October 14 – 2005

Caspari Center Media Review… October 2005 # 3

During the period of time covered by this review, we received 25 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


   4 dealt with Jewish-Christian Relations

   3 dealt with Messianic Jews

   5 dealt with Anti-Missionary Attitudes

   1 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

   1 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

   1 dealt with Christian Support of Israel


The remaining 10 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.


Messianic Jews

Iton HaTzvi Arad Sep. 22, 2005; Zman Holon Bat Yam Sep. 16, 2005; BaKehila Sep. 22, 2005


Arad’s weekly magazine Iton HaTzvi Arad reports, “Haredi riots continue against the Messianics” (Sep. 22). The article says, “The Messianics suffered more harassment on Shabbat” and “hundreds of Haredim besieged a bus wanting to overturn it… hundreds of Gur followers went wild and blocked the traffic.” It is noted that in the bus belonging to the Messianic Jews were “women and children” and that “they were fearfully attacked and it was lucky that no one got hurt.” The paper says that the Messianic Jews intended to set out for a trip to Nazareth to celebrate “an innocent birthday party.” Many photographers and journalists were present and Shamaya Tennenbaum, a member of Arad’s local council “was caught on film among the rioters” although it was decided “not to arrest him until the Sabbath had finished.” Tennenbaum was later called to Arad police station to help the police with their inquires. The article says that the police “suspect that he instigated the riots,” although Tennenbaum reportedly claimed in the inquiry “I acted in order to calm the situation,” and “I adamantly deny any guilt that the police are trying to impose on me… it’s purely an attempt to harass a public figure and his political activities.” Tennenbaum was reportedly later to have “bailed himself out.” One of the photographers is quoted; “there were moments when I thought they would manage to overturn the bus, it was really frightening.” A “Messianic leader” from Arad is quoted; “my dream is to speak openly and not hide my name. I am worried for the life of my family, these people are a danger to the public.” He also says “I praise the actions of the police who succeeded in defending us.”


Anti-Missionary Attitudes

HaModia Sep. 30, 2005; Kol Ha’Ir Sep. 30 2005; Kol HaZman Sep. 30, 2005


In a review of the outgoing Jewish year, an article in HaModia sums up the “very successful activities” of Yad L’Achim (Sep. 30). HaModia states, “It was a very full year for those engaged against the mission and involved in saving souls.” According to a report prepared by Yad L’Achim “18 ‘preaching centres’ were closed, 267 home-visits were made where missionaries had operated and 174 souls were saved from the mission.” It also says “around 1250 calls were followed up on the Yad L’Achim help-line and 12 ‘senior’ missionaries were expelled from Israel after Yad L’Achim exposed their activities.” The chairman of Yad L’Achim Rabbi Dov Lipschitz says, “as the New Year comes in we must remember that there are thousands of Jews who are in need of saving from spiritual destruction, including many children.” It is also noted that whoever donates 180 NIS to the cause of Yad L’Achim will be remembered with a blessing at the Western Wall for 40 days.”


Christian/Messianic non-profit organisations not entitled to reduction on local taxes.

Kol HaZman Sep. 30, 2005; Kol Ha’Ir Sep. 30, 2005


Institutions applying for exemptions or reductions from the local municipality taxes are advised by Meretz member Sa’ar Natanel “not include the words ‘homo’ ‘Arab, ‘reform’ (Jews) or ‘Christian” reports Kol HaZman and Kol Ha’Ir (Sep. 30). Various institutions throughout Jerusalem this week heard if they were entitled to a reduction of the “Arnona”. According to Kol HaZman “The ‘Kehila Meshihit Israelit’ (Israeli Messianic Community) applied but were refused… as were ‘Telem’ (the movement for reformed Judaism) and organisations that work for the Palestinians.” The papers note that reductions and exemptions were authorised for “extreme Jewish non-profit organisations such as Yad L’Achim who are known for their violent activities against Christians and Muslims.” Gidi Schmerling, a spokesman for the Jerusalem municipality says that “Yad L’Achim carries out a wide variety of activities in Jerusalem, especially for children and educational institutions, and organisations such as Telem do not operate chiefly within Jerusalem so they were not entitled to exemption.”


