January 31 – 2006

 During the period of time covered by this review, we received 151 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


4 dealt with Anti-Missionary Attitudes

12 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

7 dealt with Jewish-Christian Relations 

8 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

9 dealt with Book/Film/Exhibition reviews

8 dealt with Christian Tourism

5 dealt with Christian Support of Israel

3 dealt with Messianic Jews

4 dealt with Anti Semitism

10 dealt with Christian Sites/Archaeology



The remaining 81 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.



Anti-Missionary Attitudes

HaModia Jan. 27, 2006; Kol Bo Haifa Ve HaSviva Jan. 13, 2006; Kol HaNegev Jan. 13, 2006


The religious magazine HaModia (Jan. 27) announces in it’s headline; “mission survivors get up and declare: we put on phylacteries every day.” The article says “at the Yad L’Achim branch in Netanya this week, there have been some thrilling events.” The report focuses on a synagogue comprised “mostly of Russian immigrants” who had a ceremony to bless a new Torah scroll. It says “more than a few of these immigrants were once active in the mission.”


Kol Bo – Haifa Ve HaSviva (Jan. 13) has a small article about “a private residence on 47a HaGefen Street, Haifa, that wasn’t always a residential dwelling.” The article gives the history of the premises explaining how the premises was funded over ninety-five years ago. It says “Mr. Joseph, a converted Jew, who belonged to the Anglican mission, agreed to finance the property on the condition that it would have no religious symbols inside.”


A report in Kol HaNegev (Jan. 13) says, “The struggle against missionary activity has a new face.” The paper reports that “scathing notices” have been put up in Be’er Sheva with “insults written about a person in light of his missionary activity.” The notices call on the public to “excommunicate the person and stay away from him.” The man, who according to the report is 35, belongs to “the cult of believers in the Scriptures (Kat HaMaminim BeMikra). The report says that the police say, “the matter is under investigation and as of yet, no arrests have been made.” 



Messianic Jews

Yated Ne’eman Dec. 2, 2005; HaModia Jan.  18, 2006; BaKehila Jan. 19, 2006


The Orthodox magazine Yated Ne’eman (Dec. 2) has a massive ten-page feature about moshav Yad HaShmona. It is described as “one of the biggest logistical centres in Israel where the Messianic Jewish cult hold their activities.” The article contends, “It is shocking that the place has kosher-Rabbinical certification, as there is missionary activity taking place there on the moshav.” The article also says, “summer camps and activities for children are held there yet the parents do not even know that their children are going to hear about ‘That Man, may His name and teachings be erased from our memory.’” Other “victims” are said to be soldiers. The article continues, “last year after hosting a seminar about May His Name Be Erased From Our Memory (editors note: Yeshu, a well known name for Yeshua is actually an acronym that means, may his name and memory be blotted out forever.) – soldiers were taken to the Sea of Galilee for baptism into Christianity.” There are eight photographs, including a photo of the advertisement of the “protocol meeting” of the Messianic Jewish Alliance in Israel. The subtitle under the photo read; “the protocol of the Messianics, where Gershon Nerel is the moshav secretary.” The article claims “two overseers have been fired, one was fired when a Yad HaShmona worker threatened him not tell the Rabbinate about kosher discrepancies (found at Yad HaShmona).”  It is stated “Yad HaShmona hosts the UCCI, an organisation that sponsors all missionary activity in Israel.” A photo of the kosher certificate is also “ironically” supplied.


Both HaModia (Jan. 18) and BaKehila (Jan. 19) have exactly the same article about a “missionary seminar that was cancelled in Mitzpeh Ramon.” The articles say that the seminar was “a joint effort by a missionary group from Finland in cooperation with the ‘Messianic Jews’ from the Be’er Sheva congregation ‘Nachalat Yeshua.’” The article says that Yad L’Achim received a promotional flier which said “the seminar is open to all those who seek healing from G-d (Elokim) in broken and hurt areas of their lives,” and that “healing comes when you look upon the wounds of ‘That Man,’” According to the report Yad L’Achim approached the school and explained “why they must not host the missionary group.” In conclusion, the article says “it is the first time that missionary activity has taken place in such a venue.”



Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

Emtza Hadera Jan. 13, 2006; Yediot Ahronot, Jan. 27, 2006;The Jewish Press January, 2006; HaAretz Hebrew and English Editions Jan. 15, 2005; Jerusalem Post Jan. 29, 2006


In a biography of architect Claude Grundman Brightman, (Emtza Hadera Jan. 13) the French-Israeli speaks about her childhood explaining that she did not know she was Jewish until “she went to take communion, in church.”  The article continues, “my parents at that point informed me that I was Jewish, and I couldn’t participate in it because it is a ceremony that initiates people into Christianity.” Brightman, who designed the Itzhak Rabin memorial in Tel Aviv says “As I child, I studied Christianity at the priest’s home… I loved to be in church, I loved the music, the liturgy” and “Christianity gave me some wonderful values.”


