptized and describes how it was one of the most “thrilling events” of his life.


“Atoning for the sins of the holocaust,” is the title of a five-page article in the religious daily Yated Ne’eman. The article describes a visit of a Rabbi from Lev L’Achim to the German Christian kibbutz Nes Amim.” After spending a whole day at the kibbutz in the company of German Christians who describe themselves as “Torah observant”, Rabbi Ze’ev Schieglitz deems the kibbutz as “one of the most dangerous and sinister types of missionary activities.” He urges Jews to cancel their Passover reservations at the Nes Amim guesthouse. (Yated Ne’eman Apr. 8, 2005)


“A broken covenant,” (Yediot Eilat Apr. 8, 2005), is one of three articles reporting on the showing of the ICEJ’s “The Covenant” in schools. Three scheduled performances were cancelled in Eilat because, according to Yosef Cohen, a member of the Eilat council, “we received numerous complaints that it is the work of missionaries and distorts historical facts.” The article reports that people requested that the parts in the musical that relate to “Yeshu,” are removed because it “treats Judaism with contempt.” HaIton Ha-Ir Eilat (Mar. 31, 2005) reports that there are three objections to the showing of the musical, firstly the distortion of historical facts, secondly even though that the name of “Yeshu” was not mentioned it is implied that He is the one who brings redemption to the people of Israel, and thirdly the showing of the musical was authorized because of a donation given to the town of Eilat by the ICEJ. David Parsons from the ICEJ is quoted as being “surprised at the reactions,” because he says “it has been warmly and widely received, especially among soldiers and holocaust survivors.”


Robert and Elizabeth Muren, who wrote the musical, said in the article that they felt it “best to include the scene with Jesus, because he is part of Jewish history.” HaTzofeh (Apr. 7, 2005) publishes a letter to the editor from Mina Penton of the Jerusalem City Council, in which she claims that “the only thing that these Christians boast in, is that ‘Yeshu’ and his disciples were Jewish.” She also says that any connection that Christians have with the Tanach (Old Testament) is to pursue their own agenda, which is to convert Jews to Christianity.


An orthodox Jew who inscribes Mezzuzot and phylacteries was discovered at home with mission materials and a New Testament on his desk, according to Yad L’Achim (HaModia Apr. 7, 2005) (www.inn.co.il Apr. 6, 2005). The man is from Be’er Sheva and Yad L’Achim say that they have put several warning notices around the town about the “imposter.” The chairman of Yad L’Achim says that this incident “serves as a warning against indifference concerning the Mission.” He also explains that if the Anti-missionary legislation had been passed then they would be “more equipped to deal with such a case.”


Ma’ariv (Apr. 7, 2005) covered a short piece on the growth of racism from the ultra-orthodox community towards non-Jews. In the article the writer expresses his shock at “this seething hatred” and cites quotations that he believes typify current trends and dangers within the orthodox Jewish community. Rabbi Hananel Etrog is quoted as saying “Christianity is like a pig that stretches out his hooves… it smears the inner purity… Christianity is like seeping poisonous excrement penetrating into the hearts of the people of God.”


Israeli reporter who loves to be with Christians

(HaAretz English edition Apr. 4, 2005)


A former Israeli radio presenter writes an article about her visits to pro-Israeli evangelical churches in the USA (HaAretz English edition Apr. 4, 2005). Freda Keet believes that she would only have to say “shalom,” and it would be enough for evangelical Christians because “they are in awe of the fact that here is a real live Jew and Israeli.”


IFCJ to help pay for the conversion and absorption of Bnei Menashe Indian Jews

(Jerusalem Post Apr. 4, 2005)


Rabbi Eckstein, the Chairman of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews says that his organization will help finance some of the millions of dollars needed to educate, convert (to Judaism) and house the Bnei Menashe tribe from India (Jerusalem Post Apr. 4, 2005). Although Rabbi Eckstein says that the evangelical donors of the ICFJ see the potential immigration as a fulfillment of Scripture, he personally sees it as a Jewish concept too.


