31 March – 2006

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:


10 dealt with Anti-Missionary Attitudes

7 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

9 dealt with Jewish-Christian Relations 

7 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

3 were Book/Film/Exhibition reviews

1 dealt with Status of non-Jews

2 dealt with Christian Support of Israel

6 dealt with Messianic Jews

2 dealt with Archaeology



The remaining 32 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.



Anti-Missionary Attitudes

Kol Ha’Ir Mar. 17, 2006; Sha’a Tova Mar. 10, 24, 2006; BaKehila Mar. 9, 2006; Yom L’Yom Mar. 9, 2006 


Three of the religious papers report about Yad ‘L’Achim’s annual fund-raising campaign which runs parallel to the weekly Torah portion titled “Remember what Amalek did to you.” (BaKehila Mar. 9, Yom L’Yom Mar. 9, Sha’a Tova, Mar. 10). All three report on the “successes” of the organisation and record that “hundreds of (Jewish) souls were saved from the missionary net and thanks to the actions of Yad L’Achim tens of centres of missionary activity have been closed.” Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Weiss is quoted “working against the mission is Pikuach Nefesh, so if one needs to, he is even allowed to defile the Sabbath.”


Sha’a Tova (Feb. 24) details numbers of (Jewish) souls that were “saved from the mission net in Arab villages.” The same article advertises a seminar for Orthodox women whereby a “personal testimony will be given by a survivor of the mission in an Arab village.” It is noted that “an ex-missionary, Rabbi Binyamin Kluger” will also be speaking at the meeting.” 


A short article in Kol Ha’Ir (Mar. 17) reports about the Benedictine Monastery in Abu Ghosh. The monastery is described as “the place where monks in the twelfth century believed Yeshu rose from the dead and revealed himself to his followers.” Concerning the monks residing in the monastery today they are noted to have “neither in the past or today, ever engaged in missionary activity.” The Benedictine community is also cited as being “supporters of Israel.”



Messianic Jews

HaTzvi Mar. 2, 9, 2006; Sha’a Tova Mar. 3, 2006


HaTzvi (Mar. 2) and Sha’a Tova (Mar. 3) both report about the “demonstration against the mission” in the town of Arad. HaTzvi notes that there are two Messianic congregations in the town, “one under the leadership of Yehoyakim Figaris and another “consisting of manly Russian families which is under the leadership of Edi Bedford (the article incorrectly says “Bedford”) who owns the chess club in town.” The paper says, “Yehoyakim Figaris expressed surprise at the speakers, who included the former mayor of Arad, Betzalel Tabib.” It also reports “Figaris says… the Orthodox have been spreading rumours that we kidnap children and force them to convert to Christianity.” The article notes “most of the people in the congregation are Messianic Jews although there are some Christians.” Yehoyakim is quoted “in our opinion if a Jew believes in Yeshua he doesn’t stop being Jewish, just as is the case with the Lubavich Rabbi’s followers.” He is also quoted, “I believe in God and not in the police.”


The article reports, “over the last two years they have been subject to attacks which have included people demonstrating every week outside Figaris’ house, throwing eggs and stones.” In the same edition of HaTzvi, Yehoyakim also has a short editorial published in which he details the harassment that his congregation is experiencing. He says “they are painting a picture that we are like beasts with horns… and that we are like Nazis who sent Jews to the crematoriums 60 years ago.” His concluding two paragraphs deal with the rhetorical question “who actually are we?” (Messianic Jews), and answers “although we come from different backgrounds… the common denominator that unites us is an authentic and living faith in the God of Israel and in Yeshua from Nazareth as the promised Messiah.” Yehoyakim also says “no one has forced us to believe this way, so likewise, we are also unable to force others.” He concludes by saying “harassment, intimidation and slander will not be able to take away our faith.”


In an opinion column in the same local paper published a week earlier (HaTzvi Mar. 2), author Eitan Michaeli says “a terrible stench was coming from my parking lot… when I went downstairs it turned out to be the (Orthodox) protest against the mission in Arad.” Eitan Michaeli calls the demonstration “the stench of hating the one who is different, an odour of intolerance” and “yet another frequent violent chapter against the small Messianic Jewish community in Arad.” Michaeli also says “Rabbi Lipsker showed contempt and disrespect towards the Holocaust by associating it with the Messianic Jewish community.” He concludes by questioning the “moral legitimacy of the town rabbis because of participating in such a demonstration” and says “the religious council in Arad has deviated from its authority by giving sponsorship for such an event” because “it is not a Halachic body and has no authority to make such judgments or do policing.”



Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

Jerusalem Post Mar. 21, 2006; Anashim – Tel Aviv VeHaMercaz Mar. 21, 2006; Eretz V’Teva March 2006 


In a letter to the editor (Jerusalem Post Mar. 21) David Teich contends that concerning Christopher Columbus’ discoveries “only the Christian Church demanded nobody discussed the facts” because “the facts disagreed with its interpretation of the Christian Bible.” Mr Teich concludes by saying that this “did not change global understanding, nor did their opinion change fact.”


