March 17 – 2006

During the period of time covered by this review, we received 94 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


9 dealt with Anti-Missionary Attitudes

6 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

7 dealt with Jewish-Christian Relations 

6 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

5 were Book/Film/Exhibition reviews

7 dealt with Christian Tourism

5 dealt with Christian Support of Israel

1 dealt with Messianic Jews


The remaining 49 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.



Anti-Missionary Attitudes

HaModia Mar. 3, 10, 13, 2006; HaAretz Mar. 10, 2006; Makor Rishon Mar. 3, 2006; 


Yad L’Achim places two advertisments in editions of the religious HaModia (Mar. 10, 13). They advertise their “hotline” and ask for donations claiming “we fight intensively against the mission” and “rescue those who are trapped in the hands of soul hunters.”


HaModia (Mar. 10) runs an article about Yad L’Achim’s annual fundraising day that was “held throughout the Holy Land.” HaModia says that the event “challenges the people of Israel to remember what Amalek did.” HaModia also says “Yad L’Achim’s activities against the mission this year have been very successful” and as a result “tens of mission centres and bases have been closed.” The paper says that “Yad L’Achim hopes that future annual fundraising days will succeed in enlisting more funds and resources for raising the struggle and saving souls.”    


HaAretz (Mar. 10) runs a feature about Moshe Bar Yuda, an Israeli who has “devoted much of his life” working among the Jewish community in Ethiopia. When explaining the “initial Ethiopian hesitation” towards him, Bar Yuda says “they found it hard to believe that there are actually white Jews, at first they thought it was another trick of the mission.” 


In an opinion piece that responds to a previous article in Makor Rishon (Mar. 3), author Mordechai Rotenberg expands on the meaning of the idiom “melting pot.” According to Rotenberg “the source of the Hebrew idiom is parallel to, and taken from “the American Protestant mission tendency that melts an individual’s race, background and culture on the big flame so he can be ‘born-again.’” 


“Ways to rid us of the mission virus” will be “discussed in a special committee that will be a cooperative effort between the Ministry of Education and a government committee” claims HaModia Mar. 3.  According to the paper, the decision was “approved by the Knesset, after being raised by Rabbi Ben Yakov.” The article says “the committee discussed four proposals including passing legislation that would forbid proselytising using material means.” The proposals also suggested “suing the parents who send their children to mission schools,” and “refusing to officially recognise mission schools.” They also recommended that those who are “due to convert should publish it in the newspapers.” Ben Yakov is quoted “it would be hard to explain government complacency in light of the atrocious abomination of the theft of our children and reckless parents who betray the sanctity of our people Israel by passing them onto Molech.”


Messianic Jews

HaModia Mar. 2, 2006


According to HaModia (Mar. 2) “hundreds of religious, traditional and non-religious (Jewish) people gathered in Arad to protest against the growing and spreading missionary activity in the town.” HaModia claims “in addition to the chess club that is run by missionaries in town, they have even started to distribute food in order to catch more and more Jews in their net.” The article cites the Rabbis “calling on the public to use all and every legitimate means to bring about the expulsion of the missionaries from Arad.”  HaModia says that the former Mayor of Arad, Betzalel Tabiv, gave a “particularly moving speech” when he “called upon all Israel” to “participate in the struggle against the mission.”


Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

Jerusalem Post Mar.1, 2006


“Televangelist John Hagee and Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg have persuaded Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell that Jews can get to heaven without being converted to Christianity,” says the Jerusalem Post (Mar. 1). Hagee’s “innovative belief” is explained as “counter to mainstream evangelism” and “what Christians refer to as ‘dual covenant theology.’” The paper notes “this creed maintains that Jews have a special relationship with God…and therefore do not need to go through Christ or the cross.” The Jerusalem Post reports that Hagee will serve as chairman of the new umbrella organisation “Christians United For Israel” (CUFI) which “aims to be a kind of ‘Christian AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).’” The article notes that the CUFI is an organisation whereby “every pro-Israel Christian organisation and ministry in America can speak and act with one voice in support of Israel on biblical issues.”


Christian Support of Israel

Jerusalem Post Mar.1, 2006; HaAretz Mar. 3, 2006


A one-page opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post (Mar. 9) comments on the Church of England’s divestment from Israel saying, “the Protestant mainline establishment is hostile to the very idea of a literal fulfilment of the biblical promises to Israel.” Elwood McQuaid who describes himself as a “gentile” and who the Post describes as “a leading Christian Zionist” says “they contest Israel’s future restoration as well as the promises of a millennial kingdom and a reigning Messiah.” McQuaid notes, “What is most distressing is bashing (by the Church of England)  ‘Caterpillar Inc.’ who are a responsible and legitimate heavy-equipment manufacturer.” McQuaid offers a definition of what a “Christian Zionist” is, saying, “it means to believe the Jewish people have an inherent, God-given right to possess a homeland sanctioned under international law in the land divinely given in perpetuity to the Jewish descendants of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.” The writer concludes, “There are people out there who are enemies of everything we represent and they want to see us dead.”


In a short commentary on the programmes shown on Israeli TV HaAretz (Mar. 3) critic Uri Klein reviews Nava Mizrachi’s documentary “Adura,” named after the Jewish settlement of that same name. The programme follows a group of “pro-Israel Christians who visit Yakov and Shiri Sheffi” whose “five-year old daughter was murdered by terrorists.” Klein notes, “If it wasn’t so chilling then it would have been possible to at least enjoy the satirical aspects.” He says “they visited the Sheffi’s home just like it was a tourist site, and shed tears when the father – who was just like a tour guide – spared no details and gave them all souvenirs.”  