Knesset seeks support of black Evangelical Christians

(Jerusalem Post Apr. 5, 2005)


The Israeli Knesset hosted Pastor Glenn Plumber of the American National Religious Broadcasters Association, in order to “warm-up” relations between the Afro-American Evangelical community and Israel. According to the Jerusalem Post (Apr. 5, 2005) the initiative is indicative of the growing interest towards Israel from the pro-Israel Evangelical community.


Death of Pope John Paul II

(HaAretz English edition Apr. 3, 2005, Apr. 4, 2005, Apr. 5, 2005, Apr. 6, 2005, Apr. 7, 2005, Apr. 8, 2005, Apr. 10, 2005, Apr. 11, 2005, Apr. 12, 2005) (HaAretz Apr. 3, 2005, Apr. 4, 2005, Apr. 5, 2005, Apr. 6, 2005, Apr. 7, 2005, Apr. 8, 2005, Apr. 10, 2005, Apr. 11, 2005, Apr. 12, 2005) (Jerusalem Post Apr. 3, 2005, Apr. 4, 2005, Apr. 5, 2005, Apr. 6, 2005, Apr. 7, 2005, Apr. 8, 2005, Apr. 10, 2005, Apr. 11, 2005, Apr. 12, 2005) (Ma’ariv Apr. 3, 2005, Apr. 4, 2005, Apr. 5, 2005, Apr. 6, 2005, Apr. 7, 2005, Apr. 8, 2005, Apr. 10, 2005, Apr. 11, 2005, Apr. 12, 2005) (Yediot Aharonot Apr. 3, 2005, Apr. 4, 2005, Apr. 5, 2005, Apr. 6, 2005, Apr. 7, 2005, Apr. 8, 2005, Apr. 10, 2005, Apr. 11, 2005, Apr. 12, 2005) (Globes Apr. 3, 2005, Apr. 4, 2005, Apr. 5, 2005, Apr. 7, 2005, Apr. 8, 2005, Apr. 11, 2005, Apr. 12, 2005) (HaTzofeh Apr. 3, 2005, Apr. 4, 2005, Apr. 5, 2005, Apr. 6, 2005, Apr. 7, 2005, Apr. 8, 2005, 2005, Apr. 12, 2005) (Sha’ar Le Matchil Apr. 5, 2005, Apr. 6, 2005).


There was extensive coverage in the Israeli media on the life and death of Pope John Paul II, with over 150 articles devoted to eulogies, opinions and obituaries over a period of a few days. Many articles covered the funeral and investigated the religious process of electing the next man for the papacy. The Pope was notably remembered for being the first pope to step inside a synagogue, visit Israel, denounce anti-Semitism, address the Crusades, Holocaust and Inquisition and refer to the Jewish people as the “elder brother,” of the Church. Many papers also referred to the last will of Pope John Paul II, in which he remembered the Chief Rabbi of Rome. Many expressed their hope that the next pope would be as ”sympathetic, warm, and inclusive,” as John Paul. There was also tentative surmising of the possible policies of the next pope and the effect on Jewish-Catholic relations.


Attitudes about Jesus

(Jerusalem Post Apr. 13, 2005) (Globes Apr. 8, 2005) (Jerusalem Report, Apr. 4, 2005)


Following the funeral of the late Pope John Paul II, two articles pose the question “what if Yeshu saw?” The reporters describe the “extravaganza”, of the Catholic procession (Jerusalem Post Apr. 13, 2005) (Globes Apr. 8, 2005) and afterwards ask, “what actually remains of the true teachings of ‘Yeshu’?” One article compares the amount of glitter and gold in the ceremony with the crucifix of Yeshua, “a man wearing a simple white robe and with no shoes on his feet” (Globes Apr. 8, 2005). The journalist also says that “this week they buried a man but maybe the Church buried true Christianity nearly two thousand years ago.”  Matti Golan of the Jerusalem Post has similar thoughts and feelings (Apr. 13, 2005) “if I were a Catholic then the opulence would really disturb me.” He says that his understanding of Jesus was one who “sought to help the needy and uplift the spirits of the wretched.”