A five-page feature in Yediot Ahronot (Jan. 27) reports about Olga, a Jewish girl who at twenty-one years of age “joined a Russian artistic community, underwent a sex-change and now lives as a Christian skinhead who paints saints from the New Testament.”


In an opinion piece in the Jewish Press (January 2006) author Levi Sokolic debates whether “an alliance with conservative Christians in the USA is desirable or wise.” Sokolic explains, “Because conservative Christians are our allies in the struggle for the land of Israel…whether they want to convert us or not is irrelevant.” He notes “secular liberalists are the greater threat” and “if we accept their (conservative Christians) help in one sphere, it doesn’t mean that we cannot oppose them… in other areas.” 


HaAretz Hebrew and English Editions (Jan. 15) claim to have “obtained the testimony of former USA intelligence officer William Gowen.” According to the paper, this testimony contains “vital evidence… historical and political explosives that link Giovanni Battista Montini, who became Pope Paul VI, with the theft of Jewish property…during World War II in Yugoslavia.”


An article in the Jerusalem Post (Jan. 29) examines the “World Changers Church” of the USA that “links faith with material riches.” The article follows the tale of Troy and Cheryl Anderson who “take home only $30,000 per year.” They are noted to “live in the Bronx and struggle financially.” When they “tried to apply” Rev. Creflo A. Dollar Jr.’s teachings on tithing, “they soon found they had no money and the children were sick.” The couple were given groceries by a “concerned neighbour.” The Andersons attributed this aid to God’s provision. According to the Jerusalem Post “Mr. Dollar owns private jets, Rolls Royces and a $2.5M home in a Manhattan apartment building, which serve as proof to his followers of the validity of his teachings.” Timothy C. Morgan, deputy managing editor of Christianity Today is quoted; “It (the Prosperity Gospel) is a blight on the face of Christianity.”



Jewish-Christian Relations

Jerusalem Post Jan. 17, 22, 2006; Ma’ariv Jan. 22, 2006


Both the Jerusalem Post (Jan. 22) and Ma’ariv (Jan. 22) contain short articles about the appointment of the Pope’s new envoy to Israel. According to an earlier edition of the Jerusalem Post (Jan. 17), the Pope “expressed pain and worry over fresh outbreaks of anti-Semitism” when he met with the chief Rabbi in the Vatican city.” Both Ma’ariv and the Jerusalem Post note “Pope Benedict’s efforts to pursue improvement in Jewish-Christian relations.”



Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

Makor Rishon Jan. 13, 20, 2006; HaTzofeh Jan. 15, 2006; HaAretz Jan. 13, 2006; Ma’ariv Jan. 27, 2006


Two opinions in Makor Rishon (Jan. 13, 20) respond to an article entitled “That Man” which appeared in the same paper the previous month. Both refute the claims made in the earlier article that “leaned on Yeshu being harmless,” saying, regarding the divinity of Jesus, “the article did not take into consideration any of the claims of Paul.” One of the authors offers the opinion “it was those who believed in His divinity who have been responsible for persecuting Jews” and not “Yeshu Himself.” The other article says that “even if we view Yeshu as a good guy who went too far, he was no less deluded, weak and mistaken, and probably all three.”


In a short piece of trivia, the religious paper HaTzofeh (Jan. 15) explains the etymology of the English idiom “to cross one’s fingers.” Although the meaning is considered to  “express support” for someone, HaTzofeh says “that is nonsense if one understands the source.” The paper says, “’cross’ is derived from making the sign of a cross with the fingers, and means ‘I am praying to That Man.’”


HaAretz (Jan. 13) reports “on a new initiative” in the Vatican, who “intend to ‘do up’ Judas Iscariot’s image.” HaAretz notes “Judas’ name has become synonymous with ‘traitor.’” “By kissing Jesus”, HaAretz says, “the Roman soldiers knew who to arrest.” According to the article the campaign is lead by Monsignor Walter Brandmuller, head of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Science, and is aimed at “persuading believers to look kindly at a man despised for 2,000 years.” HaAretz also says, “the move to clear Judas’s name coincides with plans to publish the ‘Gospel of Judas’ in English, German and French.” This “Gospel” is said to “reveal the faith among early believers that the betrayal of Yeshu ultimately fulfilled a divine mission, …man’s salvation.”  


