Caspari Center Media Review………….August 7, 2006
During the week covered by this review, we received 15 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Judaism, Christianity, missionaries, and anti-missionaries. Of these:
- 2 dealt with the Gay Pride march due to be held in Jerusalem
- 4 dealt with Christian Zionism
- 1 dealt with the Da Vinci code
- 1 dealt with anti-Semitism
- 1 dealt with the Quran’s portrayal of Yeshua’s crucifixion
The remaining 6 articles dealt with various matters of Jewish or Christian interest.
The Gay Pride March
BaKehila, July 6; Yom L’Yom, July 13, 2006
Right up until the cancellation of the march (for security reasons), the media continued to cover Israeli attitudes to the intended “abomination” in Jerusalem. The religious paper BaKehila (July 6) reported that the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel had made a personal appeal to the “the head of idolatrous Christendom who sits in the Vatican in Rome [the Pope]” – whose response to homosexuality was regularly noted in the Israeli (religious) media – with a request to come out with ‘a fervent, mighty, and pointed call against this terrible phenomenon in the hope that all the protests issuing from the various religious heads would awaken straying hearts which were deceiving themselves and making their souls iniquitous in the extreme, and deter the malicious from cursing and corrupting the ways of mankind.’” At the same time, the orthodox Rabbi Israel Margalit was reported as being commissioned by the “g’dolei ha-Torah” (assembly of Rabbinic leaders) to protect Jerusalem’s sanctity. Due to his concurrence in the matter with the Pope and prominent Arab leaders, he was asked to speak to one thousand Christians, at their invitation, and he also intervened in the election of one the most important American priests (Yom L’Yom, July 13).
Jerusalem Post, July 27, July 31; Haaretz, July 28, 2006
The Israeli media’s positive attitude towards American Christians – evangelicals and fundamentalists in particular – continues to demonstrate itself in several articles. Not only “white” American but also the African-American evangelical community has come out in support of Israel. According to the Jerusalem Post (July 27), Glenn Plummer, co-chairman of the Fellowship of Israel and Black Americans (FIBA), is planning a solidarity visit. According to Plummer, “We are both a people who have slavery in our past; we are both people who have a fellowship of suffering; we are both people who have tasted bigotry, hatred, and discrimination … And we are both people who were friends during the civil rights movement in America. Jews stood with us when many other Americans would not, including white Christians.” In similar vein, Michael Evans, founder of the Evangelical Israel Broadcasting Network, is set to make a major TV program to be taped in Israel and named “The Awakening,” whose goal is “to mobilize tens of thousands of millions of Americans to stand up and speak up with moral clarity” (Jerusalem Post, July 31).
On the same front page of the Jerusalem Post (July 31), the paper noted the arrival of a joint Christian-Jewish solidarity mission from the United States, organized in conjunction with the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem.
Not all ventures are in such a spirit of cooperation. In light of the current situation in the north, disputes broke out between Christian and Jewish organizations who are both helping to provide food for the needy. The argument was settled by an agreement that the State would purchase the food to be distributed from both organizations. The Christian “League of Friendship (Keren Yedidut)” was reported as having donated 9 million shekels to the project (Haaretz, July 28).
The Da Vinci Code
Haaretz, July 31, 2006
Responses to the book and film have come not only from across Europe and America but apparently, according to Haaretz (July 31), Dan Brown’s book has been banned in Iran. A spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Culture was reported as stating that: “Following the request of three Christian leaders, it was decided to prohibit the distribution of new editions of the book.”
Yediot Ahronot, July 31, 2006
Not only are cartoons of Muhammad causing furor in the Muslim world but anti-Semitism is also alive and well in one of France’s most prestigious papers, Le Monde (Yediot Ahronot, July 31). According to the Israeli daily, Le Monde carried an editorial-caricature which pictured a huge boot with metal nails embedded in its sole and its laces in the form of the Star of David. Yediot’s commentator stated that the reference was evidently to a “Jewish soldier about to trample on the body of a man crucified on a Lebanese cedar.” [The cedar is Lebanon’s national tree.] In its interpretation of the caricature, Yediot likened the “historical” aspect of this form of anti-Semitism to “the crucifixion of Yeshu [Jesus] (here taking the place of the mustached Lebanese man with a cross hanging on his chest).” The “modern” aspect was portrayed through the power of the boot of the Jewish-Israeli, ready to trample Lebanon underfoot.
Haaretz, July 30, 2006
In its “Gallery” segment, Haaretz (July 30) set two questions in its “morning exercise” section, the second being: “What does the Quran say about the Jews’ part in Yeshu’s [Yeshua’s] crucifixion?” The answer: “According to the Quran, the Jews did not execute or crucify Yeshu but killed someone else, who looked like him.”