February 28 – 2006

During the period of time covered by this review, we received 69 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


7 dealt with Anti-Missionary Attitudes

8 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

13 dealt with Jewish-Christian Relations 

5 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

4 were  Book/Film/Exhibition reviews

2 dealt with Christian Tourism

4 dealt with Christian Support of Israel

1 dealt with Messianic Jews


The remaining 25 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.



Anti-Missionary Attitudes

Pnai Plus Feb. 15, 2006; Yated Ne’eman Feb. 24, 2006; HaAretz Hebrew & English edition Feb. 27, 2006


In a short opinion piece in Pnai Plus (Feb. 15) writer Gitit Wisblum critiques the Israeli TV programme “who wants to be a Jew? She contends that among the people who find such a programme funny are “leaders of the mission” because “after each programme more and more people abandon Judaism.”


Both the Hebrew and English editions of HaAretz (Feb. 27) run a news story about Ukrainian-Israeli Sergei Doljenko, who “bought a certificate of Christianity from the Russian Orthodox church” in order to “receive medical treatment” which included “splashing holy water on him.” The article says, “the hocus-pocus did not work” and “now, as a result he may be deported.” Dlojenko’s lawyer Rami Krupnick contends “his client is being discriminated against as thousands of Falashmura, whose ancestors converted to Christianity, are moving to Israel.” The High Courts ruling, “any Jew can live here unless they have converted to Christianity” is cited by Krupnick as “directed at those who consciously choose another faith” and is not intended “to trip up an innocent person who did not understand his actions.” He also says, “if the Falashmura can go around with a cross tattooed on their foreheads… then this man must certainly be here.” 


Yated Ne’eman (Feb. 24) runs a narrative about the establishment of Jewish orphanages and how they “fought against the mission.” According to the article “missionaries tried to establish orphanages in Jerusalem which were boycotted by the city leaders,” and therefore “they succeeded in only absorbing fourteen orphans.” 



Messianic Jews

Sha’a Tova Feb. 10, 2006


The religious Sha’a Tova (Feb.10) reports on the actions of Yad L’Achim who “wrote to the Ramat HaNegev regional council in order to prevent the assimilation of four Messianic Jews into the Negev communities and carry out mission work there.” The article says, “Ayal Hirshfeld, Avishai Pinchas, and Oren Shalom live with their families in Moshav Azuz, Kadesh Barnea and Kamchin (respectively), but if that wasn’t enough, another Messianic Jew, Golan Gilboa also wants to move there.” The report claims that Yad L’Achim “have inside concrete information that Golan intends to meet with the others soon to discuss his plans to move there.” The article says, “in order to bring this matter to the attention of those responsible for the Negev settlements” Yad L’Achim wrote “quoting the well-known verdict of the High Court concerning Messianic Jews… that Judaism has spat them out and they will not be part of the Israeli public.” The letter “also quotes the objectives of Messianic Non-Profit Organisations, which is to spread the Messianic faith in obedience to the commandments in the Tanach (First Testament) and the New Testament.” The article also reports about a “messianic group” who want to purchase land in the area. Yad L’Achim has “responded by requesting an urgent meeting with the Israeli Land Administration (ILA).” According to the report the ILA “intend through every legal means to distance these families from the area.”  


Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

Yediot Ahronot Feb.14, 22, 2006; Ha’Ir Tel Aviv Feb. 14, 2006; Achbar Ha’Ir Feb. 15, 2006


In an opinion in Yediot Ahronot (Feb. 22) author Aviad Kleinberg writes about non-Christian (mainly Islamic) attitudes to Christianity in the west in light of the Mohammed cartoons episode. In Kleinberg’s opinion “one of the biggest mistakes is the tendency of foreigners to attribute weakness and passivity to the Christian religion.” Mr. Kleinberg says, “History teaches us that this culture and her crucified God, who turns the other cheek, is capable of extending restrained violence when under threat.” 


Three papers contain short articles about Saint Valentine, Ha’Ir Tel Aviv (Feb. 14) Achbar Ha’Ir (Feb. 15) Yediot Ahronot (Feb. 14). All give a brief history of the origins of the day and Ha’Ir Tel Aviv notes “the Catholic church recognises at least three Saint Valentine, all with different stories and traditions.” One Valentine is noted to have “married young men in secret against Claudius II wishes,” another “helped Christians escape from jail” and the third is noted to have been the first person to “send a Valentine’s card.” 


