May 24 – 2006

Caspari Center Media Review… May 2006 #4


During the period of time covered by this review, we received 77 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


6 dealt with Anti-Missionary Attitude

16 dealt with Jewish/Christian Relations

4 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

7 dealt with Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

2 dealt with Christian Support of Israel

1 dealt with Messianic Jews

18 dealt with the film, “The Da Vinci Code”


The remaining 23 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.



Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about The Da Vinci Code

HaAretz May 19, 21, 22, 26, 2006; Jerusalem Post May 19, 22, 23, 26, 2006; Ma’ariv 21, 22, 26, 2006; Globes 18, 22, 26, 2006;


The press once again was flooded with numerous reviews and articles about the film The Da Vinci Code. Both HaAretz and The Jerusalem Post (May 19) contained features on the “mysterious Catholic organisation,” the Opus Dei. Both articles explain, “an average day in the life of Opus Dei.” HaAretz quotes the German journal Der Spiegel “members of the Opus Dei are trained in self-abasement” and “the member’s day begins with kissing the earth and the repetition of the vow ‘I must serve.’” The Jerusalem Post updates its readers as to the whereabouts of the Opus Dei in Israel and says “they have been present in Israel since 1993 and have approximately 30 members.” Christopher Rico, the director of the Opus Dei Information Office in Israel, is quoted “members neither beat themselves, nor wear whips, nor wear blade-studded chains because Christianity in general forbids any kind of harm against oneself.”


The Jerusalem Post (May 22) comments on the response to the film in the USA. Gregory Robbins, an Episcopalian priest is quoted “Christianity is not monolithic. There were Palestinian Christians, Jewish Christians, and Pauline Christians… Gnostic Christians, and Ebionite Christians… who saw Jesus as merely a prophet.”



Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Jesus

Yediot Ahronot May 26, 2006


Yediot Ahronot (May 26) lists eight films and TV programs about Jesus to be screened on Israeli TV during the week commencing 28 May. The article comments briefly on the content of each program or film. The variety stretches from the satirical Monty Python’s The Life of Brian to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.  



Jewish/Christian Relations

HaAretz May 23, 25, 26, 28, 2006; Jerusalem Post May 23, 25, 26, 2006; Yediot Ahronot May 24, 2006; Ma’ariv May 28, 2006; Globes May 25, 2006.


Several papers report on the arrival of Pope Benedict to Poland and speculate on his first and imminent visit to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. HaAretz Hebrew edition (May 26) publishes the itinerary of the Pope in Poland under the headline “A German Pope on Polish soil? No doubt God has a sense of humour.” Yediot Ahronot (May 26) notes “the Pope will visit Auschwitz and pray in German” and HaAretz (May 28) comments that “the Pope will hear prayers in Hebrew at Auschwitz.” Polish President Lech Kaczynski is quoted as saying he hops that the visit of Pope Benedict will be “significant for relations between Catholics and Jews.” In an opinion in the Jerusalem Post, columnist Vanessa Gera says “”Jews and many others will mark the gesture as an important moment in Benedict’s mission to carry on Jewish-Catholic reconciliation begun by John Paul.” 


Two papers report about the Church of Scotland’s policy to “call upon European authorities and the World Council of Churches to identify clearly products from settlements in the West Bank (HaAretz and Jerusalem Post May 25). According to the two articles “the General Assembly had asked the Church and Society Council to see whether concerns about Israel and the Palestinians had any implications for the church’s investment portfolio” (in Israel.) Morag Mylne, the council’s convener is quoted “the Church does not hold any relevant investment.” A four-page feature in the Hebrew daily Globes (May 25) reports on the assets and business plans of the Church of Scotland in Israel. There are photographs of six properties belonging to the Church of Scotland including; Saint Andrews – Jerusalem and Tiberius, Tabitha School – Jaffa, the Christian Cemetery – Lower Galilee and a building for rent in Safed. Beside each property are details of when the building was established, who manages it, the location and the financial turnover it brings in. Globes comments, “the Church has a collective turnover of at least 20 million shekels and for them it is just the beginning.”



Israeli/Jewish Attitudes about Christians

HaAretz May 28, 2006; Ma’ariv 21, 2006


Ma’ariv (May 21) has an article about Christians who want to be cremated in Israel. The paper says, “Many of the Christians are from the USA, France, Canada and even Thailand… they are asking for their ashes to “be scattered over Christian holy sites in Israel.” The article notes, “Many Jews also request to have their ashes scattered here.”


A short article in the Hebrew edition of HaAretz (May 28) claims that the pop singer Madonna is “upsetting Christians.”  The article reports about a BBC story that describes Madonna’s new show as “controversial.” HaAretz notes, “The show sees Madonna seemingly crucified which was an attempt to encourage her fans to give money to AIDS charities.” HaAretz quotes David Moyer, from the Evangelical Alliance “Madonna has been crudely insensitive and is dangerously using comparisons from the Christian world, she should drop this part of her show.” The paper concludes, “it is not the first time that she has clashed with the Christian church regarding the content of her shows.”



Anti-Missionary Attitudes

Zeman Haifa May 19, 2006; HaModia May 26, 2006-06-03


According to the religious paper HaModia (May 26) “thousands of tapes with missionary messages are being distributed to Orthodox homes in New York.” The paper says “the cover of the tape is innocent enough at first because it is in Yiddish and English… but soon enough you stumble on That Man – may God save our souls.” HaModia says “Yad L’Achim has instructed all residents to destroy the tapes.”


In a letter to the editor (Zeman Haifa May 19) Moshe Bodek comments on the on-going saga concerning a statue of a cross that is “disturbing soldiers at a naval base.” Bodek says, “We need to find a creative solution because the anguish of the soldiers is understandable.”



Different Matters of Jewish or Christian Interest

Yediot Ahronot May 21, 2006; Ma’ariv May 25, 2006

According to a short article in the daily tabloid Yediot Ahronot (May 21), American researcher Adela Collins “has determined according to the New Testament that Satan is dwelling (today) in Berlin.” Yediot Ahronot notes “Collins is able to locate exactly the Altar of Pergamon, as being right in the center of Berlin in the Pergamon museum for Archaeology.” The paper explains that this is because “in the book of Revelation the author John says to the citizens of Pergamon that Satan dwells in the altar in that town.” Yediot Ahronot also notes “The article is published in full in The Biblical Archaeological Review.”


The other largest daily tabloid Ma’ariv (May 25) reports, “the State of Queensland, Australia has decided to remove the Bible from hospitals.” Ma’ariv says, “according to the head of the health department the step was taken because the books might hurt the feelings of someone who is not Jewish or Christian.”