Christian Support of Israel

Jerusalem Post Sep. 26, 2005


In a ceremony hosted by the World Jewish congress in Jerusalem “several Israel-based Christian groups were honoured for their unequivocal support for the State of Israel” (Jerusalem Post Sep. 26). The ceremony is described as being “indicative of the importance Israel is now placing on ties with the staunchly pro-Israel evangelical community.” The Jerusalem Post describes Malcolm Hedding from the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem (ICEJ) as “pointedly singling out Pope Benedict XVI for not condemning the suicide bombing in Netanya earlier in the year.” Aside from the ICEJ it also lists other organisations that were honoured for their support, including “Bridges for Peace, Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, the East Gate Foundation and Christian Friends of Israel.” The director of the World Jewish Congress, Bobby Brown is quoted; “we can tell everyone that we no longer stand alone, that the Jews have friends.”


Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

Iton Yerushalayim Sep. 30, 2005; Kol Ha’Ir Sep. 30, 2005; Kol HaZman Sep. 30, 2005


A statue worth $250,000 presented to Jerusalem municipality at the Millennium by the Organisation of World Traders of Precious Stones was “thrown into a warehouse because it had a cross engraved on it” reports the three local Jerusalem weekly magazines Iton Yerushalayim, Kol Ha’Ir and Kol HaZman (Sep. 30). The articles says that the statue “is made from gold, silver and platinum, has thousands of precious stones engraved on it, is over half a metre high and weighs tens of kilos.” A few months ago Yehuda Kassif, the director of the Israeli Chamber of Precious Stones “discovered that the statue was no longer there” and wrote a “sharp letter” to the municipality. Kassif found out that the statue was removed from the display cabinet in the mayor’s office because “the ultra-Orthodox (Jews) complained that there was a cross engraved on it.” Gidi Schmerling, a spokesman for the municipality is quoted; “every year the municipality receives thousands of gifts, sadly the mayor’s office is able to contain all the gifts,” and “because this had stood in the mayor’s office for over two years there is no basis to the complaints.”


 Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

Mishpacha Sep. 22, 2005


The religious daily Mishpacha (Sep. 22) reports about Chilean-born Miguel Salas who was “once an evangelical preacher” yet “now works as a (converted) rabbi” among the Marranos in Portugal. He is described as “the most Jewish you can get.” It is noted that his embracing of Judaism is “as an eye-sore to the Catholic Church,” and he “manages to evoke in Catholics a feeling of discomfort… and that’s even before they know he was an evangelical preacher.” Salas describes his childhood as “being in church from the age of five.” He says, “even though I took my religion very seriously my father’s church was very boring.” He testifies; “it was only when I started to read the Tanach (Old Testament) that I began to ask questions like ‘if we Christians are the chosen people then why don’t we keep the Sabbath?’” Salas says he felt a “great pull towards the Jewish people” and “slowly I distanced myself from the Church and looked for a way in which I could draw near to Judaism.” The article says that Salas underwent an Orthodox conversion in Israel and spent five years in a Yeshiva because “I wanted to learn the Torah.” He further explains that a priest approached him and “told me that I was really a Catholic) priest.” Salas reportedly responded, “I know that I am from a Jewish family.” He also says that he now “understood why my grandfather’s house had a back and a front door, so it made it possible to escape.” The article concludes by Salas thanking all those “who made it possible for him to embrace Judaism.”


Different Matters of Jewish or Christian Interest

Kol Ha’Emek V’HaGalil Sep. 23, 2005


Non-Jewish residents of Nazareth Elite, mostly from the former Soviet Union, are requesting to bury their deceased loved-ones “in new clothes and a coffin” reports Kol Ha’Emek V’HaGalil (Sep. 23). Residents from Nazareth Elite who have “not been able to bury the deceased as they would wish” have now approached the deputy mayor. The Rabbi of the town Yeshiyahu Herzl, is reported as saying, “as long as the Christian burial plot is still within the Jewish cemetery then Christian funerals are bound by the regulations of the rabbinate.” He continues: “‘Christians’ are given great honour that they can be buried in a Jewish cemetery next to Jews.” He also says “if you start changing the rules and regulations now, it will open up the floodgates.”