July 10 – 2006

Caspari Center Media Review… July 2006 #1

During the period of time covered by this review, we received 43 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


6 dealt with anti-missionary attitudes

4 dealt with Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Christians

1 dealt with Christian support of Israel

3 dealt with book/film/exhibition review

2 dealt with Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Jesus

7 dealt with Jewish/Christian relations

3 dealt with Messianic Jews


The remaining 17 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.



Anti-missionary attitudes

Aray HaMifratz, June 30, 2006; Hed HaKrayot, June 30, 2006; Yated Ne’eman, June 29, 2006; Globes, June 29, 2006;


Two Haifa weekly magazines report that “Christians have set up a make-shift prayer house in a (Jewish religious) neighbourhood in Kiriyat Yam” (Aray HaMifratz, Hed HaKrayot, June 30). Both articles say that the residents have “approached the local authorities for help” but have been “turned down on the grounds that there is ‘freedom for the individual.’” Hed HaKrayot reports that the meetings held there “consist of about ten people.” It also quotes Elezar Marin, the landlord, “in order to rent the property, all that mattered was that they had Israeli ID cards, if I would have known that they would hold religious ceremonies maybe I would have thought twice.”


The religious Yated Ne’eman (Jun. 29) reports about a “conflict with missionaries who wanted to operate in Me’a She’arim.” The article opens by saying “Christian missionaries are trying to trap innocent Jews throughout all the world.” According to the report the “missionaries were chased away but one of them became violent and hit a resident very hard.” The article claims, “The police were called by the missionaries who beat up the residents so much that some needed first aid.”


The Israeli Minister of Communications Ariel Atias has “approached the cable & satellite companies unofficially requesting them to remove the Christian channel” (Globes Jun. 26). Globes says, “this comes as no surprise because when he was appointed as minister he vowed to bring Judaism to the screen.”



Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Jesus

Al HaTzafon, May 31, 2006


In an article reviewing the Upper Galilee choir’s performance of Schubert’s Mass in Eb Major, Yael Gal asks rhetorically “Why doesn’t it bother us to sing Christian music?”(Al HaTzafon, May 31). She says “we don’t sing mass we sing music” and notes “on one hand the words express the life and suffering of the Christian redeemer, yet on the other, between the lines is the concept of general human suffering, supplication and praise of the creator of the world.” She concludes that the last line of the mass “Have mercy on us and give us peace” is a prayer that “we Jews are the first to identify with.”



Messianic Jews

Yediot Ahronot, July 3, 2006; Sha’a Tova July 16, 2006


The biggest secular tabloid Yediot Ahronot (Jul. 3) claims “The cult of ‘Jews for Yeshu’ have started a huge operation to entice Israelis who are now living in the USA to covert to Christianity.” Jews for Jesus is described as “a cult that keeps Jewish tradition but believes that Yeshu is the Messiah.” Yediot Ahronot also claims, “they have enlisted professional missionaries from Israel and try to persuade Jews to join them.” The paper describes the “operation” in detail saying “it cost $3m” and includes “distribution of DVDs, printing of tracts and telephone marketing.” According to the article “the federation of Jewish communities in New York has turned to the Israeli Consul General for help.”


In another article concerning “missionary activity” in the USA the Shas journal Sha’a Tova (Jun. 16) quotes from a “missionary advert” that is looking for people to go to New York for the summer and “join our massive summer campaign.” Sha’a Tova says, “’Jews for That Man’ (Jesus) claim it is the biggest operation ever in their church.” The article publishes statistics including the “number of tracts distributed, people who prayed and people who received the Messiah.” There is a copy of an English language Yad L’Achim advertisement, published in a New York paper with the headline “Warning! Destruction in New York, do not let them into your homes.”



Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Christians

HaTzofeh, June 28, 2006


An article in the religious Zionist paper, HaTzofeh (Jun. 28) examines the concept of vengeance. Author Ohad Kamin says, “Contrary to popular opinion vengeance is not based on emotions but is rather a way of acting righteously.” Kamin contends, “Too much mercy taken out of context is not just distorted but also presents a danger,” because “unrequited appreciation of mercy can turn into disappointment and subsequent cruelty.” He likens this to Christianity that “had mercy as its intention but applied that mercy in a very cruel way.”



Book/film/exhibition reviews

Ma’ariv, June 30, 2006; HaAretz, June 28, 2006


“The History of God” Karen Armstrong, Keter Publishing – 470 pages 

Ma’ariv (Jun. 30) reviews this book and says “it is mandatory for anyone wishing to obtain a general concept of God in different times and in different places.” The review notes that author Karen Armstrong is an ex-Catholic nun who “deals with impressions of God.” According to the review Armstrong’s axiom is “the very concept of God is shaped according to human thought.”


A very short article in HaAretz (Jun. 28) advertises a new book in Hebrew “Ech hafach Yeshu l’el – How Yeshu Became a God.” Dalia Amara, Publishers Ben Gurion University. The book is “a serious of articles that examines Christian and Hebrew literature in the Hellenistic period.”



Jewish-Christian relations

Jerusalem Post, HaAretz, July 2, 2006; HaTzofeh, Yediot Ahronot, July 3, 2006


Four papers report on the Vatican’s intent to release from its secret archives “all the files on the pontificate of Pope Pius XI” which spanned the period between the two world wars (Jerusalem Post, HaAretz, July 7, HaTzofeh, Yediot Ahronot July 3). It is noted that the material to be released “may include an encyclical that Pius XI commissioned to denounce racism and the violent nationalism of Germany.”



Different matters of Jewish-Christian interest

HaModia, May 17, 2006


The English edition of HaModia (May 17) carries a feature about the father of modern Zionism Theodor Herzl. The religious journal notes, “Israeli state schools learn a lot about him but do not learn about his plan – heaven forbid – to convert all the people of Israel to Christianity.” HaModia says that this is mentioned in “four different places in his work.” The article quotes various letters that Herzl had written including a letter written to his friend Moritz Benedict. In it he says, “I have a son and would prefer to convert today or tomorrow so his membership in the Christian religion should start as early as possible.” According to the paper, Herzl did not feel “this is possible” because “one shouldn’t abandon Judaism as long as it is treated with hostility.” HaModia continues “first we must establish a situation of tolerance and afterward we can bring all the Jews as one body, into Christianity.” According to the article, researcher Yosef Nadba claims that Herzl’s son converted to Christianity on Herzl’s Yahrtzeit (the anniversary of his death).