August 27 – 2005

Caspari Center Media Review… August 2005 #4

During the period of time covered by this review, we received 49 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


  16 dealt with Jewish-Christian Relations

   2 dealt with Messianic Jews

   2 dealt with Christian Support of Israel

   2 dealt with Anti-Missionary attitudes

   2 dealt with Tourism

   5 dealt with Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Christians

   3 dealt with Attitudes about Jesus


The remaining 17 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.


Messianic Jews

(HaModia Aug. 2, 5, 2005)


The religious weekly HaModia (Aug. 5, 2005) reports of Yad’ L’Achim’s “recent discovery” that a Biblical study centre which “operates” from Kibbutz Merchavia, near Afula is “none other than a missionary church” which “perpetuates Christian doctrine all through the week.” The paper reports that the person behind the study centre is Ariel Kleimer, a resident of Afula, who “wears a skull cap and looks Jewish.” The article says that after investigating the issue they discovered that Kleimer is “not Jewish” but rather a “Christian priest, who behind his innocent façade converts Jews to Christianity.” Yad L’Achim report that they “even managed to obtain Kleimer’s ‘Priest certificate.’” It is reported that on this document – which is “Kleimer’s most secret document” are the names of many “missionaries” throughout the world that are “known” to Yad L’Achim. The article also says that Yad L’Achim has obtained “shocking photos” of Ariel Kleimer “baptizing Jews in the Jordan.” This comment is followed by the exclamation “may the God of mercy save us!” Following the “discoveries” of Yad L’Achim, the paper reports that many Yad L’Achim workers went out to the streets around Afula carrying signs with Ariel Kleimer’s photo and “exact address” warning the public to “be aware of this dangerous man.”


The same paper (Aug. 8, 2005) publishes a short paragraph warning it’s readership to “beware of guest houses that host missionaries and missionary activity.” Kibbutz Nes Amim is described as a place where “the members of the kibbutz are Christians” and where “displays and exhibitions are carried out to spread Christianity.” Yad HaShmona is depicted as a “kibbutz” in which the members “belong to the cult of Messianic Jews.”  The paper says that in Yad HaShmona “there is much Christian preaching and activity going on.” According to the article “the rabbis have prohibited the purchase of carpentry products” from Yad HaShmona. The explanations and lectures about the biblical archaeological garden are described as done “only according to their sources” and “there is even a place where conferences are held for missionary activists.”  The readership is called upon to “display alertness” and “not to aid and abet the destructive mission by going to these places.”

Anglican Priest Debunks Traditional Marriage

(HaAretz Aug. 1, 2005)


In an article written by Giles Frazer, an Anglican priest and lecturer at Oxford University, (HaAretz Aug. 1, 2005), Rev. Giles writes in protest concerning the Anglican church’s “reluctance”” to openly bless homosexual marriages under the civil partnership law passed in Britain a few months ago. He says that bishops have no right to be the “moral voice” and “who are they to decide what is marriage and what is not.” He says “it is easy for bishops to bless battleships and even animals, but why not couples, whose only motive is to commit themselves to each other for life.” He points out that the attitude of early Christianity was that “marriage was not the best choice” and was only for those “that could not choose the most worthy path of singleness.” He remarks that early Christians were supposed to “keep their virginity for Jesus’ sake,” and Jesus himself was “a single man who lived a monastic life, in order to be free from sex.” He says that the “person who Jesus loved, was John, a man.” He claims that although there are many “emotional writings” in the New Testament regarding the institution of marriage, “it does not supply any theological view point simply because people of that time did not believe that the world would carry on for much longer.” Rev. Giles expands this point and says that “the very idea that everything is temporary” is the “genius of the New Testament writings.” He suggests it is “not a marriage ceremony which is important, but rather love,” and it “doesn’t matter what kind of marriage it is.”


Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

(HaAretz Aug. 5, 2005)


HaAretz (Aug. 5, 2005) runs an article investigating why certain passages of the Old Testament Scriptures are not read as Haphtarah portions any longer. The article says that the Mishna gives no clues as to how the tradition of reading the Haphtarah started, and notes that the “earliest source of this taking place is ‘ironically’ in the New Testament.’” The author retells in his own words, the passage from the “evangelist” Luke, 4: 16-21, and relates how “Yeshua the Christian” read from Isaiah 61. He says that there is no firm evidence of how the order of reading the Haphtarah began, so it cannot therefore be interpreted as a “divine miracle” that “Yeshua the Christian” opened specifically the scroll at that place, referred it to himself and in doing so fulfilled the prophecy. Acts 13:15 is marked as another place where they read the Haphtarah, and where the passage is speaking about a “Jewish congregation in Asia.” It is noted that many portions from the Old Testament are no longer read as Haphtarah, “mainly those upon which Christological claims are based and Christianity is established.”  The author notes Isaiah, 7,14, Hosea 11:10, Mica 5, 10, Zechariah 9:9 and Malachi 3. He expands on how “Christians have taken these verses” and “built their Christology upon the Jewish Scriptures.” He says that the subject of the Haphtarah is to be discussed at the “World Congress of Jewish Studies” in Jerusalem. The author concludes by saying, “even though these verses have been interpreted in a Christological way, no one has ever dreamed of not studying them as an integral and inseparable part of the Jewish Scriptures.”

Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Christians

(The Jerusalem Report Aug. 24, 2005; Jerusalem Post Aug. 5, 2005)


The Jerusalem Report (Aug. 22, 2005), runs a feature about the “communal Christian village” Nes Amim. The article describes the difficulties of the kibbutz with the surrounding community, who because of the “temporary feel of the kibbutz residents who do not speak Hebrew” are not treated well by a neighbouring kibbutz. The members are described as “Zionists but not evangelicals, who want to love Israel, but do not find it easy.” The writer is of the opinion that because they “do not have any powerful friends” they are therefore “limited in dealing with such matters.” The article contains short interviews with some of the volunteers; one states that his reasons for coming to Israel were so that Israelis would see that “not all Christians are bad.” Rabbi Keller, the chief rabbi of Nahariya, was noted for being in the past a “vocal opponent” of Nes Amim, because of “concealed missionary activity.” However because of the “set up” of Nes Amim “it caused him to change his mind and he is now involved in teaching there.” The article makes note of the fact that Nes Amim is on an “economic climb” despite all the difficulties that it has had and continues to have.


In a report about the World Congress of Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University, Dr. Maria Leppakari explains about her work with the “Jerusalem Syndrome” (Jerusalem Post Aug. 5, 2005). According to the speakers at the conference, the syndrome is often a “manifestation of pre-existing psychosis or schizophrenia,” and something that Leppakari describes as what happens when “religious people’s expectations of the heavenly Jerusalem collide with the very earthly reality in the city.” In order to further her research on the syndrome, she studied ”messianism and Christology” at the Swedish Theological Institute, Jerusalem. It was while studying in Jerusalem that Dr. Leppakari “became curious” about the Temple Mount Faithful and the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem (ICEJ). The paper says that she “returned to study them and the effects on ‘messianistic’ groups of the approaching millennium.”


 Anti-Missionary Attitudes

(The Jerusalem Post, Aug. 4, 8, 2005)


In an opinion written by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, (Jerusalem Post Aug. 4, 2005) he calls upon Christians and Jews to exhibit “religious honesty”. Boteach says that although he is “inspired” by how evangelical Christians “understand their religion,” they also “pray for the conversion of all Jews to Christianity.” He says that while they may be “great friends of the State of Israel” they are not “great friends of Judaism.”  The idea that “Jews who practice Judaism cannot go to heaven” is described as “the ultimate form of spiritual intolerance.” When it come to prayers in public schools abroad, Rabbi Boteach says that Jewish people must “oppose efforts that would have Jewish children subjected to affirmations of a religion not their own.” In a letter to the editor (Aug. 8, 2005) a “Christian” reader responds to the article by saying that “although he is a Christian, he feels much the same way as Rabbi Boteach.”


Jewish-Christian Relations

(In Jerusalem – Jerusalem Post Weekly Aug. 5, 2005; Ma’ariv Aug. 9, 2005; Jerusalem Post Aug. 1, 2, 7, 8, 2005; HaAretz Aug. 1, 2005; Yediot Ahronot Aug. 1, 2005; Jerusalem Report Aug. 22, 2005).


A photograph appears in In Jerusalem (Aug. 5, 2005) showing “Christian volunteers” who have come to Israel to “join in the ‘Grafted In’ program of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ).” The paper describes the program as “offering young Christians a hands-on approach to learning about and supporting Israel by participating in a series of community service projects.”


The row between the Vatican and Israel concerning “the pope’s refusal to condemn the Netanya bombing” is the subject of many opinions and letters to the editor. All of them draw the conclusion that Israel has “every right to be angry” and that “the Pope is making a moral mistake in not condemning terrorism.” The Jerusalem Post (Aug. 1, 2005) says that the “logic of the Vatican, is shocking” and that “the fact that the Vatican publicly ignored this attack sent alarm bells ringing in Jerusalem.” In a letter to the editor (Jerusalem Post Aug. 1, 2005) the writer says that “the Pope is only the Pope, for God’s sake and not a Rabbi” so therefore “Jews do not need to wring their hands over the Pope’s comments” because it is “degrading.” He concludes by saying that “he doesn’t need us and we don’t need him.”


Many papers also report about the US Presbyterian committee who are “urging companies to divest from Israel” because it “contributes to Middle East violence,” (Ma’ariv Aug. 9, 2005). In an article in HaAretz (Aug. 7, 2005) it is reported that Jewish groups in the USA have “accused the Presbyterian Church of anti-Semitism.” In a letter to the editor (Jerusalem Post Aug. 8, 2005) the writer says that the Presbyterian Church is “replicating what the Nazi movement did on April 1, 1933” when it “organised the first economic boycott against Jews,” He suggests that when Christian leaders visit Yad Vashem, the “visit should include the exhibit including the boycott day in Germany.”