December 9 – 2010

Caspari Center Media Review – December 9, 2010

During the week covered by this review, we received 12 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, anti-missionary activity, Christian Zionism, Christians in Israel, Jewish-Christian relations, archaeology, and the arts. Of these:

1 dealt with Messianic Jews

3 dealt with anti-missionary activity

1 dealt with Christian Zionism

2 dealt with Christians in Israel

2 dealt with Jewish-Christian relations

2 dealt with archaeology

1 dealt with the arts

This week’s Review contained a miscellanea of articles.

Messianic Jews

Haaretz, December 1, 2010


According to this report, “A year prior to Yakov ‘Jack’ Teitel’s arrest, the Shin Bet and the FBI were in close contact as part of an investigation into bombings targeting homosexuals, messianic Christians and left-wing figures, Haaretz has learned. Teitel was arrested on October 7. However, the initial exchanges on the case between the two security services on the case began in October 2008, when a Shin Bet officer, code-named Ariel, contacted the FBI with a request for assistance in the investigation. Eventually, the authorities would come to suspect Teitel as the person behind the bombings. Meanwhile, deliberations were held at the Jerusalem District Court Monday on Teitel’s case. Teitel has refused to cooperate with his attorney, saying he does not recognize the court’s authority and Monday it appointed two new defense lawyers, who are to respond to the charges against Teitel by next month … The FBI played a two-fold role. It had information on Teitel but also probed cases involving Americans who have been targets of terrorism. The FBI began investigating such instances in the 1980s with the help of local authorities, and its office in Tel Aviv covers incidents in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The head of the office met with Lea and David Ortiz, whose son Amiel was badly injured in a Purim package bomb believed to have been sent by Teitel in March 2008.”

Anti-missionary Activity

HaModia, December 2; BeKehila, December 2; HaMachaneh HeCharedi, December 2, 2010

These three articles all reported on the fact that Yad L’Achim has appealed to a “series of city mayors” for their aid in preventing “missionaries” from distributing literature and material in public places. In particular, the anti-missionary organization has suggested “exploitation of the city bylaw intended to preserve order and cleanliness, which forbids ‘the dissemination or distribution of posters in public places.’ ‘To the extent that the missionaries pass out tracts and other such material, ensure that the municipal law enforcement authorities take the appropriate steps against them, including imposing fines and taking them to court.’ The letter concludes with the words: ‘It is your privilege and duty to save souls from apostasy.’” The appeal has allegedly fallen on attentive ears, with Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem, and other incumbents replying that they would act in accordance with the request, only the Mayor of Tel Aviv refusing to accede to it, citing the fact that the Breslaver Hasidim enjoyed freedom of expression in distributing their literature in the city. Yad L’Achim protested the fact that the latter chose to make parallels between a “legitimate Jewish group in the State of Israel and destructive and dangerous missionary activity” and emphasized that Messianic Jews are not recognized as Jews by the State of Israel.

Christian Zionism

Haaretz, December 3, 2010

Under the headline “With Jewish groups skittish about settlement, Ariel looks to evangelical Christians for salvation,” this article reviewed the support given by Christian Zionists in America to the West Bank town – including an $8 million sports complex and a new $2 million National Youth Leadership Development Park which opened last spring. “Beyond the new park, the evangelical Christian influence in Ariel is palpable. Brochures about the city tout exchanges between American church youth and Ariel residents and a plethora of projects throughout the city that Christian groups have funded, including a children’s day care center and a community center for the elderly … Avi Zimmerman, executive director of the U.S.-based American Friends of Ariel, says the city has five close, ongoing relationships with American churches and has personal interactions with close to 10,000 other Christian evangelicals via e-mail, phone and visits. That number ‘is not nearly as high as it could be,’ he says. ‘There are 63 million evangelical Christians in the U.S. and we need to find better ways to reach them, because they are our closest allies. There’s a lot of potential there.’ Zimmerman says [city Mayor Ron] Nachman made courting Christian organizations a priority after it became clear Jewish groups from the U.S. were shying away from the settlement because of its location in the Samarian hill country. ‘We have a natural alliance with the Christian Zionist community,’ he said.