In a column about National Poverty Day (Ma’ariv Jan. 27), author Yonaton Gefen recalls a picture postcard above his bed that he “picked up from some church in New York.” Gefen says, “The card shows Yeshu in the crucified suffering position, which seems to be his favourite posture.” Gefen says “under the picture are the words ‘how can you worship someone on Sunday and ignore Him on Monday.’” The article claims “Yeshu and many verses in the New Testament praise poverty.” He concludes by suggesting that only a homeless and hungry person knows there is no satisfaction in being poor.”



Book/Film/Exhibition Reviews

HaTzofeh. Jan. 20, 2006; The Jerusalem Post Jan. 23, 2006; HaAretz Jan. 27, 2006


HaNotzrim HeHadashim BePortugal Be Me’ah HaEsrim – The New Christians of Portugal in the Twentieth Century – Shmuel Shwartz, Mercaz Zelman Shazar

The religious HaTzofeh (Jan. 20) extensively reviews this new book, which “describes the struggles of the Marranos” in Portugal during and since the inquisition, and “their inability to assimilate.” HaTzofeh says “the book is a historical document and includes all their original prayers for Shabbat and the other holy days.”


“Christ the Lord; Out of Egypt,” Anne Rice, Alfred A. Knopf

The Jerusalem Post (Jan. 23) reviews Catholic Anne Rice’s new novel and gives a little background to her life. The book is “the story of Jesus as a seven-year-old boy with super powers.” According to the review “Rice corrects some age-old Christian misconceptions about Jesus and the Jews while reinforcing others.” Crucifixion “which took place on a massive scale is depicted as gruesome” and Rice’s book “leaves no doubt that it was a punishment not devised expressly for Jesus.” The review says, “Rice reiterates one of Christianity’s most damaging views of Judaism…the idea that the New Testament supersedes the Old.” Author Henry Blume concludes, “in Jesus, Rice has picked an extremely interesting kid to work with.”


HaAretz (Jan. 27) reviews an art exhibition in the London art gallery the White Cube. Titled “Pictures of the Son of God; was Yeshu an heterosexual?” the exhibition is described as a “mix of ancient and modern, doom and colour” that “contains Christian aesthetics.”



Different Matters of Jewish or Christian Interest

HaModia Jan. 13, 2006; Yediot Ahronot Jan. 17, 2006


HaModia (Jan 13) has an article explaining the nature and style of the Apocrypha and “how it has been preserved until today.” The article says, “some of the books were written by God-fearing Jews, in Aramaic, with the intent of differentiating between those and the Hebrew Tanach.” The article explains that because the sages forbade the extensive study of the Apocrypha, “many original Hebrew texts were lost.” It also says that “Christianity adopted them” and “now they are captives in the hands of the Church and have become a Christian inheritance.” 


An article in Yediot Ahronot (Jan. 17) compares a new expensive brand of Levi jeans with “the very successful” Swedish jeans that use a “skull’s head and upside-down cross as a logo.” Although the producers of the jeans say “it’s only a gimmick” Yediot Ahronot quotes logo designer Bjorn Altdaks, “behind the logo is a much deeper message, a declaration against Christianity.” although I am not a member of a satanic cult.”


With 06/06/06 not too far away, Yediot Ahronot (Jan. 17) has an article about the significance of that particular date. The article says “the date is very popular for Jewish weddings” although “in Christian thinking the number is the number of Satan.”  



Christian Sites/Archaeology

Ma’ariv Jan. 25, 2006; HaTzofeh Jan. 25, 2006; Eretz VaTeva Jan. 2006; Arei Modi’in Jan. 13, 2006


Three papers report on the Israeli Antiquities Association (IAA) recommendation to “move Megiddo jail to another location following the discovery of the oldest Church in the world” (Ma’ariv Jan. 25, HaTzofeh Jan. 25, Eretz VaTeva January 2006). The papers say, “The comments were made when President Katzav recently visited the jail.” The mosaic discovered at the church is described, “to be a rare and important find in the understanding of early Christianity.”


Arei Modi’in (Jan. 13) reports about “two astonished residents” who live in a block of flats in Shoam, and “had a knock at the door from the IAA explaining that there was an ancient remains of a Byzantine church and a grave buried under their block.” The article says that some of the remains have been uncovered but the site is not open to visitors.”



Christian Support of Israel
Ma’ariv Jan. 15, 2006
A short article in Ma’ariv (Jan. 15) reports about a “new phenomenon” namely “Christian tourists who have come especially to Israel to pray for Ariel Sharon.”