December 22 – 2010

Caspari Center Media Review – December 22, 2010

During the week covered by this review, we received 11 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, attitudes towards Christianity, Christian Zionism, Christians in Israel, and anti-Semitism. Of these:

6 dealt with Messianic Jews

2 dealt with attitudes towards Christianity

1 dealt with Christian Zionism

1 dealt with Christians in Israel

1 dealt with anti-Semitism


This week’s Review carried a report on the assault on Kaye Wilson – a former editor of the Media Review – and the death of her friend Christine Logan, attacked by two men while hiking.

Messianic Jews

Haaretz, December 20 (x 2); Jerusalem Post, December 20; Yediot Ahronot, December 20; Israel HaYom, December 20; Yom L’Yom, December 16, 2010

Kaye Wilson and her friend Christine Logan were attacked last Saturday, Christine not surviving the assault (Haaretz, December 20): “A female American tourist who was feared kidnapped by Arab assailants was found dead on Sunday in a forest outside Jerusalem, with multiple stab wounds and her hands bound behind her back. Police say the attack appears to have been politically motivated, but are also looking into possible criminal connections. There was no claim of responsibility, suggesting the assailants did not act with the backing of a terrorist organization … The tourist was identified as Christine Logan, 40. Police said she was American but that they did not know her hometown. Authorities began their hours-long search for Logan after children found a woman near Moshav Mata, southwest of Jerusalem, who had multiple stab wounds and hands tied behind her back. The woman, a friend of Logan’s named Kaye Susan Wilson, a 46-year-old Israeli citizen originally from Britain, told paramedics and police officers that she and Logan were assaulted by two Arab men while hiking at Khirbet Hanut, a nearby archaeological site. Gidi Bashan, a Jewish National Fund forester who questioned Wilson to pinpoint the location of the attack, said the incident was ‘a tale of bravery, in which she fought for her own life and that of her friend’ … Wilson, a Messianic Jewish tour guide who lives in Givat Ze’ev, said she escaped after pretending to be dead. She was stabbed 12 times in her back and chest and is being treated at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, where doctors said she was stable and fully conscious. Wilson said on Sunday that the attack began with a request for water. ‘We went off the path to go up this little hill,’ she said. ‘We sat down and suddenly two Arabs passed by who asked in Hebrew if I had any water. I told them “yalla, bye,” they left, but I felt that something wasn’t right.’ She suggested to Logan that they get back on the path and saw the men had come back. One was wielding what looked ‘like a bread knife with a serrated edge.’ She said Logan ‘became hysterical’ at the sight of the knife and that she warned her in English to keep quiet, to no avail. The men began to stab them. ‘It was clear that they came to kill,’ she added. ‘Who carries around a knife like that?’ A senior police official made a similar comment, saying, ‘With the victim having this many stab wounds, there’s no doubt that this is attempted murder.’ At one point, Wilson said one of the assailants took a Star of David chain off her neck, ‘then turned me around and stabbed me in the place where the Star of David had been.’ ‘I played dead,’ she said. ‘While I was lying there I heard my friend dying. Her breath was like bubbles. I waited two minutes … It was very hard for me to get up, but I managed to walk.’ Wilson walked to a nearby parking lot and saw a car with Israeli license plates, but it didn’t stop and she realized the passengers couldn’t tell the condition she was in. ‘I couldn’t scream because of my breathing, and the car started going,’ she said. ‘So I had to walk another 20 meters and there were children there, and I didn’t want to scare them with the blood, so I just turned around with my back to them so they could see that my hands were tied, and then they called the police.’”

Under the headline ‘Street smarts’ saved wounded victim” and the subtitle “Messianic Judaism community ‘in shock’; praying for recovery of tour guide stabbed in brutal attack,” the account in the Jerusalem Post (December 20) noted that “When Kay Wilson realized that the long, serrated knife hadn’t reached her heart, she stayed still and pretended to be dead, waiting for the attackers to leave. But her hiking companion, American Kristine Luken, 46, who had also been horrifically stabbed, couldn’t stop crying. The attackers turned back and killed her. ‘[Wilson] has a huge amount of street smarts, that’s what saved her at the end of the day,’ said Wilson’s friend David Pileggi, the director of Christ Church in Jerusalem’s Old City, whose organization runs Shoresh Tours, which provides study tours for Christians traveling in Israel and Eastern Europe. Wilson is a frequent tour guide for Shoresh, specializing in the Second Temple Period. Wilson recounted Saturday’s terrible events in the hills west of Jerusalem when she spoke with Pileggi by phone on Sunday morning. Wilson and Luken met in 2007 when both were participants on a study tour called ‘Walking with Jesus in His Jewish World,’ run by Shoresh and CMJ Israel, an organization that promotes Messianic (Christian) Judaism. Following the 2007 tour, Luken left a 16-year career at the US Department of Education and joined the staff of CMJ in England … The two went hiking on Saturday afternoon in the hills near Mata, midway between Tsur Hadassah and Beit Shemesh. The area includes part of the Israel National Trail and is a popular weekend destination for families. They brought Wilson’s small brown dog Peanut, who often joins Wilson’s tours and is very popular with clients. Peanut was found, unharmed, by rescue workers on Saturday night. Wilson came to Israel from Great Britain at age 16 with a very strong Zionistic identity, and is one of Shoresh’s most popular tour guides, Pileggi said. Wilson is also a jazz pianist who plays small clubs in Tel Aviv and has given lectures on the impact of Jews on jazz. ‘She endears herself very easily to people, and she’s one of the best spokespeople for Israel that I’ve ever met, explaining the country, undermining the core of anti-Semitism, and giving people a balanced understanding of very complicated political situations,’ Pileggi said. The CMJ community was stunned by the tragedy. ‘We’re a community, we’re not only in shock, we’re in mourning,’ Pileggi said. ‘We’re praying for Kay’s improvement and speedy recovering, and working to do everything we can to help her and help [Luken’s] relatives.’”