Christians in Israel

HaMevaser, December 3; Merkaz HaInyanim-Inyan Merkazi, November 22, 2010

The history and fate of the Falashmura was once again examined in depth in an article in HaMevaser (December 3).

Another lengthy article (Merkaz HaInyanim-Inyan Merkazi, November 22) was devoted to the “scandal” that the “Templars, who aided the Nazis and exploited every opportunity to interfere with the Jews, will be commemorated in a property sold this week which is destined to become the most ‘non-item’ in Tel Aviv … The site will house seven business centers, six residential highrises, and a hotel,” as well as some Templar buildings, transferred from their original location, in one of which “Eichmann lodged so that he could learn from the group’s leaders where the weakness of the Jews lay.”

Jewish-Christian Relations

HaModia, December 2 (x 2) (English edition), 2010

The first of these reports noted that “Representatives of the Amish community from the United States and Switzerland paid a visit to the Kosel [Western Wall] on Motzoei Shabbos, during which they asked the forgiveness of the Jewish people over their group’s silence during the Holocaust … According to an announcement issued by the office of the Rav of the Kosel, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Amish delegates saw great importance in coming to Israel and expressing their contrition, as well as declaring their unreserved support of the Jewish people and Israel … The Amish representatives also made a commitment that from on, they will loudly voice their support of the Jewish people, especially in the wake of the expressions of hatred by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”

The second addressed the issue of “The Pope and the Holocaust” in the wake of the recent publication of Benedict XVI’s book, recounting again some of the facts supporting/negating Pius XII’s role in saving Jews and concluding that, “It is possible that when the Vatican archives will finally be opened to the public and the full story of what steps the Vatican took on behalf of the Jews during the Holocaust will become known, the actions of Pius XII will appear in a somewhat better light than they do now. But for the tortured Holocaust survivors who feel that the pope could possibly have saved the lives of their parents, their siblings and their infant children and failed to do so, that is poor consolation.”


Chadashot Shekanu, November 26; Chadashodati – Haifa, November 26, 2010

According to this report, carried in both papers, archaeologists have discovered a 1,800-year-old bathhouse used by the soldiers of the Tenth Legion (Fretensis) of the Roman army who participated in the destruction of Jerusalem in the Old City. “According to Dr. Ofer Sion, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority … ‘The hundreds of terra cotta roof tiles that were found on the floors of the pool indicate it was a covered structure. The mark of the soldiers of the Tenth Legion, in the form of the stamped impressions on the roof tiles and the in situ mud bricks, bears witness to the fact that they were the builders of the structure. It seems that the bathhouse was used by these soldiers who were garrisoned there after suppressing the Bar Kokhba uprising in 135 CE, when the pagan city Aelia Capitolina was established. We know that the Tenth Legion’s camp was situated within the limits of what is today the Old City, probably in the region of the Armenian Quarter. This assumption is reinforced by the discovery of the bathhouse in the nearby Jewish Quarter which shows that the multitude of soldiers was spread out and that they were also active outside the camp, in other parts of the Old City’ … According to Dr. Yuval Baruch, the Jerusalem District archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority, ‘What we have here is a discovery that is important for the study of Jerusalem. Despite the very extensive archaeological excavations that were carried out in the Jewish Quarter, so far not even one building has been discovered there that belonged to the Roman legion. The absence of such a find led to the conclusion that Aelia Capitolina, the Roman city which was established after the destruction of Jerusalem, was small and limited in area. The new find, together with other discoveries of recent years, shows that the city was considerably larger than what we previously estimated. Information about Aelia Capitolina is extremely valuable and can contribute greatly to research on Jerusalem because it was that city that determined the character and general appearance of ancient Jerusalem and as we know it today. The shape of the city has determined the outline of its walls and the location of the gates to this very day.’”


Haaretz, November 30, 2010

The exhibition featuring “Vanilla Sex” scheduled to be shown at the Jaffa Museum has been cancelled due to protests from the local Christian community, among others (see last week’s Review), the directors not wishing to offend any religious sensibilities.