The secular Tel Aviv publication Anashim – Tel Aviv VeHaMercaz (Mar. 21) publishes a short feature about Heather Veitch’s ministry “J.C. Girls” who endeavour to “create discussions via a TV channel between Yeshu and those involved in the sex industry.” The paper says, “Yeshu is known for mixing with prostitutes” and “He never judged them unfavourably.” Heather’s web site is described as “a church designed like a porno site where the naked pictures are replaced by texts full of love for God.” The journal says that this approach is “refreshing, although it probably attracts a few people who have a fetish for religious girls.”


The monthly journal Eretz V’Teva (March) has an eight-page article about the different denominations of Christian tourists and the different things that attract them to the Holy Land. The article says, “after the Six-Day War more Evangelicals came because they viewed the victory as a divine miracle.” According to the article another effect of the war was that it “caused a great wave of support for Israel.” The paper says “Megiddo is one of the most popular places for Evangelicals” because “from there you can view the last great battle.” Concerning the establishment of the “Evangelical Christian Centre” in the Galilee, the author believes that “it will bring great and unprecedented growth to the economy.” 



Christian Support of Israel

Jerusalem Post Mar. 21, 2006


The Jerusalem Post (Mar. 21) carries a four-page interview with American pastor John Hagee under the title “most evangelicals are seeing the error of replacement theology.” Hagee gives his definition of the responsibilities of evangelical, saying “…Christians have a Bible mandate to be supportive of Israel and the Jewish people, to demonstrate to the Jewish people what they have experienced from Christianity for 2,000 years…the love of God.” Concerning Romans 9-11 and the return of Jesus, Hagee says, “every Christian believes that Jesus is the Messiah, the Jewish people do not believe it so we will have to agree to disagree.” Hagee also says “when we are standing in the streets of Jerusalem, and the Messiah is coming down the street, one of us is going to have a very major theological adjustment to make.” He concludes by suggesting, “until that time lets walk in support of Israel and in defence of the Jewish people, because Israel needs our help.”



Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

Yediot Ahronot Mar. 22, 2006; Ma’ariv Mar. 27, 2006; Magazine Net Mar. 1, 2006


The daily tabloid Yediot Ahronot (Mar. 22) reports about residents in the Austrian town of Lintz who “reported to the police sightings of a naked girl dancing in various churches throughout the town at night.” The paper reports that the woman, in her fifties, did this to “make Yeshu’s time on the cross a little more pleasant.” The article says that the police “understood that they were dealing with a mentally ill woman.”


Ma’ariv (Mar. 27) says, “the Vatican is fuming” because of an advert for the PlayStation games whereby “Yeshu’s famous crown of thorns have been replaced by the four famous icons of PlayStation, an ‘X,’ circle, triangle and square.” Ma’ariv says, “The advert has been removed in Italy because it created a public storm.”


Magazine Net (Mar. 1) gives a short introduction to an mpeg movie clip about Jesus. The article says, “Following the Life of Brian and Jesus Christ Superstar, not much honour is left for the man who walked on the water.” However this movie clip is described as “very funny” because Jesus “plays along to the music of ‘I will survive’ by Gloria Gaynor.” The short article asks “forgiveness from our Christian readers.”



Status of Non-Jews

Kol Ha’Ir Mar. 17, 2006


American Catholic nun Lois Fay is the subject of a one-page feature in Kol Ha’Ir (Mar. 17). The article reports about Miss Fay who “for the last twenty years has dedicated herself to looking after children with incurable diseases.” The paper says “Miss Fay was given temporary status for a year on the understanding that it would be her last” but “now is in danger of being deported from Israel.” The paper quotes Miss Fay; “Attitudes of the office clerks change according to who is in government.” A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Interior Savine Hadad is quoted “there is no basis to the claims that the sword of deportation is hanging over her head” because “we respect people of the cloth” and “we have decided to issue her an extension of the status she had last year.”



Book/Film/Exhibition Reviews

Israeli Mar. 21, 2006; Eretz V’Teva Mar. 1, 2006


Sipur HaKorot shel HaMilchama HaKadusha – Stories of the Holy War – Yad Ben Tzvi Publishers, translated from the French “L’Estoire De La Guerre Sainte.” The works of Ambroise, the Norman poet and chronicler of the Third Crusade have been translated into Hebrew and are the subject of a book review in Eretz V’Teva (Mar. 1). The paper says that the book is a “collection of French rhyming verse which describes the escapades and conquests of Richard the Lion Heart.” The book also has “maps and pictures.”


The crusades are the subject of another article in the March 21 edition of Israeli. The paper says “the Vatican is funding a committee that is presenting the crusades as having a noble goal, i.e. restoring the Holy Land to Christianity.” It is reported that the late John Paul II “apologized for mistakes made in the past by the (Catholic) Church – among them the Crusades and Anti-Semitism” and this apology “irritated more conservative people in the Church.”  



Different Matters of Jewish or Christian Interest

HaAretz Mar. 29, 2006


HaAretz (Mar. 29) reports that antiquities discovered at archaeological digs in Cana, Galilee “strengthen the opinion that Cana was a Jewish settlement during the Great Jewish Revolt” and “probably the place where according to the New Testament, Jesus turned water into wine.” The paper says that “among the finds in Cana, were stone water jars.” The paper describes Jesus’ Wedding Miracle and says “it was this deed that made Cana famous.”