October 28 – 2005

Caspari Center Media Review… October 2005 # 5

During the period of time covered by this review, we received 29 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


   2 dealt with Jewish-Christian Relations

   3 dealt with Messianic Jews

   6 dealt with Anti-Missionary Attitudes

   1 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

   5 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

   4 dealt with Christian Support of Israel


The remaining 8 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.


Messianic Jews

HaModia Oct. 17, 2005; BaKehila Oct. 29, 2005; Yated Ne’eman Oct. 17, 2005


Both HaModia and Yated Ne’eman (Oct. 17) report on “amazing things revealed in a Be’er Sheva court.” According to the papers the Supreme Court has now instructed the Arad police to explain their decision to prevent demonstrations outside ‘missionary’ houses in Arad.” This has happened following a petition to the Supreme Court by BeTzedek, an organisation founded by Agudat Israel in the USA. The articles say “the Supreme court emphasised the grave fact that the Arad police did not see themselves as an objective element who were there to keep public safety, but rather took ideological sides.” Both articles also say “it was the police themselves who urged the missionaries to obtain a restraint order against the ultra-Orthodox community.” The articles claim, “This was known to us because it was admitted by the missionaries’ attorney in court.” HaModia notes “the mission has nested in Arad for years, and of late the Arad police have done different things to make life harder for the ultra-Orthodox community in the town.”


The religious daily BaKehila (Sep. 29) reports that the “missionary” radio station “Kol HaYeshua” made an announcement saying “we have captured a Yad L’Achim spy” and “very soon we will give him the proper treatment that atrocious people like him deserve.” BaKehila says, “This dramatic announcement has spread quickly throughout the missionary congregations in the land.” The chairman of Yad L’Achim is reported as “responding with a smile” saying, “we do not know of any Yad L’Achim worker who has been caught. This obviously is a new tactic of theirs; to intimidate our undercover agents who are planted among the missionaries.” The same article also reports about a “missionary website” that reportedly announced “’that man’ (Jesus) told us to pray for those who persecute us, so we must pray for those in Yad L’Achim who have an anti-Messianic (Anti-Christ) spirit hiding in their souls.” The article claims the web site also said; “by prayer we must stop those who persecute ‘that man’ (Jesus), the satanic spirit which drives them will not break the ‘church.’” The article quotes, “pray especially for the chairman of Yad L’Achim, Dov Lipshitz, who possesses the most tremendous anti-Messianic (Anti-Christ) spirit in the whole world.” BaKehila claims that according to the web article, Dov Lipshitz is compared to the Apostle Paul who “fought against the ‘church.’”


Christian Support of Israel

Yediot Ahronot Oct. 16, 2005; Globes Oct 17, 2005;


The same article appearing in Globes (Oct. 17) Yediot Ahronot (Oct. 16), questions trips made abroad by Knesset members who are members of the Jewish-Christian caucus. The papers comment; “our MK’s are prepared to travel to any corner of the globe as long as there are Christians there.” The caucus, founded two years ago, is described as “being a very popular travellers club,” and suggests that the possibility of going abroad is the “cause for growth of MK’s serving on the caucus.” Although the article acknowledges that the trips are “funded by Christians” who are “very interested in strengthening relations with MK’s” it also says “no one seems quite sure what they all do at the meetings.”


 Anti-Missionary Attitudes

Yediot Ahronot Oct. 16, 2005; HaModia Oct. 11, 17, 2005; Mishpacha Sept. 29, 2005


The largest secular tabloid Yediot Ahronot reports on a 90 year old Jewish man living in the city of Florence who was “baptised into Christianity without him even knowing it” (Oct. 16). Yediot Ahronot describes the event that took place in a Jewish old people’s home as “underhanded opportunism that is reminiscent of the Middle Ages.” The article says, “The head of the Jewish community in Florence approached the Cardinal of the Catholic Church to explain that the old man was not in his right mind.” The report states that the man’s family was “most angered by the Cardinal’s answer” because the Cardinal responded, “he was in his right mind” and “so the most regretful thing was that the family was not there to witness it.”


The religious weekly Mishpacha (Sept. 29) runs a feature as to the whereabouts of the ultra-Orthodox boy Moshe Shimon, who disappeared 55 years ago. The opening bold paragraph states “while some thought he had become an Israeli agent others remain convinced that the hands of the ‘mission’ were behind the kidnapping.”  The article says that his family and some of the search quad who went looking for him immediately after his disappearance “are sure that the boy was kidnapped by the ‘mission’, smuggled to a church and from there put in a monastery abroad.”


