November 5 – 2005

Caspari Center Media Review… November 2005 # 1

During the period of time covered by this review, we received 80 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


   16 dealt with Jewish-Christian Relations

   3 dealt with Status of Non-Jews

   7 dealt with Anti-Missionary Attitudes

   4 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

   10 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

   13 dealt with Christian Support of Israel

   1 dealt with Book Review


The remaining 26 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.


Christian Support of Israel

Yated Ne’eman Sept. 9, 2005; Jerusalem Post, Oct. 19, 21, 24, 2005; HaAretz Oct. 21, 2005; Iton Yerushalyim Oct. 21, 2005


The religious weekly, Yated Ne’eman (Sept. 9) reports on the leading Christian Zionist website “Jerusalem Newswire” which in an editorial “linked the damage of Hurricane Katrina to American policies encouraging the expulsion from Jews from Gaza, Judea and Samaria.” Yated Ne’eman quotes the editor of the site “the hurricane is the lifting of God’s hand of protection…on the nation most responsible for endangering the land and the people of Israel.”


The festivities for the “Feast of Tabernacles” organised by the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem (ICEJ) appeared three times in various editions of the Jerusalem Post, including two photographs of the events titled “standing ovation” and “show of support” (Oct. 19, 21, 24). The “highlight” of the weeklong event is noted to be “the march through Jerusalem.”  One Christian tourist who participated in the march was quoted “Israel is important to Christians, that’s why I’m marching, to show support for Israel.” One Jewish bystander felt “they should be more sensitive to the effect that their presence may have on Jews who have not forgotten the violent history between Jews and Christians.” Another bystander expressed “pleasant surprise that none of the Christians tried to convert him to Christianity.”


The Jerusalem Post, Iton Yerushalayim and HaAretz all cover the “move by the ICEJ to counter the Presbyterian Church’s divestment of it’s many Israeli investments” (Oct. 21). It is noted that “as part of a campaign” the ICEJ has “partnered with the International Christian Chamber of Commerce” in order to “broaden the options for outsourcing work to Israel.” At a news conference held by the ICEJ, “as part of their celebrations of the Feast of Tabernacles” executive director, Malcolm Hedding, says “with a worldwide constituency we are in a position to make a difference against worldwide divestment.” The Jerusalem Post comments, “the ICEJ is reluctant to provide figures (of the divestments) by evangelicals worldwide… but it has been estimated at $6 billion.”


Anti-Missionary Attitudes

Sha’a Tova (???) 2005; Yom L’Yom Oct. 6, 2005


According to the Shas magazine Yom L’Yom (Oct. 6) Yad L’Achim claims “‘the mission’ has increased its efforts among the Gush Katif evacuees in the south of Israel.” The article says “the missionaries get to those who are in the most difficult financial situation, offering them help if they join in their workshops and lessons.” An “announcement” made by the religious “HaMate HaMeshutaf” during the High Holy days declared; “there are all kinds of Christian organisations who have begun to offer aid to these people, the Halacha warns us against receiving financial and social favours from them, even though they are seemingly working to help the needy.” The article also associates the disengagement with the need for the Jewish population to express “Tikun” (amendment of behaviour and restitution) on an individual and collective level. “One of the most immediate priorities of Tikun is the necessity to prevent Christian organisations from penetrating into all aspects of our lives, we will refuse every offer of help whether it be money or anything else.” It also says “likewise it is imperative to investigate every offer of help from unknown sources and organisations of ‘Jewish-Christian friendship.’”


In an article about economic hardship and aid that people receive from religious charitable organisations, Sha’a Tova (???) conducts an interview with a woman who claims “terror victims are gnawed at by missionaries and then, as a result, convert to Christianity.” The article claims “information from Yad L’Achim is provided to organisations regarding families who are being exploited.”  “Liora,” a worker with one of these religious organisations says “after we have received the information from Yad L’Achim, I come into the picture by trying to help in whatever way I possibly can, so that they won’t need the favours from the different missionary organisations that exploit their hardships.”


Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

Jerusalem Report Oct. 3, 2005; HaMekomon Yerushalayim Oct. 10, 2005; At Oct 26, 2005; Eretz V’Teva October 2005;


A column in the weekend HaMekomon Yerushalayim (Oct. 10) features the “Ecce Homo” arch and the adjacent Sisters of Zion convent in the capitol. The article says that the arch itself is “traditionally known as the place where Pilate presented ‘Yeshu’ before the Jews” and “the adjacent convent was established by the converted Jew, Alfons Ratisbon, from Strasbourg.” The article says, “later a French archaeologist arrived at the conclusion that the floor is part of the Antonia fortress, and it contains the place where ‘Yeshu’ stood to be tried.”  The author says, the different marks etched on the floor “were once thought to be traces of Roman games, one of which was ‘the game of the kings.’” He describes the floor as “having a picture of a crown with a Greek initial for the word ‘royal,’” which was thought to be “an indication that the Roman soldiers mocked ‘Yeshu,’ by giving him the nickname ‘King of the Jews.’” The feature notes that the site was “later recognised as being from the days of Hadrian, 100 years later than the trial of ‘Yeshu.’”


