July 22 – 2009

Caspari Center Media Review – July 22, 2009

During the week covered by this review, we received 4 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, anti-missionary activity, and the Bible.

2 dealt with Messianic Jews
1 dealt with anti-missionary activity
1 dealt with the Bible
The highlight of this week’s Review was the report of Amiel Ortiz’s invitation to carry the Puerto Rico flag at this year’s Maccabiah games.
Messianic Jews
Yediot Ahronot, July 14; Ma’ariv, July 17, 2009

Under the headline “The hero with the flag,” Yediot Ahronot (July 14) ran the story of Amiel Ortiz’s invitation by the Puerto Rican delegation to the Maccabiah games in Israel this year to carry their country’s flag. Amiel, an outstanding basketball player, was severely injured in a bomb disguised as a Purim present a year and a half ago, apparently designed to harm his parents, his father David being the pastor of the congregation in Ariel. According to the report, in the sports section of the paper, “In a moving and exceptional gesture, the Puerto Rican delegation to the Maccabiah games decided to choose Ortiz to lead the delegation at the opening ceremony … The violent attack caused many waves amongst both Jewish and Christian communities across the globe, where his recuperation and rehabilitation were closely followed with interest and concern, together with developments in the investigation. His father David, who immigrated from the States, comes from a Puerto Rican family. The Jewish community there followed the case and turned to the family with the request that the youth lead the delegation at the opening ceremony. ‘Both Ariel and we were very moved by the unusual request,’ Leah [his mother] said yesterday.’” The article noted that the Ortiz family belong to “the group of Messianic Jews, who believe that Yeshu is the Messiah and pray to him.” It further indicated that Amiel has returned to school and sports, although he still has five further operations ahead of him.
In an article in Ma’ariv (July 17) examining the plight of refugees in Arad and its effect on the city, Fanny Hamevaser set the scene by describing the multicultural setting of a pizza parlor in the city center: “The pizza parlor in the middle of Arad’s commercial center acts as a kaleidoscope, changing shape and form from minute to minute. Formica tables hold pizzas and cokes, burekas and small cups of black coffee, and iced coffee in cups with long straws. From every table a different language rises: on my left they’re speaking Russian, behind them Arabic, next to them a group of women with tight braids are speaking a Sudanese dialect, while to the right are a Spanish-speaking family who belong to a core group who recently immigrated from Peru and Bolivia. Three Gur Hasidim cross the road opposite to get to the bus stop, and those – so tells me Sarit,  an Arad resident, [pointing at another group] … – are from the Messianic Jewish community.”
Anti-missionary Activity
HaShabbat beNetanya, July 10, 2009

This report carried last week’s story of the alleged sixty Messianic Jewish converts.
Yediot Ahronot, July 19, 2009

In an article entitled “Bible Now,” Eldar Beck looked at the background to the opening of a new “Bible valley” in the Judaean valley. The person responsible for the idea, Amos Rolnick, grew up on a Shomer HaTza’ir kibbutz which cancelled its Purim festivities due to Stalin’s death. Growing up, he never even opened the Bible: “‘We related to it as symbolizing diaspora Jewry from the shtetl. We, in contrast to that Jew and that book, wanted to build a new world and create a new Jew.’” But, says Beck, Rolnick and the Bible appeared destined for one another, and somehow, he conceived the idea of “illustrating” the Bible as an international project worthy of Israel’s 50th anniversary celebrations. “800,000 pictures arrived in the country from 91 countries across the globe. The children of the world let their imagination run free … Today, these painting are still in the service of the Foreign Ministry, being found in exhibits at any given moment in another part of the world … The huge success of this project, which officially ended in 1999, gave rise in Rolnick’s mind to two further projects: first, he must read the Bible himself. Today [at the age of 72], he can quote whole parts of it by heart, and every free moment he has he spends listening to it on the ipod he carries with him. Secondly, Rolnick, a kibbutznik who broke away to become a ‘capitalist,’ understood that Israel possessed the greatest financial potential in the world: lovers of the Bible. ‘I understood the power of the Bible in the world,’ he acknowledges. This understanding led him to conceive one of the most daring of tourist ventures now being planned in Israel: the creation of a ‘Bible valley’ park – a reconstruction of the biblical experience in a journey for Jewish history buffs, to be spread out over 100 dunams of land located in one of the central foci of the biblical story, in the Addulam strip in the Judaean valley, south of Jerusalem, not far from Beit Shemesh. ‘The Bible valley’ is defined as an interfaith project – Jewish and Christian – so that it will be possible to use it to link the hundreds of millions of those who also believe in the New Testament to the Land. It will be comprised of features devoted to the different biblical periods: it will contain a ‘Forest of legends,’ a ‘Forest of the land of milk and honey,’ a ‘Forest of the prophets,’ a ‘Forest of kings,’ and, of course, a ‘Forest of the Song of Songs.’ Via various technologies, visitors will be able to pass from our own time to the days of the Bible and to experience the course of history and faith … The heart of the park is intended to be the ‘Bible house’ which will serve as permanent accommodation for the children’s paintings … as well as help in raising the funds for the next monumental project: ‘The people of the world write the Bible,’ in which framework the books of the Bible will be written by hand by people across the world, in their native language. The intention, explains Rolnick, is to get to at least 100 books, in 100 languages.” The first books have already been written – in Taiwanese, Tamil, Finnish, Mandarin, Bengali – and are currently on exhibit at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. As part of the project, the Bible is now being translated in Ukrainian for the first time. In the large Jewish communities – including Israel – “kosher” books will be written – exclusively by Jews. “The ‘People of the world write the Bible’ project is also designed to bring the idea of the ‘Bible valley’ to the attention of Christians – the project’s greatest tourist potential. ‘The then Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom, gave the ministry’s support to the project across the world, but demanded that we include the New Testament,’ recalls Rolnick. ‘To this day I still have problems with Haredi circles, in Israel and the diaspora because of this. But at the time the Foreign Ministry was absolutely insistent on this matter.’” The project – supported by varied individual people including academics and literary figures, is due to be built within the next five years, the Bible house being first on the list.