November 20 – 2006

Caspari Center Media Review………….November 20, 2006


During the week covered by this review, we received 25 articles on the subjects of the Christianity, Jewish-Catholic relations, Christian Zionism, and Christian culture. Out of the total:


  • 1 dealt with missionary and anti-missionary activity
  • 1 dealt with anti-Semitism/Israelism
  • 2 dealt with Christianity
  • 2 dealt with Jewish-Catholic relations
  • 1 dealt with the Gay Pride march
  • 3 dealt with Christian Zionism
  • 2 dealt with Christian tourism
  • 1 dealt with the Vatican and the Pope
  • 5 dealt with cultural issues


The remaining 7 articles dealt with matters of Jewish and Christian interest.

The Gay Pride march over, only one article still refers to this event. While the political fall- out from the Pope’s speech is still echoing, its traces in the Israeli press this week were more to be seen in positive Jewish-Catholic relations and on the cultural level – in book reviews, art, and music.


Missionary and Anti-missionary Activity

HaZofeh, November 14, 2006

As has happened in the past, missionary material is again being sent to Knesset members. An article in HaZofeh (November 14) opened incredulously with the question, “Missionary activity in the Knesset?” One of the Shas members of Knesset complained to the Knesset Chairperson of having received “missionary material” in his mail, and warned of a “missionary attack on the Knesset.” According to the report, the contents of the mail were presented as “the living light of universal human truth, offered to every spiritual pastor, theologian, teacher, philosopher and editor living in a world defined by Satan … The necessary command to the Jews …: Come back to me and I will come back to you.” [The precise nature of this “missionary material” is obscure from this report, and certainly does not correspond to the evangelical literature normally to be expected from the local Messianic community. Given the fact that the term “missionary” also refers to various cults in Israel, the origin of this material may well be such sources.]


Anti-Israelism and Christian Zionism

HaZofeh, November 17, 2006

Israel’s place in the Christian-Muslim confrontation, sparked more forcefully by the Pope’s recent speech, is a matter of continuing concern to Israeli writers. Under the subheading “Historical memory,” an article in HaZofeh (November 17) addressed the fact that Jews have always been caught in the middle: “Islam has a historical memory, something which some Jews in Israel do not understand or do not wish to understand. Islam sees history as a continuous whole. Battles which were lost 700 years ago must be won now. Both Christianity and Islam see the primary symbol of victory – Eretz Israel and Jerusalem – [being] in the hands of the Jews. This is intolerable in their eyes.” The author connected this opinion with the role of contemporary Christian Zionists. While he acknowledged that the latter are “very important indeed to us,” he also reminded his readers that, “from their perspective, although our existence is necessary it is only temporary; a step along the road to full control by their faith.”



Nekuda, November 1, 2006

The content of Christianity is questioned by the author of an article in Nekuda (November 1), whose own historical memory tends more to the Jewish blood shed in the name of Christianity. Under the subheading “Crescent crusades” [in reference to Islam], Haim Navon related to the Pope’s speech with regard to Christian doctrine: “Benedict’s rulings with respect to Christianity’s link to morality and insight are slightly questionable. Christianity is the most illogical religion among the monotheistic religions because it believes in the most serious logical paradox: 3 = 1. Therefore it’s not surprising to read words of the church father Tertullian: ‘I believe because it is absurd.’” Navon’s final comment poses “three questions which Benedict must face in relation to Christianity’s link to human morality: the crusades; the inquisition; the Holocaust.”


Jewish-Catholic Relations

Ma’ariv, November 15; Jerusalem Post, November 14, 2006

At the same time as some people are depressed by history, others can see a brighter side. The crusades, for example, are coming into a “new generation” who don’t know Pharaoh and are now making peaceful pilgrimage to Eretz Israel. According to an article in Ma’ariv (November 15), “the tradition is about to be renewed but in a nicer and much less violent way: The Vatican and the Israeli Ministry of Tourism have agreed on a new tour package in Israel for thousands of priests-to-be, as part of their training program … According to the program, the pilgrims will come for a comprehensive study tour in the Holy Land, which will include wide training in the fields of faith and religion.” The priests will tour “all the places sacred to Christianity – Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, the Galilee and of course the Sea.” The Israeli Tourism Ministry has also persuaded the Vatican to include visits to “museums, swimming in the Dead Sea, and even a tour of the entertainment spots in Tel Aviv.”




HaModia, November 17; Haaretz, November 16, pp. 4, 12, 2006 

Despite the questioning of Christian doctrine and morality, its influence on culture still remains strong. In its Gallery section, Haaretz (November 16, p. 4) reported on the opening of two exhibitions, at the Israel and Tel Aviv Museums.  The former is showing the work of Reuven Rubin under the already borrowed title of “A Prophet in his City.” Rubin’s works were primarily created in Romania between 1914 and 1923 and “deal chiefly with religious experiences of a profound personal nature, on biblical themes, the figure of Yeshu, and Zionism.”

A second item from the same section (p. 12) reviewed the new album of Rickie Lee Jones, “The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard.” Noting that this comes as a sequel to her previous album “The Evening of My Best Day” but was also influenced by Jones’ participation in another album created “under the inspiration of Yeshu’s teaching,” the Haaretz reviewer cited Jones’ own comment: “The story of Yeshu repeats itself in every generation, but no one identifies the Yeshu who lives in our hearts.”

Two reviews echo similar sentiments regarding the influence of Christianity on western civilization. Reviewing a theater production called “Voices of Devotion – Jewish Theater,” the author stated that the “more sophisticated eye will discern in the stooping walk of the suffering exile and the staff which he constantly bears on his shoulder the Christian-become-universal motif of the Crucified carrying his cross on his back.”

In a review of HaRav Yehuda Leon Ashkenazi’s volume Mourning for the Messiah, several quotes which deal with Christianity are cited from the book: “‘For the Jews who lived in Europe, under the religious influence of Christianity, messianism became part of the hidden teaching.’ The primary reason for this was the great danger of confusion of ideas with Christian concepts, which led the Sages to prohibit discussion of these concepts in public. As with many aspects of Torah study, such hiding led to forgetting. Finally, Christian messianic ideas penetrated Jewish ideas and ‘now it is apparent that some believe in messianism according to the Torah, and, unfortunately, some believe what they call “messianism” in the form of magical faith.”

It is just such forms of culture that are under attack in Europe, the bastion of Christian civilization. The author of an article in HaModia (November 17) highlighted the influence of Islam on Europe as a consequence of the latter’s ”burnt and dispersed Jews”: “Instead of Jews they took in Arabs, and instead of Nazis they accepted Muslims. Amongst the close to half a billion Europeans of the nations of the EU, nearly five percent are Muslim citizens. This is not good news for Europeans … And even more: the veteran European nations have freely surrendered their national identity. Even European ‘culture’, with all its deficiencies and qualities, isn’t attributed to this nation or to that. Europe has given up, to a large degree, on its Christian identity and has become more and more ‘secular’. There is no doubt: Europe has changed its face, but the threat raised above her by radical Islam is darkening this new face.”