October 7 – 2005

Caspari Center Media Review… October 2005 # 2

During the period of time covered by this review, we received 16 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


   4 dealt with Jewish-Christian Relations

   1 dealt with Messianic Jews

   2 dealt with Anti-Missionary Attitudes

   6 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

   1 dealt with Archaeology


The remaining 2 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.


Messianic Jews

HaModia Sep. 23, 2005


According to the religious daily HaModia, Yad L’Achim activists broke into the cultural centre in Bat Yam in order to disrupt a concert “organised by missionaries” (Sep. 23). Yad L’Achim sent a letter to the mayor of Bat Yam, Shlomi Lechiani, saying that they “have information that a concert will take place in Bat Yam cultural centre organised by the notorious missionary Michael Zin, from the sect of Messianic Jews, who can be credited with the conversion of many Jews.” Yad L’Achim reportedly also sent a “touching letter” to the manager of the cultural centre expressing that at the time of signing the rental contract “we are sure that you were unaware of the people who were putting on the concert,” and because of this “it gives you a legal loophole to cancel the event.”  Michael Zin is someone who is described as “very familiar to Yad L’Achim for many years” and a man who “baptises innocent Jews around the Sea of Galilee and in the river Jordan.” The paper says, “despite Yad L’Achim’s efforts to inform the cultural centre of the upcoming concert they responded that ‘they had no intention of cancelling the event.’” The article says that Yad L’Achim turned up at the concert with an amplification system and “Rabbi Avraham Bitkin, spoke clearly of the dangers of the mission, calling upon the missionaries to get out of the place.” Many people waiting at the door “decided against going in.” The report also says that many municipality workers turned up to “monitor the contents of the concert” and to see “if indeed there was missionary rhetoric being spoken.” Should this be the case, the municipality workers were “prepared to stop the show immediately.” The concert reportedly opened up with the choir singing a “horrifying song” which was sung in “praise of ‘that man.’” HaModia says that throughout the concert “Yad L’Achim workers moved among the audience distributing pictures of Michael Zin baptizing Jews.” Many people were “shocked at the image” and the pictures are described as being “worth more than a thousand words.” People were “encouraged for their own good to get up and leave.”


Anti-Missionary Attitudes

Iton Yerushalayim Sep. 23, 2005


Jerusalem Council member Mina Penton has approached the heads of the Municipality of Jerusalem “in protest of the Christian Embassy’s (ICEJ) intent to hold their annual ceremony at Sultan’s Pool” (Sep. 23). The ICEJ is described, as “an organisation comprised of many denominations of Christianity that has been present in Jerusalem for over 30 years.”  Penton is said to be “stunned” that the Municipality has agreed to rent out the pool to the ICEJ. Penton is quoted as saying “they have an agenda; behind their pretensions of honour, in which they supposedly support the Jews, is missionary activity.” She is described as someone who “has approached the mayor several times” and has protested about the Succoth march in Jerusalem in which “the ICEJ staff carry crosses through the city.”  Penton says that this event “will draw tens of thousands of Christians” and  “is meant to attract Jews.” She also says “it is an attempt to take over.” Jerusalem council member Allalu criticised Penton this week claiming, “She doesn’t understand that this city is holy to three religions.” An official response from the ICEJ is printed in the article; “For 25 years the ICEJ has been a loving supporting friend of Israel and her citizens, we do not engage in missionary activity.”


Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

Jerusalem Post Sep. 23, 2005; Pnai Plus Sep. 25, 2005; Yediot Ahronot Sep. 23, 2005; HaAretz Hebrew Edition Sep. 23, 27, 2005;


The Jerusalem Post reviews a documentary to be shown on Israeli television titled “Missionary Positions” (Sep. 23). The programme follows the story of Mike Foster and Craig Gross, two pastors from California, who “dedicated their lives” to tackling pornography on the Internet. The article says that the two men “set out to bring a message of Christian love to people virtually trapped by an under-discussed, taboo addiction.” It also says that they “even made postcards promising ‘Jesus loves porn stars.’”  The documentary is described as “thought-provoking” and “worthwhile.”


In a very short column in Pnai Plus (Aug. 25) Pope Benedict XVI is described as “very trendy” and a “man who makes sure that his robes are fashionable.” The article says that the Pope “orders hand-made robes that are just the right length which show off his white socks and red moccasins.” His glasses are noted to cost $400 and the author concludes by asking ironically “has a new fashion ‘icon’ been born?”


Both Yediot Ahronot (Sep. 23) and HaAretz Hebrew Edition (Sep. 23, 27) run articles about the Vatican’s “soon to be published” policy, not to accept practising and non-practising homosexuals into the priesthood. Yediot Ahronot quotes a Catholic priest who believes that such a policy “will encourage candidates not to be honest about their sexual tendencies.”  In an opinion piece in HaAretz the author Peter Steinfells notes, “according to a recently published book ‘Educating Leaders for Ministry’ only 10% of potential candidates for the priesthood are suitable for work in education.” He claims that many “lack Basic English, and are dislocated from American society, and have a low ability to study.” The author suggests, “This is a bigger issue that demands attention from the Vatican rather than focusing on someone’s sexual tendencies.”



Yediot Ahronot Sep. 27, 2005


Yediot Ahronot reports about artefacts found on the archaeological digs in the ancient city of Tiberius (Sep. 27). The findings expose a sanctuary that served the Sanhedrin after the destruction of the Second Temple in CE 70. Among the artefacts discovered are coins dating from the 11th century. On one side “is the image of Yeshu” and on the other side, written in Greek is “Jesus Christ King of Kings.”


Jewish Christian Relations

HaAretz Sep. 29, 2005; HaTzofeh Sep. 29, 2005; Makor Rishon Sep. 23, 2005


Three papers report on the Vatican lending four illuminated medieval Jewish manuscripts to the Israel Museum (HaAretz Sep. 29; HaTzofeh Sep. 29; Makor Rishon Sep. 23). The manuscripts, which will be on display for the next four months, include the works of the Rabbi Moses Ben Maimonides (Rambam). The papers say that there is also a manuscript of a 13th century Italian Tanach (Old Testament) that is almost whole and undamaged. The religious paper HaTzofeh (Sep. 29) reports that “the chief rabbis have called upon the Vatican to allow the manuscripts to remain in Israel longer than the four months” and that the Vatican representative considers it “a great honour to lend 4 out of the 850 Jewish manuscripts to the Israel Museum.”