Caspari Center Media Review… September 2005 #4
During the period of time covered by this review, we received 20 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:
2 dealt with Jewish-Christian Relations
2 dealt with Messianic Jews
1 dealt with Christian Support of Israel
3 dealt with Anti-Missionary attitudes
2 dealt with Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Christians
2 dealt with Attitudes about Jesus
1 dealt with Anti-Missionary Attitudes
The remaining 7 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.
(HaModia Sep. 2, 2005; Yediot Ahronot Sep. 5, 2005)
According to HaModia, Yad L’Achim has “succeeded in thwarting a mass missionary march in Haifa” (Sep. 2, 2005). The article says “tens of missionaries from the Messianic Jews sect marched through Haifa with shofars and flags, accompanied by drums and guitars.” The report says that the sign that was held up at the head of the procession read “Christian Friends of Israel,” yet “underneath this friendship mask they distributed to passers-by dangerous and destructive missionary material.” The article continues; “Yakov Damkani led the march” and that “he and his activities are well know to Yad L’Achim.” It claims that Damkani “heads up the missionary congregation Brit Olam in the heart of Tel Aviv.” HaModia also reports on how Yad L’Achim workers “cried out in the streets” in an attempt to “warn people” by shouting; “Beware missionaries! Jews watch out! Don’t take anything from them, they want to convert you.” Rabbi G. who was at the march is reported as saying, “at a certain stage the missionaries got impatient and tried to split into small groups” but “it didn’t work and the march had to be disbanded.” The chairman of Yad L’Achim is quoted, “this is the only way to trip them up, the missionaries need to know that wherever they insist on distributing destructive material they are not wanted, only then will they get out of here.”
Yediot Ahronot (Sep. 5, 2005) has a feature about the tourist sites in the Old City of Jaffa. Among the sites mentioned is “a renovated building in Yeffet Street where Messianic Jews live,” and it is noted to be “in front of a Protestant cemetery where Dr. Thomas Hodgkin is buried.”
Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus
(HaAretz Sep.6, 2005; HaModia Sep. 6, 2005)
Both HaAretz (Sep. 6, 2005) and HaModia (Sep. 6, 2005) report about a Haredi young man who spat at a Greek Orthodox procession in Jerusalem. HaModia reports that “according to police sources he spat at one of the participants.” The HaAretz report says “eye witnesses say he yelled curses and when approached by the leader of the procession who tried to calm him down, the Haredi spat in his face.” Both HaModia and HaAretz note that according to the man he “spat when he saw the leader carrying the cross.” The articles say that the man was detained by police and forbidden to go near the Old City of Jerusalem for 30 days.
Christian Support of Israel
(HaAretz Sep. 2, 2005)
In an aim “to promote shared Judeo-Christian interest, six Knesset members flew to Texas to meet with Christian leaders,” reports HaAretz (Sep. 2, 2005). The conference is reported to “push a conservative, Bible-based agenda.” Yuri Stern who is the co-chairman of the Christian Allies caucus is quoted “we are building the alliance with which Jews and Christians together will face the rise of radical Islam.”
(HaAretz English Edition Sep. 4, 2005; HaAretz Hebrew Edition Sep. 2, 2005)
In an opinion piece reviewing the clash between Israel and the Vatican concerning “condemnation of terror attacks carried out on Israel,” author Adi Shwartz reminds the readers that these exchanges were described as “one of the worst crises in the Israeli-Vatican relationship in the past 40 years” (HaAretz English Sep. 4, 2005; HaAretz Hebrew Sep. 2, 2005). Adi Shwartz quotes Italian correspondent Lorenzo Cremonesi “Israel is not fulfilling its commitments,” and offers the opinion that behind the controversy is the notion that “Israel views Vatican demands as the creation of an exterritorial status for the Catholic Church in Israel” and “Israel is not prepared to agree to that.”
(Jerusalem Post Sep. 4, 2005; HaTzofeh Sep. 5, 2005)
The Jerusalem Post (Sep. 4, 2005) runs an article about the increase of evangelical chaplains in the US army and the “sentiments and polarisation” that this is causing within the institution. It is noted that the “biggest supplier of chaplains” is the Southern Baptist Convention. Rev. Melinda Morton, a Lutheran chaplain who resigned from the army after “criticising the religious atmosphere” says, “There has been a palpable rise in evangelical fever.” The article also follows the story of Gordon James Klingenschmitt who joined the navy as a chaplain and was “reprimanded for saying in a sermon” that ‘according to John 3:36, those who do not accept Jesus are doomed for eternity.’” The Jerusalem Post says in one academy “the commandant had urged cadets to use the ‘Jews for J (Jesus)’ hand signal” and that “he expected to see them in church.”
The religious daily HaTzofeh reports how the Bratoslavni Russian Church in Israel “lives off the State and does all it can to harm the Haredim” (HaTzofeh Sep. 5, 2005). The paper says that “a third of the Russian immigrants are ‘goys’ and those in the Bratoslavni Church are even missionaries.” According to the author there are “many churches in Tel Aviv, and not just for the foreign workers who have a right to pray according to their religion.” He speaks about assimilation and how the “influx of ‘goys’ into Israel has led to many mixed marriages breaking down the wall which is necessary for the Jewish people to survive.” He likens the situation to the Holocaust and fears the “imminent destruction” of the Jewish people.
Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians
(HaAretz Sep. 4, 2005; Kol Ha’Ir Aug. 19, 2005)
An article in HaAretz (Sep. 4, 2005) investigates the use of technology for the propagation of the Gospel in North America. The story starts with pastor Mark Batterson who offers his congregants and worldwide listeners an opportunity to hear his sermons through an ipod. HaAretz quotes Batterson, “while we may be Orthodox in our faith we are not Orthodox in our ways” and notes that in Batterson’s words the use of an ipod, “is making a digital congregation.” HaAretz also comments that the transmission of “spiritual messages” is not new to the Christian world. The establishment of Pat Robertson’s CBN is termed as a “mini-empire” as is TBN. The author notes that the technology available through ipod “makes the mission more updated.” Melissa Rogers, a lecturer from Wake Forest seminary is quoted “hearing sermons through ipods enables people with a very busy schedule to receive their dose of religion while on the move.” There is an illustration of an ipod with a picture of Jesus on the cross, with the base of the cross turning into the electric cable.
Different Matters of Jewish or Christian Interest.
(Ma’ariv Sep. 4, 2005)
The chairman of El Al has met with evangelical pastors from the “Bible belt” to “encourage Christian tourism” (Ma’ariv Sep. 4, 2005). According to the article, El Al will initially invest 1 million NIS in encouraging Christian tourism from this area. The next stage will be “inviting these Christian leaders to Israel and later on offering special package deals to Christians from the ‘Bible belt.’”