June 15 – 2011

Caspari Center Media Review – June 15, 2011

During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the following subjects:

Attitudes towards Christianity
Christian Zionism
Christian tourism
Book review

This week’s review was again a sparse miscellanea.

Attitudes towards Christianity

HaModia, June 10; Gal Gefen, June 9, 2011

HaModia (June 10) carried the story of the Jewish British soldiers to be moved to Jewish cemeteries (see June 2, 2011).

Itamar Cohen commenced his “trail of the week” around the northern Sea of Galilee with a visit to the place where “Yeshu worked and thus several Christian sites have been built here. This time we will visit the Mount of Beatitudes because of the beautiful view overlooking the Sea of Galilee” (Gal Gefen, June 9).

Christian Zionism

Pnima, June 5, 2011

In a lengthy article devoted to Mina Fenton, former Jerusalem Councilwoman and fervent “anti-missionary,” Tamar Tzror examined the question of Jewish use of Christian (evangelical) money: “There are hundreds of Christian organizations in Israel working to realize the ‘good news’ – the Christian vision of redemption which includes the perishing of the Jewish people, quite literally. Mina Fenton … is putting on the public agenda the existential threat posed by the financial crusade being furiously waged today. Hundreds of years ago, the Christians embarked on a series of military crusades from Europe to Eretz Israel … Their route to the holy land was strewn with Jewish blood, whole communities being wiped out … Today, Christian ‘friends of Israel’ are giving millions of dollars to the citizens of the State, thereby buying their hearts and ability to determine decisive questions … According to a Yad L’Achim report, there are hundreds of Christian bodies, organizations, and foundations in Israel. Across the country, around 150 Messianic congregations operate, some of which are dedicated to outreach to Jews and conversion, around thirty of these being located in Jerusalem. Their members call themselves Messianic Jews, Hebrew Christians, Jews for Yeshu, and other names. These congregations are supported by large organizations and bear Hebrew names: Maoz (a large congregation in Tel Aviv), Dugit, Redemption of Israel, Mishkan, and so forth. The estimate is that around 20,000 Jews have converted and now belong to this movement. Like an octopus, Christianity extends its tentacles into virtually all areas of life in the country: welfare, aliyah, absorption, education, and culture.” The article also lists bodies in Israel who have received money from Christian evangelicals, including Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Efrat, although the remainder are all Christian institutions!

Christian Tourism

Chadashot Taiyarut, June 2, 2011

According to this report, “The chairman of the largest group of Christian broadcasters in the world, Dr. Frank Wright, and eleven members of the organization will arrive in Israel on Sunday (5 June) for an 8 day pilgrimage as guests of the Tourism Ministry. During the visit, the delegation will hold its annual planning meeting for the first time in
Israel; meet with the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Tourism
Minister Stas Misezhnikov and leading members of the Israeli tourism
industry … Their impressions and photographs from the tour will be uploaded to the Tourism Ministry’s website and YouTube channel in order to encourage tourism and pilgrimage to Israel among the Christian community worldwide … The visit of this senior delegation is part of the Tourism Ministry’s marketing activities designed to position Israel as the Holy Land with Jerusalem at its center and to encourage Christian tourism, in all its
denominations, to Israel. In 2010, 3.45 million tourists visited Israel (a
record-breaking year), with Christian tourism representing about 70% of all
incoming tourism. Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov: ‘Christian tourism to Israel, in all its
denominations, represents one of the central anchors for incoming tourism to
Israel and one in which the ministry focuses its marketing efforts. In the
coming year, we will place special emphasis on increasing cooperation with
leading opinion formers and community leaders in the Christian world,
especially among the Evangelical community, in order to realize the tourism
potential of this community that numbers hundreds of millions of believers
around the world.’”


Jerusalem Post, June 13; Kav L’Moshav, June 9, 2011

Archaeologist excavating at Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Elah Valley have reported the discovery of some of the earliest coins ever found in Israel. “The discovery was reported by Yoav Farhi, a doctoral candidate from the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, at the 37th Israel Archaeological Congress held on Thursday [April 14, 2011] at Bar-Ilan University. The coins were from the Persian and Hellenistic periods, the fourth and fifth centuries BCE, about a hundred or more years after the return from exile and the building of the Second Temple. The land was under Persian rule until 332-333 BCE, when the area was conquered by Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic period began … ‘These are the first coins ever minted in the Land. Before then no coins were minted here. The world’s most ancient coins were minted in Lydia in Asia Minor in the 7th century BCE. The coins uncovered in Khirbet Qeiyafa are from the earliest in the Land … Coins that were minted in the Land are very rare. All are made of silver and generally are very very small – with a diameter of about 7 mm. and a weight of less than half a gram. However, there are also coins that are slightly larger. But because they are so small they are hardly ever found in organized excavations,’ explained Yoav Farhi” (Kav L’Moshav, June 9).

According to a brief note in the Jerusalem Post (June 13), “For the first time in the history of the study of Acre in northern Israel, a public building from the Byzantine period – dating back some 1,500 years – has been exposed in the city, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Sunday. ‘The size of the building, the impressive construction, as well as the finds … all point to a public structure (possibly a church) that served the bishop of Acre’s city in the Byzantine period,’ Nurit Feig, the excavation director said.”

Book Review

Globes Lady, June 7, 2011

One of the books included in the Globes Lady book review section this week (June 7) was one entitled “The Most Beautiful Churches in Israel”: “There’s something in religion that reinforces self-confidence. The knowledge that someone up there is looking out for you and that there’s a supporting community here below helps people to cope with reality. Representatives of the Christian community in Israel administer hundreds of churches which convey this message, 50 of which have been collected into a book called ‘The Most Beautiful Churches in Israel’ by David Rapp … This is a fascinating book, even if you can’t use it as a guide book. Instead of practical instructions and opening hours, you’ll find in it theological explanations and historical narratives alongside quotes from the New Testament and the Tanakh. Thus, for example, in the chapter devoted to the Franciscan Church of the Transfiguration located at the top of Mount Tabor, Rapp recounts the formative event in the New Testament and cites a text from the Gospel of Mark. In other chapters, he describes the confidence the monks hold in their divine office and the reality which conflicts with this confidence.