Caspari Center Media Review – August 2, 2011
During the week covered by this review, we received 6 articles on the following subjects:
Attitudes towards Christianity and Jesus
Christians in Israel
This week’s review included two examples of religious toleration – ancient and modern.
Attitudes towards Christianity and Jesus
Jerusalem Post, July 26, 2011
Shmuely Boteach in the Jerusalem Post (July 26) argued once again for a positive attitude towards Christian evangelicals: “The Christians United for Israel dinner in Washington, DC was an experience I won’t quickly forget. Until you sit in a room with five thousand Christian lovers of Israel and absorb their enthusiasm for the Jewish state and the Jewish people you would be hard pressed to think it possible … Sheesh. I could scarcely sit down. Nearly every line deserved an ovation … Shades of all colors were to be found in the audience with a smattering of yarmulkes dotting the landscape as well. Glenn Beck, the keynote speaker, is a Mormon even though the vast majority of participants were evangelical Christians who are often suspicious of Mormonism. An orthodox Rabbi gave the opening benediction. My friend Dennis Prager addressed the crowd the night before the banquet, and my friend Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, gave a moving historical account of Christians over the last century who were moved to support Israel based on Biblical teaching … ‘It’s not only the support we offer Israel,’ said Beck, ‘that matters. The reason for doing so is also important. We can’t do this because we think it will bring final salvation or for any other reason. Rather, it’s about love. Why did Ruth declare to Naomi, “Where you go I’ll go. You’re G-d is my G-d. Where you die I’ll die, and there I’ll be buried.” Because she loved her. This has to be about love.’ His words directly addressed the discomfort some Jews feel with Christian support for Israel as being based on end-of-days prophecy and a necessary precursor for the return of Christ. I sat there thinking, if only the Jewish community could offer such unequivocal support for Israel … In December of this year I will G-d willing be publishing my book, Kosher Jesus, through Gefen Publishers in Israel. It has been a project of more than six years research and writing. The book seeks to offer to Jews and Christians the real story of Jesus, a wholly observant, Pharisaic Rabbi who fought Roman paganism and oppression and was killed for it. While many Christians will be confused by its assertion that Jesus never claimed divinity and not only did not abrogate the Torah but observed every letter of the Law, they will find comfort in my tracing most of Jesus’ principal teachings back to Jewish sources, this before he was stripped of his Jewishness by later writers who sought to portray him as an enemy of his people. This is especially true of Jesus’ most famous oration, the Sermon on the Mount, which is a reformulation of the Torah he studied and to which he was committed … But the book is also for Jews who remain deeply uncomfortable with Jesus because of the Church’s long history of anti-Semitism, the deification of Jesus, and the Jewish rejection of any Messiah who has not fulfilled the Messianic prophecies. We Jews will forever reject the divinity of any man, the single most emphatic prohibition of our Bible. And we can never accept the Messiahship of any personality, however noble or well-intended, who died without ushering in the age of physical redemption. But as Christians and Jews now come together to love and support the majestic and humane Jewish state, it’s time that Christians rediscover the deep Jewishness and religious Jewish commitment of Jesus, while Jews reexamine a lost son who was murdered by a brutal Roman state who sought to impose Roman culture and rule upon a tiny yet stubborn nation who will never be severed from their eternal covenant with the G-d of Israel.”
The Marker, July 28, 2011
Under the headline, “This is how the State drives away foreign investors wanting to develop the Israeli tourism industry,” this piece noted that “For five years, a group of American evangelical investors have been trying to set up a huge tourism project north of the Sea of Galilee initiated by the Tourism Ministry – but have met with innumerable bureaucratic obstacles.” Here, indeed, it appears that the problems derive less from well-known Jewish opposition to Christian Zionism than to the no less famed Israeli bureaucracy.
Christians in Israel
BeSheva, July 28, 2011
This lengthy article interviewed the patriarch of a German community living in Migdal in the Galilee whose members came after the Second World War and “decided to join the Jewish people in order to try and repair their fathers’ crimes. “Gunther Gottschleck, today grandfather to 28 grandchildren scattered across the country from Mavo’ot Yericho to Beitar Illit, tells the unique life-story of a child shocked by his nation’s acts during the Holocaust, who decided to devote his life to contributing to the underprivileged in Israeli society. Among his endeavors: an old-age home where everyone pays the same and a factory employing disabled people whose profits are enjoyed by Israeli tourists.”
Zman Yerushalayim, July 29; Zman HaDarom, July 29; Israel HaYom, July 26, 2011
The first of these pieces (Zman Yerushalayim, July 29) was a lengthy feature on the recent discovery of a gold bell in the City of David (see last week’s Review).
The other two articles (Zman HaDarom, July 29; Israel HaYom, July 26) reported another archaeological find, this time of a stone altar at Tel Tzafit, the biblical site of Gath of the Philistines. This “rare” discovery is dated to c. 830 B.C.E., the period of King Ahab and Elisha the prophet, and possesses two horns on its front side and a cornice in the middle. “In form, the altar recalls the biblical descriptions – as for example, in Exodus: ‘… five cubits long and five cubits wide; the altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits. You shall make its horns on its four corners’ [Exod. 27:1-2]. According to the head of the archeological dig, Prof. Aren Maeir of the Land of Israel and Archaeology Studies at Bar-Ilan University, “‘It’s not every day we find items from the biblical times so closely related to items described in the biblical text.’ The most prominent difference [between the find and the depictions] lies in the fact that Gath altar has two horns while the altar in the Temple had four. The discovery attests, according to Prof. Maeir, to the cultural proximity between the two nations, traditionally cast as the most bitter of enemies in the Scriptures.”