Jewish-Christian Relations

HaAretz English & Hebrew Editions Feb. 17, 27, 2006; Jerusalem Post Feb. 14, 19, 21, 22, 26, 28, 2006; HaModia Feb. 27, 2006


Thirteen articles of news, opinions and letters to the editor are published mainly in the Jerusalem Post and HaAretz concerning the Church of England’s decision to divest from companies who do business with Israel. Many comment on the publication of an article written by Sir Jonathon Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain. Dr. Sacks wrote, “after 350 years the Jewish community in Britain still feels at risk” and “these fears are not ungrounded,” (Jerusalem Post Feb. 19, 26, HaModia Feb. 27). In an opinion in the Jerusalem Post (Feb. 22) columnist Emanuele Ottolenghi claims, “In England the cartoon jihad was not all the rage as there was plenty of time to smear Israel.” He state that the Church of England’s vote to divest from Israel “proves – if any further proof was needed – that the Anglican Church has morphed into the liberal democrats’ party conference assembled into prayer.”  A letter to the editor in the Jerusalem Post (Feb. 14) calls the Church of England’s leaders as “not only biased but spineless.”


Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

Israeli News Feb. 12, 2006; Derech HaOsher Feb. 1, 2006


Israel News (Feb. 12) runs an article under the headline “Judge decides: Yeshu is not a fabrication.” The news article is about an Italian atheist who “sued a priest because he deceived people in claiming that Yeshu really existed.” According to Israel News, “although Luigi Cascioli lost the case, he is weighing up whether to bring the case before the European Court for Human Rights.” There is a picture of Jesus with a halo around his head and a picture of Cascioli holding his book “the Fable of Christ.”


Derech HaOsher (Feb. 1) has a column by the newly elected Arab-Israeli Greek Catholic bishop, Elias Shakur about the Mount of Beatitudes and the meaning of contentment. Jesus is consistently referred to as “Yeshua” and a list is given of the ones that Jesus considered “blessed” in His Sermon on the Mount. Father Shakur says, “The essence of Christian contentment is summed up in the Sermon on the Mount, which was given by Yeshua the Messiah on the Mount of Beatitudes.” 



Book/Film/Exhibition Reviews

HaAretz Feb. 22, 26, 2006; Tzafon 1 Feb. 10, 2006; Jerusalem Post Feb. 28;


Both HaAretz (Feb. 26) and The Jerusalem Post (Feb. 28) offer reviews of Rabbi James Rudin’s book “The Baptising of America; the Religious Right’s Plans for the Rest of Us.” Rudin is noted to have served “thirty five years as the head of the American Jewish Committee’s committee on inter-religious relations.” According to the reviews “his book likens the struggle between conservative Christians and the rest of the country to the American Civil War.” The Jerusalem Post says, “It (the struggle) will decide whether the USA remains a spiritually vigorous country without an officially established religion, or whether America will become Christianized.” HaAretz quotes several of Rudin’s thoughts concerning American Christians, saying, “they declare their love for Israel but do not respect Judaism” and “they wave a placard which on one side says ‘we love Israel’ and on the other ‘Yeshu saves.’” HaAretz says that the book “raises the issue  of ‘what will become of Jews in a Christian America?’”  


“Tzlav BaMagen David – HaOlam HaNotzri BeMediniut HaChutz Shel Israel 1948 – 1967” (“A Cross in the Star of David – The Christian World in Israeli Foreign Policy 1948 – 1967”) Uri Bialer. Yad Izthak Ben Tzvi Publishers, Ben Gurion Institute, Ben Gurion University, 286 pages. A very brief review in HaAretz (Feb. 22) gives the above information and says this is a reference book.


“Tzhok Shel Ahbarosh (A Rat’s Laugh)” An opera by the Kameri Company, Nahariya Cultural Centre, 27 February. According to the review in Tzafon-1 (Feb. 10), the opera is based on the book by Nava Semel and follows the escapades of a Jewish girl who was given to a family of Polish peasants to hide in a potato pit until the end of the Second World War. Her only companion was a rat. The girl’s identity and name “were taken away from her and she had to convert to Christianity.”  The review says “she was eventually given to a Catholic priest who intended to pay her back with his bare hands for the crucifixion of Yeshu by the Jews” but decided instead to “risk his life and hide her in his church.”


Different Matters of Jewish or Christian Interest

HaTzofeh Feb. 28, 2006; Jerusalem Post Feb. 28, 2006 


A short article in HaTzofeh (Feb. 28) reports an increase in export sales of books about the Kabbala. The article says, “There is an increase of 119% and sales are directed at both Jewish and Christian audiences.” 


Christian Support of Israel

Globes Feb. 21, 2006; HaAretz Feb. 23, 2006; HaModia Feb. 28, 2006


Two papers report on a “new umbrella group for Christian organisations in America that will lobby the government, and contend in America for Israel on issues of her political and economic policies” (HaModia Feb. 28, HaAretz Feb. 23). The umbrella organisation “Christians For Israel” is reported to “cover over 35 million evangelicals,” and “the head of the organisation is John Hagee.” One unnamed minister from North Carolina is quoted “evangelicals are of the opinion that Hurricane Katrina is as a result of the decision to move the people of God from their land,” and “I have no doubt that each time the USA opposes the Jewish people, then as a result America suffers… through disasters.”


The business daily Globes (Feb. 21) reports on the Jerusalem Post’s plans to publish an edition for the “religious Christian audience abroad.” According to Globes, the edition will be published “in cooperation with the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews.”