June 16 – 2006

Caspari Center Media Review… June 2006 #1


During the period of time covered by this review, we received 44 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


6 dealt with anti-missionary attitudes

3 dealt with Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Christian

1 dealt with Christian support of Israel

3 dealt with Messianic Jews

3 dealt with book/film/exhibition reviews

1 dealt with early Christianity

4 dealt with Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Jesus

3 dealt with Jewish/Christian relations


The remaining 20 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.


Anti-missionary attitudes

Kol Ha’Ir, June 1, 2006; Yom L’Yom May 25, 2006; HaAretz, June 1, 2006; BaKehila, May 18, 2006


The Shas magazine Yom L’Yom (May 25) and Kol Ha’Ir (Jun. 6) both report that the Christian TV station Daystar is “now freely available (in Israel) through cable and satellite TV.” Yom L’ Yom has photos of 2 posters that were put up in religious orthodox areas saying, “The Jewish people who prevailed over Pharaoh, Haman and Hitler will also prevail over you.” Author Anat Paruz remarks, “Whoever has anything to do with these satellite and cable TV companies is participating in idol worship.” Kol Ha’Ir covers the same story in a lengthy two-page article. There are three subheadings entitled “the danger,” “the method,” and “the implementation.” The three portions endeavour to systematically analyse the “methodology of targeting Jews” via satellite TV. Kol Ha’Ir says “one and half million is the number of Jews who, with the press of one button on the remote control, will hear the same dreadful message that our forefathers heard when they were slaughtered. This is the same message that  Jews died as martyrs heard and rejected because they refused to accept the murderous ‘religion of mercy’ during the horrendous inquisitions and the crusades.” There are two photos of the broadcast. The programmes have Hebrew subtitles and on one photo, the subtitle says “The Christian message will be preached throughout the world in all nations and then the end will come.” 


BaKehila (May 18) reports, “2000 women participated in a conference organised by Yad L’Achim.” The article says, “Among those speaking was a ‘survivor’ (of ‘the mission’) who was rescued from an Arab village. Another speaker was Rabbi Binyamin Kluger who “was once a senior priest and missionary.”


In an article about a non-Jewish “foreign worker of the female sex” who was “apprehended by the immigration police” author Michael Handelzalts of HaAretz (Jun. 1) compares the story to the “biblical story of Ruth.” The anonymous woman is “a convert to Judaism” and Handelzalts says Ruth’s acceptance into our Jewish fold did indeed create a problem to say the least.” He informs the readers “she was the Great-grandmother of King David” who eventually “dethroned him” and one of his descendents was Jesus.” Handelzalts concludes “Need I say more about these clear – albeit future, not present – dangers?”


Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Jesus

Ha’Ir Ramat Gan-Givatayim, June 1, 2006


In a column that answers various questions from readers (Ha’Ir Ramat Gan-Givatayim Jun. 1) Yakov Klar writes to ask which language Jesus spoke. In response Tzvia Levinstein says, “The lingua franca of the day in Second Temple times was mainly Aramaic with some Hebrew and Greek.” The columnist writes, “Aramaic is a Semitic language, quite close to Hebrew, and Yeshu is usually portrayed as being an Aramaic speaker.” 



Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Christians

Yediot Ahronot, June 5, 2006; Globes June 8, 2006


In the Hebrew business daily Globes (Jun. 8) an interview is conducted with a female Swiss tram driver working in Zurich. When Claudia Zako is asked what she would do if she won the lottery she responds “if it happens then it’s a sign that Yeshu has blessed me and I will receive it with open arms.” She also says she would like to be “more courageous and go and preach to all the tram drivers when they are in the staff room having a break”… but she is “not brave enough.” The interviewer asks her if Jesus has a central role in her life; “He gives me hope and preserves my life, my life is in His hands, He is the most important thing in my life.”


An article about the significance of the number 666 appears in Yediot Ahronot (Jun. 5). The article is published in light of the impending date 06.06.06 the following day. Dr. Yaron Zafran notes “Hollywood has done well out of the date, with movies like ‘The Omen.’ Some people want to get married on this day because of the numerological value of the goddess Venus, yet devout Christians have ordered a cesarean section just incase their child is born with horns and a tail.” The article says that in honor of the date, “Satan’s free radio station” in the USA is “throwing a big party” and the Church of Satan “has sold out of tickets for it’s special mass to be held on that day.”



