September 17 – 2005

Caspari Center Media Review… September 2005 #3


During the period of time covered by this review, we received 30 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


   7 dealt with Jewish-Christian Relations

   1 dealt with Messianic Jews

   4 dealt with Christian Support of Israel

   1 dealt with Anti-Missionary attitudes

   2 dealt with Anti-Semitism

   1 dealt with Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Christians

   2 dealt with Attitudes about Jesus


The remaining 12 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.


Messianic Jews

(Globes Aug. 26, 2005)


The financial Hebrew daily Globes reports that the municipality of Petach Tikvah needs to pay over 30,000NIS compensation to Ze’ev Bern, a Messianic Jew. Ze’ev who worked as a computer technician in high schools and often “directly alongside” students, was fired because of “suspicion of missionary activity among children.” Globes says that he sued his former employers (Aug. 26, 2005). The article says that Ze’ev is a member of Hesed Ve’Emet, which “is a non-profit organisation whose objective, among other things, is to spread the Messianic faith.” According to the article the fact that he was a Messianic Jew was “brought to the attention of the municipality” after Yad L’Achim had sent a letter to them “informing them” that Ze’ev “holds a high position” in “an extremist missionary sect.” The report says that the verdict was decided in Ze’ev’s favour because the judge found “no tangible evidence” that Ze’ev would “expose children to his faith.” The judge also decided, “difference” is “not a valid reason to treat someone with discrimination.” She also noted that Ze’ev, who formerly worked for them under “Manpower,” was later employed as a full-time worker by the municipality, and therefore “this rouses suspicion at the municipality’s decision to fire him.”

Anti-Missionary Attitudes

(Makor Rishon Aug. 26, 2005; Yom L’Yom Aug. 25, 2005)


In a short letter to the editor in the religious weekly Makor Rishon (Aug. 26, 2005) the writer “confirms” that in a guided tour of Yad HaShmona, they “were told” that the Jews who joined the Finnish people on the moshav are “indeed believers in Yeshu.” She completes her letter by saying that it is “best the readers know this before they choose to go and visit the place.”


According to Yom L’Yom (Aug. 25, 2005), Shas leader and Knesset member, Eli Ishay has accused the Israeli police of “indirectly helping a family in Moshav Tifrach who pressurize Jews to convert to Christianity.” In addition the paper claims that the “complaints of the family are treated with decisiveness, yet complaints filed by Jews are treated with indifference.” The report says that the deputy minister for internal security, Yakov Edri, “denies that any such complaints of missionary activity have been filed” and advises “if any missionary activity is known, first file the complaint so it cannot be said that no complaint has been filed.”



Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

(Ma’ariv Aug. 29, 2005; Jerusalem Post Aug. 28, 2005)


“The Jewish judge against the crucified Yeshu” is the title of a news article in Ma’ariv (Aug. 29, 2005). A Jewish judge from Camerino, Italy, has refused to appear in court for over three months because a crucifix which is above his head in court “distracts him.” The article says that Luigi Tosetti has been in a legal battle for three years and is now “carrying out his threats” not to show up for work. He is reportedly asking for the crucifix to be taken down. Tosetti “offered a compromise,” namely that a menorah should be put up next to the crucifix, and the Italian courts offered him instead another courtroom where there would be no crucifix. Ma’ariv says that the “stubborn Tosetti” refused the offer and as a result he has “been flooded with fan mail.”  According to the paper this shows that “many Jews in Italy would rather not deal with crucifixes” yet “the Jewish community understands the importance of the crucifix in Italy, so there is no formal demand for it to be removed.”


In a letter to the editor (Jerusalem Post Aug. 28, 2005) the writer says that she “does not understand” how the Church of Scotland and the Episcopal Church “seem to have been so pro-Palestinian” yet “are taking a nice salary to preach from a book that dictates that the promised land was given to the Jews.” She says that “the preaching from their pulpits” was “racist propaganda” and notes that “they forgot to tell their congregations that Jesus, Our Lady and St. Andrew all lived and died as 100% Jews.”



Christian Support of Israel

(Jerusalem Post Aug. 30, 2005; HaTzofeh Aug. 30, 2005)


The Jerusalem Post (Aug. 30, 2005) carries an article about an initiative of the South African Jewish Community called “Divote” which raises money to buy gifts for young Israelis affected by terrorism.  The article notes that in a ceremony held in Netanya “Christians from the Cape Town branch of the International Christian Embassy also “donated gifts to ‘Divote.’”


Following the suicide bombing at the Be’er Sheva Central Bus Station, the religious daily HaTzofeh reports that the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews (IFCJ) will donate $1M to re-constructing the bus station in order that it “will be closed off and made safer” (Aug. 30, 2005). Rabbi Eckstein, the chairman of the IFCJ says, “Christian lovers of Israel see superior importance in guarding the rights of the citizens of Israel to walk around without fear.”



Jewish-Christian Relations

(Mishpacha Aug. 11, 2005)


Mishpacha runs a feature about the significance and subsequent whereabouts of written prayers placed in the Western Wall (Aug. 11, 2005).  It reports that the prayer placed in the Wall by Pope John Paul II “did not stay there very long” because it had “social, historic and political importance” and because “inquisitiveness triumphed over manners.” The note requested “historical pardon” for the “Christian abuse of the Jewish people throughout the generations.” The article also reports that George Bush requested that an “elderly Christian pilgrim” place a note there on his behalf. It is noted that George Bush asked for it to be “as near to the Holy of Holies as possible” because “Bush had faith, that as the number one person in the world, his prayer request would be answered first.”



Different Matters of Jewish or Christian Interest

(HaAretz Aug. 31, 2005)


HaAretz reports that Israeli attorney Caleb Mayers will aid a group of Christian investors from North America in “all the legal and commercial aspects that are involved in the establishment of an exclusive tourist centre for Evangelical Christians in the North of Israel” (Aug. 31, 2005). The article says that the project is estimated to cost about $35M and the area of land to be acquired is 500 dunams. It also says that it is hoped that this will bring in an additional 1 million Evangelical Christian tourists to Israel annually.