July 17 – 2006

Caspari Center Media Review… July 2006 #2


During the period of time covered by this review, we received 40 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christianity and the Mission. Of these:


3 dealt with anti-missionary attitudes

8 dealt with Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Christians

1 dealt with Christian support of Israel

9 dealt with the gay parade in Jerusalem

1 dealt with book/film/exhibition reviews

3 dealt with Jewish/Christian relations

2 dealt with Messianic Jews


The remaining 13 articles dealt with different matters of Jewish or Christian interest.



Anti-missionary attitudes

HaModia, July 5, 2006; Jerusalem Post, July 7, 2006


HaModia (Jul. 5) “gravely warns the public about missionary activity” in Russia and Siberia. Professor Alexander Lukashin who heads up “Magen” says “missionary activity in Russia is openly and secretly trying to trap Jews in its net.” In an interview with Lukashin he says, “contrary to the law, missionary activity is also happening in Israel.” He relates of how he was once “beaten up” in Russia. Lukashin says, “I don’t know if missionaries did it or if it was just a bunch of anti-Semites.”


“Doubts regarding the Jewishness of newly arrived Ethiopian immigrants have once again arisen,” says the Jerusalem Post (Jul. 10). Rabbi Ya’akov Krauss of the local synagogue in Mevaseret Zion explains the situation, “The immigrants are not allowed to be included in the prayers or the reading of the Torah until they have a certificate to say that they are Jewish.” Rabbi Menachem Waldman, a member of the Rabbinate’s committee for the absorption of Ethiopian Jews explains that the situation with the Falasha Jews is “extremely complicated” because “the Falasha Jews converted to Christianity in the late 19th and 20th centuries.”



Book/film/exhibition reviews

Yediot Ahronot, July 7, 2006


“Superman Returns” is the subject of a film review (Yediot Ahronot Jul. 7). The article compares the “saviour role” of Superman with Jesus. It says, “Christians have a reason to smile again, their saviour is back on screen.” Yiffat Mannhardt observes, “instead of a white sheet, he is wearing a red cloak, boots instead of biblical sandals and he flies through the air instead of walking on water.” Mannhardt says “all this is secondary” because “the main thing is that he is here for truth, justice and the American way.” The author also says, “For many Christians in the USA there are parallels; a Father who sent his only son to save the world” and “the fact that Yeshu was born by immaculate conception and that Superman landed on a childless couple speaks for itself.” The author concludes by reminding the readers that the “creators of the original Superman were actually Jewish” and “this is what churchgoers prefer to forget.”  



Messianic Jews

Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2006


A one-page feature in the Jerusalem Post (Jul. 9) focuses on the Jews for Jesus campaign in New York. The paper describes Jews for Jesus as “expansive, well-known and most highly annoying Christian mission group.” The Jerusalem Post says, “Jews for Judaism intends to run a counter campaign.” Scott Hillman the head of Jews for Judaism says, “The reason people are being convinced is not theological…it is because someone paid attention to them, called them up, bought them a cup of coffee and visited their home.” David Brickner, the executive director of Jews for Jesus is quoted “we exist to make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue for the Jewish public.”



Israeli/Jewish attitudes about Christians

Jerusalem Post, July 4, 2006; Yediot Ahronot, July 5, 2006


Two papers have short articles about the Pope and the World Cup soccer tournament (Jerusalem Post Jul. 4, Yediot Ahronot, Jul. 5). The Jerusalem Post says, “The papal lights were on late last week when Germany beat Argentina” although the Pope’s personal secretary is quoted “the Pope is always impartial.” Yediot Ahronot took a more philosophical view and quoted the Pope from the German press: “football unites people across all walks of life, it is the same hopes, fears enthusiasm and joy.” He says that such emotions “express a yearning for heaven.”


The same editions deal with the issue of homosexuality in the Anglican Church. The Jerusalem Post says that Archbishop Rowan Williams “began three years of much-criticized moderation by scandalously withdrawing support for the openly gay (British) Bishop of Reading, Jeffrey John.” The Guardian editorial, says, “The best way of avoiding the schism is to redefine the argument.” The Jerusalem Post advises, “In the end Dr. Williams will have to choose between unity and bigotry.” There is a feature about Canon Gene Robinson, the first homosexual bishop in the USA who says, “I know what problems my sexual tendencies have raised, but I believe that it is the will of God.” There is a photo of Bishop Robinson at his inauguration hugging his partner.



Christian support of Israel

Jerusalem Post, July 6, 2006


A one-page feature in the Jerusalem Post (Jul. 6) asks if American evangelist John Haggee’s support for Israel is a “gift horse or a Trojan horse?” The article observes that evangelical support for Israel “is not new” but “what seems to be different is the active lobbying network Haggee is trying to establish.” The paper reports that Haggee’s Christians United For Israel (CUFI) has a “clear message of absolutely no proselytizing or missionising.” It quotes Abe Foxman of the anti-Defamation League “on the one hand we need to welcome Haggee, on the other we need to be cautious.” The Jerusalem Post says that when Rabbi Kravitz raised the issue of proselytizing with him, Haggee responded “If rabbis would put more emphasis on putting Jewish kids into Jewish schools, young Jews would never want to become Christians.”


Different matters of Jewish-Christian interest

HaAretz, July 10, 2006; Aray HaMifratz, July 7, 2006


Both the Hebrew and English editions of HaAretz (Jul. 10) cover the news that “within four years Megiddo jail will be moved” enabling tourists to come and view the floor mosaic discovered on the premises last year.  According to HaAretz “the government hopes to turn the jail into a centre for tourists interested in ancient Christianity.”


Aray HaMifratz (Jul. 7) has a two-page feature which claims “a religious organisation is trying to rewrite history by using lies and witch hunts against Theodore Herzl.” The episode was discovered when children at a religious school were “spotted spitting on a photo of Herzl.” The paper says that a film is being distributed to schools. In the film Herzl is reported as saying “our desire is to turn our young sons into Christians before they reach the age where they can understand.” The paper also says that the religious film claims that Herzl “admired Wagner’s music and identified with German nationalism.”



Gay parade in Jerusalem

Ma’ariv, July 7, 2006; HaAretz, July 6, 7, 2006; Yated Ne’eman, July 9, 2006; Kol HaZeman, July 7, 2006; HaTzofeh, July 4, 5, 2006; Globes, July 5, 2006; Jerusalem Post, July 5, 2006


Seven papers present articles and opinions about the efforts made by more than fifty prominent religious leaders who visited the Knesset’s Interior Committee to “urge MK’s to prevent the World Pride event from taking place in Jerusalem.” The papers report “Chief Sepharadi Rabbi Amar sent a letter to the Pope asking for his help in the struggle.” Religious leaders present at the committee included the Greek and Coptic patriarchs and the ambassador from the Vatican. The papers report that the Vatican ambassador Antonio Franco met with Jerusalem mayor Lupolianski and expressed that “the Vatican is absolutely opposed to the march taking place in the Holy City.”