Jewish-Christian Relations

HaModia Feb. 2, 2006;


The English edition of HaModia (Feb. 2) reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, “has written to apologise to the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Dr. Jonathon Sacks over the Israel snub.” HaModia calls the letter “carefully crafted.” John Benjamin, the chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews is quoted “we are worried the General Synod adopted the resolution without conducting a serious debate and without discussing alternatives to the boycott weapon.”



Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

Pnai Plus Mar. 2, 2006; Israeli News Feb. 28, 2006; HaMekomon Yerushalayim Feb. 22, 2006


A short column in Pnai Plus (Mar.2) reports that American film director Katherine Hardwick, “is looking for a fifteen year old (Israeli) girl to play the mother of Yeshu in a new film.” Yael Aviv, who “is helping Hardwick find the right girl” says “the movie deals with Mary, a fifteen-year old girl who is carrying in her womb the Son of God. She also needs to explain to her husband Joseph that she is pregnant before they are married.” The magazine suggests to its young female readers “forget auditioning for ‘A Star Is Born,’ audition to be Mary instead.”


Israeli News (Feb. 28) has a brief article about “The 100-Minute Bible,” which it says, “can be read in less than two hours.” The magazine comments, “it is the initiative of Englishman Reverend Michael Hinton and has already sold more than 100,000 copies.” The article says “it is divided into 66 chapters of the Old and New Testaments with an emphasis on the life of Yeshu.” Israeli News notes “the book will be sold soon in South Korea, Japan and Iceland – after it has been translated of course.”


Dr. Adam Ackerman’s column in HaMekomon Yerushalayim (Feb. 22) reviews the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. In the main exhibition “there is a collection of Second Temple sarcophagi that have been collected from various places in Jerusalem.” The article says, “many of these have Hebrew names,” and “the most notable sarcophagus is that of Caiaphas the High Priest, who is connected to the Yeshu affair.”



Book/Film/Exhibition Reviews

Ma’ariv Mar. 3, 2006; Globes Mar. 6, 2006


“Lexicon L’eNatzrut” (Lexicon of Christianity), Dr. Eitan Burstein, Itav publishers. Both Ma’ariv (Mar. 3) and Globes (Mar. 6) review this newly published book. Globes conducts a three-page interview with the author, and there are two photographs, one of Burstein and the other of Jesus on the cross. Jesus is arbitrarily referred to as either “Yeshua” or “Yeshu” throughout the article, although the review notes “Dr. Burstein has refrained from using the name ‘Yeshu’ in the lexicon.” Burstein says “the name Yeshu is at best, meaningless and (at worse) obscene language – an acronym for ‘may His name and memory be erased.’” The article says, “the absence of a cross on the cover of the lexicon is because Christianity has no holy tongue and no one particular cross.” Dr. Burstein observes, “the corporate enemy of Islam has drawn Christianity and Judaism closer together than ever before.” In endeavouring to compare the “suspicion” towards the church in the early days of the State of Israel and attitudes today, Dr. Burstein says “suspicion concerning a missionary element in the church today is less than it was years ago when a converted Jew was head of the Anglican Church in Jerusalem. This was simply exploiting (the Jewish person) in order to further missionary activity.” The article says, “in the fifties there were few converts to Christianity among the new immigrants, unlike today.” Dr. Burstein also comments on sayings that were used as colloquialisms in order to point towards social stress such as “you better get me a job or else I will go to the mission.” Dr. Burstein concludes that “Christianity has not been studied impartially in Israel” and “the illogical side is that one is required to believe some irrational stuff such as a virgin gave birth to a child and a dead man rose from the dead.” Ma’ariv says that the book is “very impressive” and “contains more than 1500 terms, concepts and ideas.”



Different Matters of Jewish or Christian Interest

Zeman HaSharon Mar. 3, 2006; HaModia Mar. 15, 2006


The Open University is to offer a new course under the heading “mysticism, philosophy and religion” (Zeman HaSharon Mar. 3). According to the paper, the university “objected to the word ‘spirituality’ being included in the course title.” The course will include “an introduction to Christian spirituality and also an introduction to Buddhism.”


Mattias Goering, a relative of the Nazi Air Force commander Herman Goering, is according to HaModia (Mar. 15) “in the process of undergoing a conversion to Judaism.” The religious journal says, “Although he has not yet formally converted, he already wears a yarmulke and keeps the Jewish festivals.” A short account is given as to how Goering “drew near” to Judaism. The paper says “following emotional difficulties and a lack of work… he prayed a prayer and ultimately found work which caused him to go to church for two years.” The article also says “he did not reach spiritual satisfaction at church” and “impulsively then made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.” The article concludes that there are “other Nazi offspring who are interested in Judaism, some of whom do it as a way to atone for the sins of their fathers and country.” 


HaAretz (Mar. 3) contains a letter to the editor in which the author compares “Christian anti-Semitism” with “Muslim anti-Jewish sentiment.” Naim Mahlab Mahlab says “Christian anti-Semitism is rooted in the Gospels although one must admit that the Church is trying to move away from it.” He expresses his hopes that the latter will “wither away” but does not think it will be easy to eliminate “this vile virus” because of “the centuries of indoctrination of the masses by the Christian church.”