January 26 – 2010

Caspari Center Media Review – January 26, 2010

During the week covered by this review, we received 2 articles on the subjects of Christians in Israel and Jewish-Christian relations. Of these:
1 dealt with Messianic Jews
1 dealt with Jewish-Christian relations
One of the two articles in this week’s Israeli media reported on the Bible Society in Israel’s efforts to disseminated Christian material in Tel Aviv for Christian refugees.

Messianic Jews
Zman Tel Aviv, January 22, 2010

According to this report, videos, New Testaments, and booklets in Arabic are being distributed in the area around the old Tel Aviv bus station “not by a Christian body seeking to convert Muslim Arabs but by the ‘Bible Society in Israel,’ run by Messianic Jews who are Israeli citizens, which focuses on providing religious aid to Christian Sudanese refugees, hundreds of whom live in south Tel Aviv. Why is this material being disseminated in Arabic? Because this is the language spoken by most of the Sudanese, both Muslims and Christians … In addition to the literature, the organization also distributes food and basic items necessary for the refugees’ survival. People at the Bible Society stated that, ‘The Bible Society in Israel does not perceive any problem in the fact that Messianic Jews help Christian refugees.’ According to Victor Kalischer, the director of the organization, ‘We disseminate Scripture – the Tanakh and New Testament in all languages. We also have contact with Christian workers from the Philippines, Thailand, and Nepal.”
Jewish-Christian Relations
Haaretz, January 19, 2010
Negotiations are continuing between Israel and the Catholic Church regarding the latter’s property in Israel. According to this report, “Israel wants to keep the ‘status quo’ on ownership, ensuring its sovereignty, while reaching a settlement over debts accrued over years of taxes owed to the state by the church … The Vatican seeks recognition of its ‘historic rights’ to tax exemption, and to set rules for protection of religious sites and the return of what it calls lost church property. The negotiators met this month for but failed to reach a deal and agreed to meet again. Though only a handful of sites are being discussed, the outcome may have an impact on future transactions, particularly in Jerusalem, where religious institutions are huge land owners … Israel reserved the right to appropriate property especially to build infrastructure for public safety, while guaranteeing it won’t harm the holy sites. The Vatican wants to prevent this. Neither side would give details of the negotiations – such as the amount of tax involved or when a deal might be concluded.”