October 1 – 2005

Caspari Center Media Review… October 2005 #1


During the period of time covered by this review, we received 48 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


   6 dealt with Jewish-Christian Relations

   5 dealt with Messianic Jews

   6 dealt with Christian Support of Israel

   2 dealt with Anti-Missionary Attitudes

   3 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

   4 dealt with Attitudes about Jesus

   4 dealt with Tourism

   1 dealt with Anti-Missionary Legislation


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


Messianic Jews

HaModia Sep. 15, 2005; Yated Ne’eman Sep. 15, 2005; Ma’ariv Sep. 9, 2005; HaModia Sep. 18, 2005


The religious dailies HaModia and Yated Ne’eman (Sep. 15) publish the very same article about the Supreme Court hearing in Arad. The court hearing sought to determine the legalities of mass protest outside private homes of the Israeli public, centering in this case on a “missionary” from Arad. The article follows the events of the hearing of the Supreme Court as observed by Bezedek, an “organisation” who contest that “missionary activity in Arad is harmful to the general public” and therefore “we have the right to protest outside individual ‘missionary’ houses.” The article says that Bezedek claim that “missionary activity has nested in Arad and preyed on innocent and simple Jewish people in trouble” and that “most of the missionary activity has been centred around the house of this one particular ‘missionary.’” Rabbi Mordechai Green, the chairman of Bezedek is quoted “the right to protest outside her house is an action which must be upheld and protected by the Supreme Court.” He continues, “Because the police are unauthorised to check out the true contents of the matter then it is us who must bring peace and security to the public.” According to Green “the missionary even brought her two sons to court to impress the judges by showing them that they served in the army.” The article says that a man who “claimed” to be a holocaust survivor represented all the neighbours by saying that the “demonstrations provoked in him very unpleasant feelings” by “interfering with the quality of life” and “bringing down the value of real estate in the area.” The report also says “with unfathomable obstinacy, the ‘missionary’ rejected the Supreme Court’s attempt to reach a settlement to the matter by rebuffing any compromise that would seek to limit the frequency of the demonstrations.”


Ma’ariv (Sep. 9) runs a feature about the meeting between Ronen Nachman, the Mayor of Ariel, and representatives of the former Gaza settlement, Nezarim, who will make their temporary home in Ariel. Nachman says that he hopes that such a move will “restore the balance of his town” whose population includes “many Christians.” He expresses his hopes that “this will curb rumours of missionary activity in town.” Ariel is described as a town that has “about one hundred Messianic Jews which adopt a Protestant congregational framework.” The report says that “most of the Messianic Jews living in Ariel are Russian speaking but there are also some Anglo-Saxon families and even Sabras.” There is an interview with a Russian Messianic Jewish immigrant called “Anya” (pseudonym) who “with her husband heads up the ‘Tikvat HaShomron’ congregation.” She is quoted “we believe in ‘Yeshu’ but see ourselves as entirely Jewish.” She also says “in our view Christianity is a continuation of Judaism and ‘Yeshu’ is the Messiah, we keep both the Jewish and Christian festivals.” The article also features Homer and Ruby Owen, a Christian couple who obtained Israeli citizenship. The Owens describe that after meeting with Ronen Nachman, they decided to immigrate and invest in a mini-golf course in the town of Ariel. Homer Owen is quoted “I’m neither a missionary nor a preacher and this structure is not a church but a mini-golf course.” Homer also says that he is “distressed that Israelis do not visit Christian congregations in America” but would rather “go to India and expose themselves to all kinds of Eastern religions.” Homer is reported as saying “we believe that the God of Abraham is the God of the Christians, we do not have any religion to give you (the Jews).” Messianic Jew Hannah Weiss is also interviewed. She is described as someone who ”has amalgamated around her a group of Jewish English-speaking believers in ‘Yeshu.’” Hannah is described as “having three Sabra kids, a Protestant husband and works as an editor in English.” She is quoted, “I combine my faith in Christianity as a young child with the Torah of Israel. I preserve the purity of my family. I keep kosher, the Sabbath, and other commandments. I am convinced that God Himself has restored me to the Jewish people and I also believe that ‘Yeshu’ is the Messiah.” When asked about the hesitations and oppositions of the settlers regarding Ariel’s high “Christian” population Hannah says “Their fear is understandable but they need to understand that the rumours are not true, there are great people here, it’s not a missionary town.”


“A huge ‘conversion’ march which was supposed to be held in Nazareth was thwarted by the religious public in Arad,” claims HaModia (Sep. 18). The article says that the “mass conversion march is an event of the utmost gravity that was supposed to end in baptism to Christianity.” According to HaModia “reliable information” arrived at the Yad L’Achim’s office in Arad. The article says “missionaries who belong to the sect of Messianic Jews in Arad offered people a free outing to the North with the objective of converting them.” Yad L’Achim says, “Although the protest was peaceful, nevertheless the police bias was so blatant that that one missionary got away by pretending to be a policeman and wearing a policeman’s hat.” The report also says “the missionaries got biased police protection and were helped to the bus under police guard,” although “unsuccessfully because the march was called off.” The religious public are described as “hurting” and “furious” that the “police aided the illegal mission.”


Anti-Missionary Attitudes

Ma’ariv Sep. 1, 2005; BaKehila Sep. 8, 2005


Both BaKehila (Sep. 8) and Ma’ariv (Sep. 1) report that the Greek Orthodox Church in Israel is endeavouring to “enlist hundreds of missionaries to meet the needs of 1/4 million Russian immigrants.” BaKehila says, “These ‘goys’ who have immigrated to Israel enjoy the benefits of the State.” The same article also says that the official figure of 1/4 million non-Jewish Russian “Christian” immigrants is “probably a quarter of the true number.” The report claims, “Their children learn in State schools, they light Christmas trees and they possess New Testaments.”