If it weren’t for Paul…

(Jerusalem Report, Apr. 4, 2005) (Blazer Apr. 2005)


A letter to the editor in the Jerusalem Report (Apr. 4, 2005) praises an article about the Apostle Paul that was published in a former issue. The writer affirms the opinions of Tibor Krausz and claims that Paul of Tarsus “turned the Jew, Jesus, into a Greek.”  He also quotes a Jewish rhyme, “Roses are red, violets are bluish, if it weren’t for Paul, we’d all be Jewish.”


In another letter to the editor in the monthly Blazer (Apr. 2005), a man who describes himself as a “Christian, albeit not devout,” writes to say that he was greatly offended at the magazine’s publication of an article that referred to Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ,” which, in his opinion, “mocks Yeshu and the Christian religion.” The writer was so offended that he says that if he ever has the opportunity of meeting the man behind the article then he will “severely beat him up.”


Christian Tourism

(Globes Apr. 13, 2005) (HaTzofeh Apr. 8, 2005, Apr. 12, 2005) (Jerusalem Post Apr. 6, 2005, Apr. 7, 2005) (Pecks Tours Feb. 20, 2005, Apr. 3, 2005, Apr. 10, 2005) (Tourist Guide Apr. 7, 2005) (www.nrg.co.il Apr. 6, 2005)


More than one hundred Christian and Jewish leaders arrived in Israel to the “Go Galilee – Explore Jerusalem,” conference. The program was sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism with a goal of expanding tourism to Israel by developing the Galilee and Jerusalem, two places that “offer a unique Biblical, historical and cultural package.” According to the Jerusalem Post (Apr. 6, 2005), the Christian and Jewish clergy traveled in two separate groups but met up together for main events. Each participant returned home with a pledge to bring back to Israel tens of people from his own community.


Following the death of Pope John Paul II, the Vatican ambassador and Tourism Minister, Avraham Herschon, will sign a joint declaration “calling on people of all faiths to renew their visits to the Holy Land.” (Jerusalem Post Apr. 6, 2005) (HaTzofeh Apr. 8, 2005) (Pecks Tours Apr. 10, 2005)


More Evangelicals wanted in Jerusalem

(Globes Apr. 13, 2005)


In a speech given in Jerusalem, Finance Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu said that the economic infrastructure in Jerusalem is underdeveloped. (Globes Apr. 13, 2005) Mr. Netanyahu emphasized that “not a thing is being done to encourage tourism among Evangelical Christians who want to come to Israel,” which he said was imperative for building the economy and maintaining a Jewish majority in the city.


A Jew, even though he has sinned, is a Jew

(www.nfc.co.il Apr. 8, 2005) (Jerusalem Post Apr. 7, 2005, Apr. 8, 2005)


The Jerusalem Post (Apr. 8, 2005) in an eight-page feature covers the possible immigration of the Falasha Mura community in Ethiopia. Known also as “Beta Israel,” the Jerusalem Post reports that it could be a “most dangerous” immigration because, in the writer’s opinion, these people are not Jewish. According to the article, the Beta Israel attend churches in Ethiopia and some are “even Christian priests.” Rabbi Menachem Waldman who is in favor of bringing them to Israel, is quoted as saying, “A Jew, even though he has sinned, is a Jew.” The Beta Israel left in Ethiopia are distinguished from the people brought to Israel in Operation Moses and Operation Solomon because reportedly “these people kept the Jewish festivals and even had their own Torah.”


Irineos refuses to resign

(Yated Ne’eman Mar. 25, 2005, Apr. 8, 2005) (Jerusalem Post Apr. 3, 2005) (HaAretz English edition Apr. 1, 2005, Apr. 8, 2005) (HaAretz Apr. 8, 2005) (Ma’ariv Mar. 25, 2005, Apr. 4, 2005, Apr. 8, 2005) (www.walla.co.il Apr. 8, 2005)


What has been coined in the Israeli press as the “land scandal,” continues to receive broad coverage. Several papers reported the accusations from a former spokesman of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem who claims that Irineos I is an “Israeli agent who should be dismissed and put on trial.” Dr. Khalil Indreos, secretary of the Arab Orthodox Council in Jerusalem, explains to the Jerusalem Post (Apr. 8, 2005) that the affair is “not an internal Orthodox matter” but rather is a “national Palestinian issue of the highest order.”