June 29 – 2010

Caspari Center Media Review – June 29, 2010

During the week covered by this review, we received 4 articles on the subjects of anti-missionary activities, Christians in Israel, Christian sites, and archaeology. Of these:
1 dealt with anti-missionary activities
1 dealt with Christians in Israel
1 dealt with Christian sites
1 dealt with archaeology
This week’s Review was a mixed bag, containing a denunciation of the use of the “Pavilion” in Jerusalem for year-end school parties.
Anti-missionary Activity
HaModia, June 23, 2010
According to this report, educational institutions in Jerusalem are making use of the services of the “Pavilion” – run by the King of Kings Assembly in Jerusalem – for end-of-year school parties. “From the publication of local adverts, it has become known that this hall belongs to the Canadian missionary organization composed of Christians, Messianic Jews, and other bodies. On a video distributed by the organization, its leaders declare that ‘The purpose of this place is to bring Jews and non-Jews to believe in “that man.” No less!’” In a letter to the authorities, a Jerusalem Rabbi complained that such institutions are thus unwittingly “‘funding dangerous missionary activity.’”

Christians in Israel
Haaretz, June 27, 2010
This brief note indicated that “The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee sent a letter of thanks recently to Mosab Hassan Yousef, who for a decade was an important source of intelligence for the Shin Bet security service source … In its letter the committee noted that from 1998 to 2007 Yousef helped to improve the security of Israelis and Palestinians by guiding the Shin Bet to thwart terror attacks and the murder of innocent people, showing great courage, reliability and determination. The letter said that the committee found it particularly moving that although Yousef was raised in a home and in an environment steeped in the militant vision of Hamas he had found the strength to sanctify life and peace and to eschew violence, incitement and terror.”
Christian Sites
Yediot Ahronot, June 23, 2010
In a report on the opening of the “Good Samaritan site,” Yediot Ahronot (June 23) noted that, “On the main highway between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea can be found a magnificent mosaic museum and an archaeological site, which tell the fascinating story of aid to the other and tolerance between human beings. Welcome to the ‘Good Samaritan’ site. Not every day is a site identified with one of the most famous parables in the world opened to the public. This is precisely the story of the ‘Good Samaritan’ site … The parable, mentioned in the New Testament, tells of an injured man lying on the side of the road and the passers-by who ignore his plight. A Samaritan comes to his aid, brings him to the inn, and pays for him to stay there. This same Samaritan, who performs an act of kindness in taking the man under his wing and showing compassion towards the weak, has become the symbol of friendship and fellowship between people … In this parable appear three different figures: a Jew, Yeshua the heralder of Christianity, and the Samaritan who performed an act of kindness. The museum thus displays mosaics and various artifacts from Jewish and Samaritan synagogues and churches.”
Haaretz, June 23, 2010
According to a Reuters report printed in Haaretz (June 23), “Archaeologists and art restorers using new laser technology have discovered what they believe are the oldest paintings of the faces of Yeshu’s apostles. The images in a branch of the catacombs of St. Tecla near St Paul’s Basilica, just outside the walls of ancient Rome, were painted at the end of the 4th century or the start of the 5th century. Archaeologists believe these images may have been among those that most influenced later artists’ depictions of the faces of Christ’s most important early followers. ‘These are the first images that we know of the faces of these four apostles,’ said Professor Fabrizio Bisconti, the head of archaeology for Rome’s numerous catacombs, which are owned and maintained by the Vatican. The frescoes were known but their details came to light during a restoration project that started two years ago and whose results were announced on Tuesday at a news conference. The full-face icons include visages of St. Peter, St. Andrew, and St. John, who were among Yeshu’s original 12 apostles, and St. Paul, who became an apostle after Yeshu’s death. The paintings have the same characteristics as later images, such as St. Paul’s rugged, wrinkled, and elongated forehead and balding head and pointy beard, indicating they may have been the ones which set the standard. The four circles, about 50 cm. in diameter, are on the ceiling of the underground burial place of a noblewoman who is believed to have converted to Christianity at the end of the same century when the emperor Constantine made it legal … The tomb, in a web of catacombs under a modern building, is not yet open to the public because of continued work, difficult access and limited space. Bisconti said the new discoveries will be made available for viewing by specialists for the time being.”