Anti-Missionary Legislation

Yom L’Yom Sep. 1, 2005


According to Yom L’Yom (Sep. 1) Knesset member Shlomo Benizri has proposed a bill that demands “anyone preaching or carrying out any kind of missionary activity – both to the individual or publicly – that causes a Jew to convert to Christianity must face three years in prison.” Benizri says “it is mostly Christians from America and Europe as well as Jews who have converted to Christianity that have one objective; the extinction and the obliteration of the memory of the remnant of the people of Israel.”


Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

HaMekomon Yerushalayim Sep. 7, 2005; Masa Olami August 2005;


In an article covering the historic “Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu,” the church is described as being connected to the arrest of “Yeshu the Christian,”  (HaMekomon Yerushalayim Sep. 7). The feature says that “here, according to Christian tradition ‘Yeshu’ was handed over to the Romans by the High Priest Caiaphas for crucifixion.” It is also noted that to the west of the church is a Byzantine altar that carries a picture of a lamb “which is the symbol of ‘Yeshu.’”


In another feature in the monthly Masa Olami (Aug. 2005) covering Holy Sites in the land, the Sea of Galilee and its surrounding areas is described as “a place connected to the name of ‘Yeshu the Christian’ because of the miracles He did.” Jesus is described as “The Jew who became a Christian, and with the aid of His own spiritual power succeeded in moving mountains and doing other miracles.” The author says, “Many followed His teachings so that they would obtain salvation and not suffer in this world.” He adds, “Many of the legends of Yeshu are familiar.” Nevertheless, he was “interested in seeing how Christian believers today unite and connect themselves to Yeshu.” It was “this interest that caused him” to join a group of Christian pilgrims touring Galilee.


The article follows various locations in Galilee. The birth of Jesus is described, as is His genealogy. “The Holy Mary was His biological mother and Joseph was His adopted father.” It is also said, “the New Testament says Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit so according to the Christian faith, ‘Yeshu’ is the Son of God.” The author says that Jesus was baptised by the “preacher John when He reached adulthood.” Baptism is further described as “liberating (people) from sin and immersing people into the world of Christianity, a world which is only good.” After the death of John, the author claims “Yeshu took his place and gathered more and more Jewish disciples around Him.” The “ministry” of Jesus according to the author was to “move to the Galilee and be close to those He wanted to redeem” namely “the poor, the sick and the weak.” In the opinion of the author, Jesus  “called on the crowds to baptise themselves in the Jordan in order to win salvation, the Kingdom of God and put an end to their earthly suffering.”  It is because of these claims that the author says, “baptism is one of the seven most important commandments in Christianity.” He traced various groups of Christian pilgrims around the Galilee and described a “group baptism” as a “moving experience – their eyes were full of tears as they prayed blessings to Yeshu.”


The author recommends to his readership that should they also wish to “observe” Christian pilgrims then “try not to interfere with their spiritual experience, show consideration by standing aside.” There is also a short glossary containing “foundational vocabulary in Christianity” including explanations of the words “cross, bread & wine, Last Supper, The Old Testament and the New Testament.”


Christian Support of Israel

Iton Yerushalayim Sep. 16, 2005; Jerusalem Post Sep. 11, 2005


The Jerusalem Post reports of the signing of “The Jerusalem Accords,” at a conference held in Texas. The paper calls for the immediate moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem (Sep. 16). Various Knesset members and leaders of “Christian Zionist organisations” signed the paper, including pastors and Bible teachers Jack Hayford, John Hagee, Steve Munsey and Kay Arthur. It is noted that other participants signed, including David Decker “an Israel based liaison pastor” who has written a book on “why should Christians support the building of the third temple.”


Iton Yerushalayim (Sep. 16) runs a three-page feature about Vesna Buhler, wife of Jurgen Buhler from the ICEJ (International Christian Embassy Jerusalem). The interview with the Buhler’s, which was “conducted at their beautiful home,” covers a brief biography of their personal and working lives and the role of the ICEJ. Vesna is quoted “there are some people who physically belong to God and they are the Jews, we however have an elective to believe in God although He is not ours. Both Vesna and her husband Jurgen are described as “workers of the ICEJ which has about 50 branches throughout the world and on the political map represents the far right.” The “task” of the ICEJ is described as  “explaining to the world why Israel must hold onto all the land.” The article focuses on Vesna’s new singing ventures that once were “singing ‘Hava Nagila’ to strengthen her husbands preaching,” and now “focuses on a new music album whose musicians are the people who accompany Israeli folk/pop singer Sarit Chadad.” Vesna’s songs are praised and described as a mixture of “musical embellishments sung to God which are the type of song which can be heard at weddings, ceremonies, Shas “revival meetings” and the TV programme “A Star is Born.” It is noted that the songs are “not necessarily the kind to be heard” on the local radio channel Galgalatz. Vesna says her songs are for both religious and secular (Jews) and that she “believes that she has a gift from God”, so “I want to share it with everyone.”


Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

Ma’ariv Sep13, 2005


Ma’ariv contains a very short article about a nun who was thrown out of a convent because “she wanted to preach Christianity in a more assertive way” (Sep. 13). The article says that the nun, Barbara Nikolusi, made her way to Hollywood and is now a screenwriter.  According to the report, Miss Nikolusi is “keen for more Christians to find work in Hollywood.”