Book/film/exhibition reviews

HaAretz, June 7, 2006


“Reckless Rites: Purim and the legacy of Jewish violence.” Elliott Horowitz, Princetown University Press.

In her review of Elliott Horowitz’s book “Reckless Rites: Purim and the legacy of Jewish violence” Ruth Meisels “confesses her aversion to the violence in the book of Esther (HaAretz Jun. 7). Meisels says, “I am happy to find in the book an ally to my aversions to the violence.” She quotes Sir Moses Montifiore who coined the book’s final chapters “a massacre of unresisting Gentiles,” and recalls Luther’s remarks; “Jews love the Book of Esther, because it fits their bloodthirsty, vengeful, murderous greed and hope.” Meisels maintains that “mainstream Judaism never opposed Purim” and “this is the basis of Horowitz’s provoking book regarding Jewish violence against gentiles.” Horowitz also discusses “the custom of mocking Jesus and the cross in Purim processions” which was “common in the fifth century C.E.” The book also deals “not just with violence against Christian symbols” but “violence against Christians themselves.”



Messianic Jews

HaAretz June 9, 2006; HaModia, June 9, 2006


According to the HaAretz (Jun. 9) “a growing number of Messianic Jews are seeking to immigrate to Israel… even though the state says they forfeited their rights to immigrate as Jews when they accepted Jesus as the Messiah.” HaAretz says, “the movement (of Messianic Jews) is also known as Jews for Jesus.” The article focuses on the plight of Sarah Jacobs (pseudonym) who has been trying to “obtain new immigrant status.” The paper reports, “The Ministry of Interior rejected her application for citizenship because she believes that Jesus is Messiah.” The article recounts the 1989 decision of the Supreme Court when it “denied the right of return to Gary and Shirley Beresford.” HaAretz observes “Messianic Jews cannot expect support from would-be allies on the other side either.” The Christian Allies Caucus – a Knesset lobby group that aims to further ties between the Israeli government and the Christian world “refuses to work with the Messianic Jewish community on the grounds that it actively seeks to convert Jews.” The director of the Caucus Josh Reinstein is quoted “We believe that they (Messianic Jews) work against the interests of the State of Israel.” The article also refers to ”Facts and Myths about the Messianic Jewish Congregations in Israel” published by the Caspari Centre, “a Messianic Jewish educational organisation housed in a discreet office in Jaffa Street in Jerusalem.” The report says “an Interior Ministry spokesperson said that legal steps can be taken against individuals for lying on their citizenship applications, including the concealment of messianic beliefs.” There is a picture of an Orthodox Jewish demonstration against Messianic Jews with the caption “no normative stream of Judaism recognises Messianic Jews.”


HaModia (Jun. 9) claims “according to the last edition of a Messianic Jewish journal that serves as a shofar to the international community, desperate missionaries in Arad have now turned to the American Embassy for help.” HaModia quotes from the anonymous Messianic journal concerning the riots in Arad; “if the (Haradim) demonstrators had been Arabs, black Jews, foreign workers, Christians or Messianic Jews then of course they would have been arrested.” According to HaModia the American Embassy has requested “verification of the evidence of persecution submitted by the missionaries” and this is “of great disappointment to the missionaries.”



Owner of the ‘James ossuary’ on trial

Jerusalem Post, June 12, 2006


The Jerusalem Post (Jun. 12) has a two-page report by Hershel Shanks, the editor of Biblical Archaeology Review about the “Krumbein report” concerning the James Ossuary. The owner of the ossuary, Oded Golan is currently on trial. Shanks remarks, “I have no interest in the defendant’s character… if the inscription is authentic then it may be the only archaeological evidence that we have of the Christian Messiah – though it also may not be, even if it is authentic.” Shanks says that the findings of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) “which relied solely on the conclusion of a test based on oxygen isotopes previously never been used to detect a forgery” was “enough to convince the others of the IAA – none of whom was an expert – that it was a forgery.” Shanks also points out “not a single palaeographer has questioned the authenticity of the inscription on palaeographical grounds.”