In another lengthy article (Yediot Ahronot, December 20), Kaye was reported as saying, “‘I don’t know why they did this, all they asked for was water and we told them we hadn’t any. But no one walks around with such a large knife just like that. I’m sure that they intended to murder. By chance it was us there.” This piece also gave some information concerning the history of CMJ, quoting at length from Christine’s diary with regard to her love for Israel and her decision to work with CMJ.

Haaretz (December 20; Hebrew edition) noted that “Yesterday dozens of people came to visit Wilson in hospital, many of them members of the Messianic Jewish community in Israel. Apart from them a large number of police detectives also came. With the aid of the description given by Wilson, the police hope to assemble a profile of the assailants. Liat Bivin, a friend of Wilson’s, stated that: “Kaye is full-time tour guide, an excellent ambassador for Israel who made aliyah from Britain. She is in stable condition and is dealing with the shock and wounds. She really struggled with the assailants, until she reached the conclusion that in order to survive she needed to pretend to be dead – that’s what saved her life. We hope that she will make a full recovery and that the detectives will find the murderers.’”

Salo Capusto, Liat Bivin’s father, was also quoted (Israel HaYom, December 20) as saying: “‘Kaye is a Zionist who came to Israel alone and belongs to a Messianic Jewish congregation. This is a very difficult trauma for her.’”
Christine Logan (the name was originally published as Kristine Loken, 45) was an American Christian who, after working for 16 years in the US Department of Education, moved to Britain to work with CMJ. Although Israel HaYom reported that she on this visit to the country she had taken the initial steps towards making aliyah, Yediot Ahronot said she was thinking of making Israel her home. While the Jerusalem Post indicated that the two met on a “Walking with Jesus in His Jewish World” Shoresh tour, the other reports stated that they became acquainted on a CMJ trip to Polish concentration camps. May her memory be blessed.
Yom L’Yom (December 16) carried last week’s story of the two Messianic Jews who left the congregation in which they had been long-time members and sought help from Yad L’Achim.

Attitudes towards Christianity 

Yerushalayim TIMEOUT, December 16 (x 2), 2010

Both these articles relate to items associated with Christmas. The first is an invitation to visit Bethlehem: “In honor of the festival celebrating Yeshu’s birth which begins this week, Beit Shmuel [associated with the Reform movement] invites you to the place where it all started: Bethlehem, an ancient Jerusalem suburb, which has been closed to Israeli tourists for a decade. There you will be able to see the city clothed in snow via all sorts of Christians, huge trees, and dolls suited out in red costumes. The tour includes observation from Tantur overlooking the city and a visit to the Cremizan monastery, the Church of the Nativity, and other sites of historical, cultural, and geographical significance in the city … Don’t forget to dress modestly … Merry Christmas! ‘The Bethlehem You Don’t Know.’”

The second includes “The largest tree” in a long list of “Jerusalem records”: “The olive trees in Gethsemane. Jerusalem has many olive trees planted in various corners. The courtyard of Gethsemane contains an orchard of ancient olive trees estimated to be around 800-1200 years old. According to the Christian faith, these are the trees amongst which Yeshu spent a night in prayer before his trial and crucifixion, hence their great sanctity. These huge trees are described already in the writings of seventh-century pilgrims.”

Christian Zionism

Milonaim, November 30, 2010

This brief piece noted that “Around 7,000 Christians friends of Israel from a hundred countries across the globe celebrated Succot in Jerusalem. The Ministry of Tourism aided and accompanied the Succot conference and operated an information booth at the ICC. Tourist Minister Stas Misezhnikov reported that the Ministry of Tourism is making great marketing efforts to bring Christians to Israel within the framework of brand-naming Israel as the Holy Land, with Jerusalem being the focal point. The contribution made by the conference is estimated at twenty million dollars and tens of thousands of nights in hotels.”