February 23 – 2010

Caspari Center Media Review – February 23, 2010

During the week covered by this review, we received 8 articles on the subjects of attitudes towards Christianity, anti-missionary activities, and Christian sites. Of these:
1 dealt with attitudes towards Jesus and Christianity
5 dealt with anti-missionary activities
2 dealt with Christian sites
This week’s Review is largely taken up with the religious press’s report of a “missionary campaign” against Yad L’Achim.

Attitudes towards Christianity
Yediot Ahronot, February 19, 2010

In an article about Rav Mordechai Elon, in the news recently for alleged sexual misconduct, Meir Shalev looked at aspects of Migdal (which means “tower”), the Rav’s place of residence, naming it “Migdal of forgiveness, Migdal of admiration, Migdal of Miriam [Mary] of Magdalene,” correctly understanding that the name “Magdalene” alludes to the town of her birth. Shalev notes that once Gregory the Great made the determination that the woman who anoints Jesus’ feet in Luke 7 was a repentant adulteress and thus to be identified with Mary Magdalene, “the foundations of forgiveness, admiration, sex, and sin were laid.”
Anti-missionary Activities
Makor Rishon, February 18; BeKehila, February 19; HaMachaneh HeCharedi, February 18; HaModia, February 19; HaShavua BiYerushalayim, February 18, 2010
Yad L’Achim are irate over a comparison of their methods to those employed by the Gestapo and KGB in an article on Calev Myers’ e-newsletter (HaModia, February 19; HaShavua BiYerushalayim, February 19; BeKehila, February 18; HaMachane HeCharedi, February 18). Yad L’Achim attorney Yoram Sheftal immediately sent Myers a letter protesting the “anti-Semitic notice” and demanding an apology and payement of damages to the tune of 1,000,000 NIS to the anti-missionary organization. Although the article was immediately removed from the site, Myers complained to the Ethics Committee of the Israeli Bar Association about Sheftal’s action, claiming that he had ignored the customary professional courtesy of addressing him as a fellow lawyer. Sheftal responded by charging that Myers is an “apostate” [meshumad] and he was addressing him as such rather as a lawyer, the clear implication being that an apostate cannot in fact be regarded as a lawyer. If the apology and damages are not forthcoming, Sheftal warned that his client would take all the “legal means at his disposal” to compel Myers to comply.
Yom L’Yom (February 18) carried last week’s story of the “missionary soup kitchen” in Tel Aviv.

Christian Sites
BiDlatayim, February 16; Makor Rishon, February 18, 2010

Advising those who “haven’t gone skiing this year” that they can find different views and sounds in the Galilee, Nurit Grinberg in BiDlatayim (February 16) suggested a visit to Capernaum, the place where “Yeshu found a home and anchor in the last years of his life” and where archaeologists have discovered the house of “Peter, the prince of the Apostles.”

According to a report in Makor Rishon (February 18), some sectors of Israeli society are up in arms over the fact that a list of 60 locations proposed by Prime Minister Netanyahu as worthy of receiving status as national heritage sites favors such Christian sites as churches (three each in Nazareth, Bethlehem, and the Old City of Jerusalem, two in Capernaum, and that on top of the Mount of Beatitudes) and the baptismal location on the Jordan over both biblical and Jewish sites. “The Cave of the Machpelah is not included, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is included. [These are] the sites about which our youth is supposed to be educated.”