In the woman’s magazine At (Oct. 26) a short paragraph describes the Mount of Beatitudes as being the place where “according to Christian tradition, ‘Yeshu’ delivered His Sermon on the Mount, in which 8 verses all begin with the word ‘blessed.’”


A feature in Eretz V’Teva (October) covers the history of the Latin quarter of Nazareth. Nazareth is depicted as being “important” because “in Christian tradition it was here that the Angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would give birth to a son” and “it was in Nazareth that ‘Yeshu’ spent His youth.” The article also features the Church of the Lord’s Table, which “according to Christian tradition, marks the location where ‘Yeshu’ ate with His disciples after He arose from the world of the dead.”


Stuart Miller, professor of Hebraic, history and Judaic studies reviews “Border Lines, The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity”, by Daniel Boyarin (The Jerusalem Report Oct. 3). Boyarin’s book examines the separation of Judaism and Christianity “which took place over the centuries and led to the eventual disappearance of Jewish forms of Christianity.” Miller says, “Christian and Jewish scholars have long recognised the ‘Jewishness’ of the original followers of Jesus…Jewish scholars readily admit (even if Jews do not) that Jesus’ home was within rabbinic Judaism.” Boyarin, the author of the book, contends “until the 4th century ‘Judaism’ was no more than an ethnic culture with historical ties to the land,” and that “until the ‘Christianization’ of the Roman Empire, Jews and Jewish-Christians were largely indistinguishable, sharing a common Biblical tradition and observances.”


In order to “demonstrate the similarities” Boyarin points out that first century Judaism “perceived divine power as wisdom or ‘the Word,’ so when the Gospel of John opens… it is drawing on a thoroughly Jewish concept to allude to the divine nature of Jesus.” According to Miller, Boyarin rests his thesis on the “notion that ‘the parting of the ways’ did not happen in the first century but came about by a process of self-definition after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.”


Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

Jerusalem Report Oct. 17, 2005; Ma’ariv Oct. 27, 2005; HaAretz Oct. 24, 2005


A feature in the Jerusalem Report (Oct. 17) recounts the author’s visit to the Mount of Olives and his encounter with various communities living there. The Mount of Olives is noted to be “one of the places where Jesus delivered His ministry to mankind, reflected by the many (Christian) institutions on the hill… and the desire by millions of Christians to pay homage to the site.” The author also says “over the years it has been the hope and goal of many Christians to live on the hill.” The author describes his meeting with Richard Reich “an evangelical Christian who has been coming to Jerusalem for some years.” Reich is noted to be “a very public Christian” who “throws himself into good works for the poorer communities of Jerusalem” in order to “bring the Lord’s work to this poor area of the holy city.”


Ma’ariv (Oct. 27) has an article about Friar Oleg who “emigrated from Russia 8 years ago, and received funding from the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission to renovate the St. Chariton’s monastery at Wadi Kelt, near Jericho. Oleg is described as “tall, handsome and with blue eyes.” Ma’ariv says “he has changed the monastery into his home and into his house of prayer.” The article says that Oleg “spends his time praying, working, and in solitude, he concludes his day with a meal and with reading and a prayer.”


HaAretz writes about Emmaus and the residential “Community of Beatitudes” (Oct. 24) nearby Latrun. The article opens with an account of the appearance of Jesus to His disciples on the Road to Emmaus. Jesus is consistently referred to as “Yeshua” and not “Yeshu.” Catholic monks are noted as “living according to the Christian principles of the early Church but combining elements of Judasim in their prayers.” The reporter quotes one of the monks, Franz, “Israel is important to the church because here are the deep roots of our faith, Israel does not only symbolise our past and present but also points to the future.”


Jewish-Christian relations

The Jewish Press October 2005; HaAretz English & Hebrew Editions Oct. 10, 27, 28, 2005;

Jerusalem Post Oct. 20, 26, 28, 2005


Both the Jerusalem Post and the Hebrew and English editions of HaAretz devoted much coverage, theological analysis and opinions marking 40 years since the 1965 Nostra Aetate, document which “revolutionised the Catholic Church’s relations with the Jewish people” (HaAretz Oct. 26). During the anniversary celebration, David Rosen from the American Jewish Committee told the Jerusalem Post “the Catholic Church should categorically reject any attempt to convert Jews” he also says “many Catholics continue to express a hope for conversion.” The article offers the opinion that “Catholic theologians who hope for the conversion of Jews believe that although Jews are not condemned by God they are not in His favour.” HaAretz (Oct. 28) observes that although the Nostra Aetate is “one of the most dramatic ideological revolutions in history” nevertheless “there is still a long way to go until the effect of this amazing turnaround in the approach of the Catholic Church toward Judaism and Israel reaches every individual and every parish in the Church.”