October 7 – 2008

Caspari Center Media Review – October 7, 2008

During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the subjects of anti-missionary activity, Christians in Israel, interfaith activities, music, and archaeology. Of these:

1 dealt with Messianic Judaism
2 dealt with anti-missionary activity
2 dealt with Christian Zionism
1 dealt with Christians in Israel
1 dealt with Jewish-Christian relations
This week’s Review included an article on Yad HaShmonah, the well-known moshav run by believers in the Judaean hills.

Messianic Judaism
Ma’ariv, September 26, 2008
In a piece entitled “Bible now,” Dubi Zakkai looked at the moshav of Yad HaShmonah, run by Messianic believers. “They were eight, eight Jews who crossed the border into Finland. The time: the Second World War, and the Germans had already established their concentration camps. These eight miserable Jews were delivered up to the Nazis’ live claws by the Finnish government. Many Finnish citizens were appalled by the act. In the 1970’s, a group of golden-haired Finns arrived in our country in order to atone for this handing over, to settle in the land, and to help build the young State of Israel. And thus, after the bureaucratic problems so characteristic of our country, they received a small plot of land in the edge of the Judaean hills on which to build a small village, a testimony to the eight Jews who were sent the concentration camps, Yad HaShmonah.” Starting off with stone houses, a cargo of Finnish wood subsequently arrived to house the children born to the original group and on the basis of which its residents established a furniture factory and then a guest house. “Over the years, a group of Jews who believe in the Tanakh and the New Testament joined the foreign pioneers.” In 2000, the moshav established a ‘biblical garden’ which also includes an ancient synagogue transferred from the Golan with the aid of the Israel Antiquities Authority and several ancient wine and olive presses. “Around these the industrious Finns have planted biblical plants.”

Anti-missionary Activity
HaModia, September 23; HaZofeh, September 26, 2008

These two papers carried last week’s report about Messianic children being sent to religious kindergarten (see last week’s Review). HaZofeh (September 26) provided additional information concerning Seth ben Haim, John Theodor, and Neria Arbov: “… the ben Haim family, the father, Seth, a Jewish apostate [mumar] married to a Christian, heads a missionary organization called ‘Nashuva’ [Let us return/repent], while in the Theodore family, the mother is Jewish apostate and the father a Christian. Evidence exists from the residents of the neighborhood that the family hold missionary activities in their homes every Friday night [erev Shabbat] … ‘Arbov is the head of a congregation which meets in his house on Friday and Saturday evenings. This is to all intents and purposes a Messianic congregation, despite Arbov’s misleading external appearance. Outwardly, he looks like an Orthodox Jew: he wears a yarmulke and fringes, but photographic evidence exists that he is engaged in missionary activities’” The article promised that the paper would publish an investigation into the activities of the mission next week.
Christian Zionism
Haaretz, September 23, 24, 2008

In a piece dedicated to the state of poverty – or, in the more politically correct terms used, “families suffering from a lack of financial security” – in Israel, Avirama Golan looked at the ways in which people are giving aid to those in need as the holydays approach, suggesting that some of the charities involved are partially funded by evangelical Christians.
A surprise examination of the bomb shelters in three northern cities hit by rockets in the Second Lebanese War revealed that many are still not fit for use (Haaretz, 23 September). Eli Ashkenazi lamented this fact not only in light of the danger but also from the perspective of the Christian donors who had contributed huge amounts of money for the renovation of these very shelters: “‘The contributors from the IFCJ, mostly Christian supporters of Israel, who give up what they could have in order to help the residents of Israel, invested 40 million shekels … to give the residents of the north basic protection.”
Christians in Israel
Haaretz, September 26, 2008

According to a report in Haaretz (September 26), “the same spirit of mission which originally brought them to the country” also inspired a group of Templars to construct a wine press now preserved in south Tel Aviv. “They dreamt of establishing here a community which would adopt for itself a simple way of life and the sincere faith of the early Christianity, as well as hastening Yeshu’s return.” The press was filled with grapes from the same settlement and other Templar settlements across the country, and the wine “exported” to Germany. With the Templars’ expulsion during WWII, the site was taken over by the British – and when they left, it became the location for the Hagana’s airplane construction. Now, the place has been taken over by Nike: “The sports clothing firm has restored to the site something of the Templars’ religious-mystic spirit in putting on an exhibition whose theme is the ‘icon’ … The final room was dedicated to the central element in the transformation of a person or vest into an icon: In it stood a poster on which was written: ‘If it weren’t for the first flocks of believers who followed after him, Yeshu would have remained the son of an anonymous carpenter.’ Next to this stood a large round mirror on which was inscribed ‘YOU.’”
Jewish-Christian Relations
Jerusalem Post, September 25, 2008

According to a brief report in the Jerusalem Post (September 25), “Haifa Chief Rabbi She’ar Yashuv Cohen will become the first rabbi to address a Roman Catholic synod when it convenes next month to discuss the Bible … Cohen told the Washington-based Catholic News Service in Jerusalem that the invitation was a ‘signal of hope [bringing] a message of love, coexistence and peace for generations.’ He is to speak on the Jewish interpretation of the Bible.”