May 18 – 2010

Caspari Center Media Review – May 18, 2010


During the week covered by this review, we received 5 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christian Zionism, Christians in Israel, and conversion. Of these:

1 dealt with Messianic Jews

1 dealt with Christian Zionism

2 dealt with Christians in Israel

1 dealt with conversion



Messianic Jews

Jerusalem Post, May 9, 2010

In a article looking at “A city that drives people mad,” Dina Kraft reviewed some of the aspects of “Jerusalem syndrome” – “a very special spiritual feeling some people have arriving here,” according to a Jerusalem psychiatrist: “‘Jerusalem is where the Bible stories they have learned took place,’ Katz said. Seeing it and experiencing the place firsthand, he said, ‘changes everything for them and makes some people believe they are in fact walking the Bible’ … The late Israeli psychiatrist Yair Bar-el, the first to label and define Jerusalem syndrome as a mental health condition, had asserted that it could be triggered in people especially agitated by the contrast between the romanticized biblical image of Jerusalem and the modern-day city. ‘Those who succumb are unable to deal with the concrete reality of Jerusalem today,’ Bar-el, who died recently, wrote in a 2000 British Journal of Psychiatry article. ‘A gap appears between their subconscious idealistic image of Jerusalem and the city as it appears in reality. One might view their psychotic state and, in particular, the need to preach their universal message as an attempt to bridge the gap between these two representations of Jerusalem.’” According to the article, “Hadar Gittelman, 22, an Israeli who is a messianic Jew and works at a Christian guest house in the Old City, says she has seen her share of such people pass through, including a recent American tourist who called himself the ‘Angel Jesus.’ ‘People come here and feel some sort of extra holy spirit. They breathe it in as if it’s in the air,’ she said. ‘They feel like they possess the truth.’’


Christian Zionism

Haaretz, May 14, 2010

This article, entitled “City on a hill,” featured the town of Ariel, much of which was built on the strength of money contributed by Christian Zionism. Part of the funds went to the erection of Etgar [Challenge] Park: “‘High ropes, low ropes, a 750-meter zip-line – there’s nothing like it anywhere in Israel. It all came from America, a $2 million donation from American Christians. You don’t see this kind of thing anywhere else in Israel,’ Ron boasts … At the Hanukkah ceremony, he gave a speech: ‘To donors Heather and Bruce Johnston, owners of the JH Ranch in northern California. The National Center for Leadership Development in Ariel was established with the aim of training and nurturing teens and young people to become the leaders of the future, shapers of public opinion … I shared with Heather and Bruce my thoughts about establishing such a project in Israel, where every teenager would be given the chance to undergo the experience, to come to the recognition that values is not a dirty word and a leader is not a freyer [sucker], to use the slang term. I found partners for this “madness” – Heather and Bruce supported the idea with great enthusiasm and started enlisting supporters and raising funds for the project’ … Ron gazes up at the three flags waving over the climbing apparatus – Israel, Ariel, the United States of America. ‘A U.S. flag here in the settlement,’ says Ron. ‘The ranch in California was based on a Christian model. Here we did a local adaptation: the Ten Commandments. Heather is the moving spirit behind the whole thing. It’s her vision.’ What is the vision? ‘To create a better future,’ Ron replied … Doesn’t Ron find Heather a little scary? He insisted that he doesn’t. Does he feel comfortable taking money from Evangelical Christians? She’s here for her own reasons, after all. ‘That’s her business,’ said Ron. Jesus Christ, redemption, the war of Gog and Magog – Ron’s got other problems. ‘Anyone who gives money, who loves Israel, I support him. The money goes straight to the project.’”


Christians in Israel

Haaretz, May 14 (x 2), 2010

The heart-breaking story of Krizel – and the inspiring story of Janet Ladrillo – was carried in Haaretz (May 14) this week: Krizel, a blind Philippino baby, was left on Janet’s doorstep shortly after birth by an unknown person. Janet – a “devout Christian” Philippino careworker – was informed of her presence by a phone call to her sister, a man on the other end saying, “There’s a baby outside your door, please take care of her, I know that you’re good women.” “Although blind from birth, and usually quite independent and happy, the child is sometimes full of anger and frustration. She underwent an operation and quite a number of tests in an attempt to save some of her sight, but none helped. Did Ladrillo think of the consequences before deciding to take a blind child under her wing? ‘No, there was nothing to think about,” she says. ‘I had no children and this was a baby who had nobody.’” Janet is currently fighting to adopt Krizel and avoid deportation: “‘I’m not afraid that they’ll deport me,’ Ladrillo says. ‘But it scares me even to think that they will separate us. She has a life, she goes to school. What will happen to her if they expel me? I won’t return to the Philippines and leave her here. But even if I want to take her with me, she needs documents and I need a paper that says that I’m her mother.’”

Haaretz also ran a lengthy article in its magazine section the same day on “The handler” of Mosab Yousef or the “Green Prince” who grew up in Hamas echelons, began working with the Israeli Shin Bet, and converted to Christianity (see previous Reviews). The handler – G. or “Captain Loai” – was quoted as saying: “‘At the level of simple humanity, I think this is Mosab’s message: that we can and must meet midway. You know, neither side sees the other as human beings any longer; we’re totally consumed with battering one another. I am at an age at which I am thinking about my son’s future. We can fight, carry out preventive operations. But what then? Where does it lead? Mosab says this from the Christian standpoint; I say it from the Jewish point of view. We can and must look at the other side with compassion.’”



Yediot Modi’in, May 5, 2010

In the run-up to Shavuot (Pentecost), this local paper ran an article on 5 women from Christian countries who have followed in Ruth the Moabite’s footsteps and converted to Judaism: one “due to the soul,” one “due of the truth,” one “due to curiosity,” one “due to connectedness,” and one “due to belonging.”