June 16 – 2010

Caspari Center Media Review – June 16, 2010

During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, attitudes towards Christianity, anti-missionary activities, and Christians in Israel. Of these:
5 dealt with Messianic Jews
1 dealt with Christians in Israel
1 dealt with the arts
This Review focused on the failure of Howard Bass’s suit against Yehuda Deri.

Messianic Jews
BeKehila, June 10; HaMevaser, June 10; Sheva, June 3; HaShavua BiYerushalayim, June 10; Haaretz, June 10, 2010
BeKehila (June 10), HaMevaser (June 10), Sheva (June 3), and HaShavua BiYerushalayim (June 10) all reported on the “resounding legal defeat” suffered by the “missionaries” in their “show-case trial” in protest against the Yad L’Achim demonstration held outside the Nachalat Yeshua congreagation’s premises in Beer Sheva in 2005. “In a lengthy and substantiated ruling, the judge, Ido Rozen, ruled that no proof existed that the city’s Rabbi or any of the demonstration’s Yad L’Achim organizers were connected to or responsible for the event, which included, among other things, a disturbance of the public peace, actual disturbance of the Messianic community, and injury and damage to people and property. After the judge listed the testimonies one by one and proved that none of them could connect the violence action with the city’s Rabbi or Yad L’Achim, he wrote that, ‘I am of the opinion that no room exists to obligate Yad L’Achim due to this incident, when the responsibility attributed to the organization derives from a newspaper article printed following the event. Since the piece was published subsequent to the incident, there should be no controversy, given that the article could not have changed the opinion of the handful of demonstrators who caused the disturbance.’ He added that, ‘I am of the opinion that had it been proven that Yad L’Achim did in fact pass the information to R. Deri concerning the scheduled baptisms, this does not warrant damages, since in view of the essential disagreement between the two sides with respect to the conversion of Jews, under such circumstances passing on information constitutes a legitimate step’” (HaMevaser, June 10). According to BeKehila (June 10), the ruling also included the statement that, ‘Even had the article been printed before the event, it is possible that I would have reached precisely the same conclusion, since I have not been convinced that these ‘hot-blooded’ demonstrators who led to these disturbances of the peace would have behaved differently had they known that the scheduled baptism was of two Jewish men only, since it must be assumed that they acted according to the saying, “Anyone who saves one soul in Israel is as though he saved the whole world.”’” It further added that: “The deep frustration felt by the missionaries is attested by some of their internal literature: ‘The judge did exactly what we prayed and hoped he would not do. He ruled that the two people – the Rabbi of Beer Sheva and Yad L’Achim, the organization whose purpose is to uproot them from the Land – are not responsible in any way for this crime,’ states one of the missionary newsletters. R. Deri stated in his response: ‘This suit, the discussion of which has lasted for years, was meant to put a spanner in the important work of Yad L’Achim as well as to intimidate and silence me, as the city’s chief Rabbi, in the continuation of this sacred struggle. Every Rabbi in Israel has a duty to behave in a similar fashion, without fear or apprehension, and to gather together the people of the city for a prayer vigil, a shout of protest outside the premises of the mission.’ He also denounced the violence which occurred on the margins of the mass demonstration and ruled that, ‘We are talking here about the profanation of shabbat and of God’s name.’”
Messianic Jews were the recipients of a far different reaction, that of Dov Zei’ra, as reported in Haaretz (June 10). Ze’ira, a well-known music producer with his own label, was first introduced to Messianic Judaism via a German customer twelve years ago. At that point in time, he “decided to change direction. A German customer suggested that he produce a disc of psalms, and Ze’ira discovered the Christian evangelical market, and in particular the Messianic Jewish community. He has already produced forty discs intended for the evangelical market. ‘It’s a good audience, with a minimal investment. Because they love Israel, they have a motivation which we can call ‘Zionist,’ he explains. Does it not bother him that they are radical right-wing Christians? ‘They’re great people,’ he stresses, ‘and not at all radical. True, some things don’t work with them. I did a disc once with a cover of Jerusalem including a picture of the Al-Akza mosque. They sent it back to me with a note saying, “Not this.” There may be some people there who raise their hands while praying. But overall, they’re good people, tolerant, who don’t fake. I once complained to one of them about illegal downloading from the internet. He told me, “We don’t do that. The Bible says, ‘Do not steal.’””
Christians in Israel
Haaretz, June 14, 2010
According to this piece, “U.S. authorities are seeking to deport Mosab Hassan Yousef, the “Green Prince,” who reportedly worked as a Shin Bet security service agent from 1997-2007 … The request is based on quotes from Yousef’s book, ‘Son of Hamas’ – in which he described how he worked within Hamas to obtain information for the Shin Bet. Taken out of context, the quotes make it seem as if he worked for the group … The deportation request is the Department of Homeland Security’s response to Yousef’s asylum application. Yousef, who converted to Christianity in 2005, wrote on his blog that he was stunned by the move … MK Einat Wilf (Labor), a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, recently began collecting MKs’ signatures on a letter thanking Yousef for his contribution to Israel’s security.”
Haaretz, June 11, 2010
This brief caption under a photograph stated, “THE LAST PARTY: During a trance party, ravers hallucinate that they are grieving Jesus’s death at the Virgin Mary’s home, in ‘The Mother’ at Holon Theater.”