HaModia (Oct. 17) reports about an “irregular phone call” that was received a few weeks ago on the “Yad L’Achim helpline.” Rabbi Shinhav, who is based in the Himalayas called to “give a full and worrying report about a new missionary initiative, in the form of a café where missionary books and tracts were being given out.” The author says, “You could hear the cry for help in Rabbi Shinhav’s voice.” Rabbi Shinhav says “the young Israelis in these places are searching and are open to all kinds of spirits.” Following the phone call, the chairman of Yad L’Achim “held emergency discussions on how to deal with the situation.” One of those present felt “unable to disclose” all the details of the meeting but says “we decided to warn people of the missionaries, so we put their photos up in the various areas and said they only had the extinction of Jews in their mind.” According to the article, “one night the missionaries turned up at Rabbi Shinhav’s synagogue”, yet “thankfully suspicion was aroused and they were spotted.” The interviewee also says “one week after Yad L’Achim started to work in the area, their (the missionary’s) café was empty of all Israelis.”


HaModia (Oct. 11) reports on “Yad L’Achim’s efforts” to trace nearly 2000 Jewish people who during the Second World War “were passed, as children, onto churches and Christian families throughout Europe.” The article says that “special branches of Yad L’Achim throughout Europe” have received letters from the Dutch and British Royal Family as well as from the President of France ensuring Yad L’Achim that they “will embrace the project with much understanding.” The report says, “exclusive information which Yad L’Achim recently received, points to the fact that during the war Pope Pious XII forbade baptised Jewish children to return to their parents even though their parents requested it.” The chairman of Yad L’Achim is quoted; “it is possible, even today, to return sons to their Fathers. For the children whose parents were incinerated this is really a continuation of the holocaust.” He also says, “even though many years have passed, Jews still want to get back to their roots and we are guilty for not helping them.”


Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

Jerusalem Post Oct. 11,16, 2005


In an opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post (Oct. 11) Rabbi Shmuley Boteach notes that the number of Jews in the world has “fallen below a critical mass.” He suggests that one possible way of “upping Jewish numbers” is to “proselytize.” Rabbi Boteach recalls that in his debates with Christian thinkers around the world, “many feel uncomfortable with what they see as Christianity’s compromises and paganism.” He notes “to these Christians the idea of man as God does not appeal to them, they are put off by the pagan overtones of God conceiving a child with a woman” and “are positively cold to the Christian idea of original sin.” He also notes “for these Christians the idea of a Redeemer shedding his blood in order to purge them of sin does not accord with their personal values.” Rabbi Boteach writes, “It is to those people whom I believe we should be offering Judaism as a pure monotheistic alternative.” He observes that in his travels he has “encountered whole Christian congregations who reject the deification of Yeshua, observe the Sabbath” and “study the Torah.” Rabbi Boteach concludes, “The Jewish communities should be spearheading this movement.”


In response to Shmuley Boteach’s article in a letter to the Editor (Jerusalem Post Oct. 16) the author reminds the readership, that concerning religion “generalisations are heart warming” yet “not that simple.” In reference to “the varied” Christian understanding of the Trinity, the writer says “Unitarian Christians adopt a figurative interpretation” and that “even a medieval commentary of the Talmud avers that the Christian monks did not accept the Trinity literally, and therefore Christianity cannot be equated with idol worship.”


In a Letter to the Editor (Jerusalem Post Oct. 11) the writer observes “Christianity bases its core doctrine of salvation on rewarding believers in Christ with heaven, and deniers of Christ with hell.”


 Jewish-Christian relations

HaTzofeh Oct. 20, 2005;


According to the religious daily HaTzofeh (Oct. 20) the Vatican is offering Israel an ancient Spanish synagogue in exchange for possession of the Upper Room of David’s Tomb “believed by Christians to be the place where ‘Yeshu’ celebrated the last supper.” The paper says that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has acknowledged that such a request has been made” yet also states “Israel is not prepared to relinquish control of the place.”


Different Matters of Jewish and Christian Interest

Makor Rishon Oct. 14, 2005


In a feature covering a trip which explored the ancient water systems near Kibbutz Tzuba the author notes that the most “worthwhile reason for going there was to see a cave that has been used by all three of the (monotheistic) religions” (Makor Rishon Oct. 14). The article says that “John the Baptist’s Cave” was “used by the Christian Saint and his followers for baptism and other religious rituals.”