November 12 – 2005

Caspari Center Media Review… November 2005 # 2

During the period of time covered by this review, we received 72 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


   5 dealt with Jewish-Christian Relations

   9 dealt with Archaeology

   6 dealt with Anti-Missionary Attitudes

   4 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

   9 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

   4 dealt with Christian Support of Israel

   3 dealt with Book Review

   1 dealt with Messianic Jews


The remaining 31 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.


Messianic Jews

Yated Ne’eman Oct. 17, 2005


Yated Ne’eman reports on the low numbers of people attending a “Stand up for Judaism” weekend that was scheduled “ahead of the Jews for ‘J’ (Jesus) Montreal launch of its ‘conversion’ campaign.” According to the short article, Jews for Judaism director Rabbi Michael Skobac says that the Jews for Judaism group “are staying in town for the duration of the campaign.”


 Christian Support of Israel

Ma’ariv Nov. 1, 2005; HaKibbutz (???);


The sports section of the tabloid Ma’ariv (Nov. 1) reports on the visit of former basketball player Billy Thompson to Jerusalem. Thompson is described as “probably the greatest foreign player ever to have played for Hapo’el Yerushalayim” and is noted, “today he serves as ‘priest’ of the People Proclaim congregation in Florida” and as “‘chaplain’ to the Miami Heat team from the NBA.” The paper says that Thompson “was supposed to arrive in Israel with a group from his church…to organise a conference that would take place in the Malcha hall (Jerusalem)” which would “express Christian support for Israel,” however “he will come only with his wife and the group visit is postponed.”


A feature in HaKibbutz (???) commemorates the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Itzhak Rabin by tracking the various people who visited the Rabin memorial on that day. The reporter recounts a story of an Israeli tour guide retelling the events of the assassination to a “group of pilgrims” from Georgia, USA. The guide was “interrupted by a pilgrim” who “didn’t how a religious man could murder.” The article says that the guide responds, “I don’t know how it is for you Americans, but here there is no proof that religion makes you a better person.” The article continues by reporting a subsequent dialogue that took place between the columnist and one of the pilgrims from “The Lord is My Shepherd Fellowship.” A man by the name of Desmond is quoted as saying, “Our church believes that Rabin was assassinated because he wanted to give back territory that is Israel’s Biblical heritage.” The columnist debates with him contesting that “Rabin fought for this land and even though he may have made mistakes, he deserves respect.” However Desmond responds, “that’s your business, but from our point of view Bibi Netanyahu is your man and tonight we will have the honour of meeting him.”


Anti-Missionary Attitudes

HaAretz Nov. 6, 10, 2005; HaModia Nov. 4, 2005


In an opinion piece, commenting on the “corruption in Israeli society” columnist Itzhak Mattitiyahu Tennenbaum suggests that Israelis should be “more scared of political sleaze than of Hamas, and more scared of corruption than of anti Semitism” (HaModia Nov. 4). He cites many examples of various “political corruption” and “reminds” his readership “tens of MK’s travel abroad to be hosted (by Christians) and they take them expensive presents.” He further says, “These trips are sponsored by a known missionary sect.” Concerning corruption he asks rhetorically; “Is it any wonder that this sect has received support despite the terrible dangers they present of converting Jews to Christianity?”


According to Abe Foxman, the American national director of the Anti-Defamation League, “institutionalised Christianity in the USA is a threat to tolerance” (HaAretz Nov. 6, 10). Foxman claims, “institutionalised Christianity has become extreme and aggressive and is undermining the principal of separation of religion from state.” In an opinion given a few days later in the same paper, (Nov. 10), Shmuel Rosner endeavours to pinpoint “what is disturbing Foxman?” He cites such possibilities as “the Salvation Army enjoying public funding although even the cleaners have to accept the Good news of ‘Yeshu,’” and that “the first word in ‘Judaeo-Christian’ has disappeared.” Rosner says that “the moment the walls between state and religion are cracking then it is worth checking out through the crack what is happening.” He notes “Orthodox Jews appreciate the unwavering Christian support of Israel but it could be that through this relationship, the stability and security of Jewish society is endangered.”  He agrees with Foxman and concludes, “We need to discover where the red line is in our friendship with Christian supporters of Israel.”



Yediot Ahronot Nov. 6, 2005; HaTzofeh Nov. 6, 7, 2005; HaAretz Nov. 6, 7, 9, 2005; Ma’ariv Nov. 6, 7, 2005


Many papers report on the discovery of “probably the oldest church in the world” uncovered and excavated by prisoners at Megiddo jail. The papers say, “The Israeli Antiquities Authority believes that the ruins may date back to the third or fourth centuries.” The articles also say, “the inscriptions and mosaics include references to ‘Yeshu’ and images of a fish, an ancient Christian symbol.” Ma’ariv (Nov. 7) notes that Megiddo “is very important to the Christian world, because it is here, according to Christian thinking, that the Battle of Armageddon will take place and Christianity will defeat all other religions and from there will reign a government of righteousness.” It is also speculated that Israel may consider “moving the prison and opening a tourist attraction in its place.”  HaAretz (Nov. 9) says that President Katsav “is due to report to the Pope about the rare finds.”



Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

Yediot Ahronot Oct. 30, 2005; HaAretz Nov. 4, 2005; HaTzofeh Nov. 4, 2005; Ma’ariv Nov. 10, 2005;


In an article in Yediot Ahronot (Oct. 30) about internal violence in the Israel Defence Forces, one soldier charged with assaulting an officer claims “He gave me a black eye. We’re not Christians you know, when they hit us we don’t turn the other cheek, we hit them back.”


In a column in HaAretz (Nov. 4) the author details his experiences of a visit to a church built in the Middle Ages in a small southern French village. The author’s attention “was drawn to the visitor’s book” because “it contained ‘hesitant’ hand writing.” He says “among the comments in the visitor’s book were; ‘God save my sister, she is very sick and I am praying for her’ ‘save my friend who has gravely sinned’ ‘ deliver me from drink which has destroyed me and all my family.’” The author visited other Christian places and “retraced a Christian pilgrimage of the Middle Ages.” He says, “even though a month has passed since the trip “he still thinks of the Christian pilgrims.”


The religious paper HaTzofeh (Nov. 4) gives an analysis as to the “running and wealth” of the Catholic Church. It is noted that the Church “exists for 2000 years” and “divided into a number of denominations, the largest of which is the Catholic denomination.” The article compares the division of the church into denominations with the “hierarchy of the Catholic Church” and states, “at the top is the Pope.” HaTzofeh notes that the Catholic Church has its own state, the Vatican, “which is small, rich and not accountable to any other country in the world.” The article points out that “an ‘interesting point’ is the amount of property the Vatican owns in Israel.” HaTzofeh says that this property belongs to the Catholic Church “because for them, Israel is the Holy Land and that under an agreement signed in 1993 Israel committed herself not to undermine the status of these places.”


In an article titled “The Bible Beats Darwin” Ma’ariv (Nov. 10) reports on the “historical decision” of Kansas City’s Educational Committee to “include a warning” for those learning evolution and “declaring the ‘creation theory’ a ‘scientific theory.’” The author says “from now on, the corn and wheat state will learn that man was made in the image of God and woman is a sort of sophisticated kidney growth with a huge appetite for apples.” He also says that “whoever endangers himself by asking how the species have become more complex over millions of years, will be answered, evolution is simply a theory just as creation is a theory.” The author concludes by reminding the readership that when George Bush was asked if he believed in evolution, he answered, “I don’t know, the experts haven’t yet decided.”


An opinion piece in Ma’ariv (Nov. 10) examines “why sexual relations between young people in Israel start at approximately age 17, yet in the USA the starting age is getting later and later.” The author says he “had to find out” so he “approached some American ‘Ayatollahs’ in an attempt to discover the reason for this ‘great waste (of opportunity).’” The author details that the US Federal government has “invested $167 million in a very different kind of project, called the ‘Silver Ring.’” The project is described as being “led by various Christian ministers and is intended to persuade youth to preserve their virginity until marriage.” The article says “the program encourages the youth by giving them a certificate which states that ‘they will not engage in sexual relations until marriage.’” The author says this declaration is “stupid and dark” and “the programme really exists in save government money and cut down on the millions spent annually in treating STD’s and unwanted pregnancies. The report claims that the programme received the blessing of the “chief of all Ayatollahs, George Bush.” At the end of the article the author questions if the Silver Ring programme would ever work in Israel. He concludes, “no way” because “no secular man with any ‘guts’ (betzim), would, in the name of progression, give up sleeping with a seventeen year old girl.”


 Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

Ma’ariv Nov. 7, 10 2005; Tzafon Nov. 11, 2005; HaAretz Nov. 11, 2005


Ma’ariv (Nov. 7) runs a feature on the Israeli conductor of the Camari orchestra, Oud Yoffe. Once he “wanted to be like Jimmy Hendricks and now through choral music, requiems and oratorios he tells about the life and death of ‘Yeshu.’” Yoffee says that he was “first touched by religious choral music in Germany,” claiming “it was amazing. From that moment I decided that this is what I wanted to do.” He says “people are amazed at the refreshing way that I present ‘Yeshu’s’ life and death because I do it with layers from the ‘Old Testament.’” He also says, “it’s true that the Jews crucified ‘Yeshu’, but ‘Yeshu’ because of the sacrifice and suffering given by ‘Yeshu’ it doesn’t have to result in anti-Semitism.” He also says  “‘Yeshu’ was a symbol crowned with energy and who came down to earth and went back to heaven. That’s all.”


Tzafon (Nov. 5) covers the life story of Israeli theatrical actor Zak Kanno. Kanno tells of how, when abroad, he “met a Christian family who became like my parents.” He also says that he “took Christianity upon himself and they even baptised me. I was a Christian in everything I did, today I do not believe in anything.”


The English National Theatre is performing a new play “about the life of Saul of Tarsus, a Jewish leader, and a daring officer who engaged in getting rid of extreme Christians” reports HaAretz (Nov. 6). Concerning Saul, the article says “‘After His death on the cross and His resurrection, ‘Yeshua’ revealed Himself to Saul, who as result, ‘changed his spots’ and became Paul, becoming one of the most zealous propagators of Christianity, who later was himself crucified for his faith by the Romans.” The article notes “according to the new play by Howard Brenton, ‘Yeshua’ did not rise from the dead because He was not crucified in the first place, but instead was held in a hiding place by His brother Jacob and by Peter.”


Book Reviews

Jerusalem Post Nov. 4, 2005


The Jerusalem Post (Nov. 4) reviews “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope” by Rabbi David G. Dalin. The book “attempts to set the record straight following the publication of John Cornwell’s ‘Hitler’s Pope.’” According to the author, Rabbi Dalin “seeks to show that the portrayal of Pope Pius XII as a Nazi sympathiser and anti-Semite is at best grotesque and at worse deliberately false.” The Post says that Dalin begins “by giving a historical survey of the papacy’s attitude towards Jews” and argues, “throughout the ages the popes have been philo-Semites.” Dalin also contends, “Pius’s critics have deliberately deflected blame from such pro-Nazi Islamic fundamentalists onto Pius XII.” The author of the review concludes that “because of the author’s scholarly research, it is hoped that history in the long term will be kinder to the reputation of a man maligned.”