Caspari Center Media Review – September 13, 2011
During the week covered by this review, we received 6 articles on the following subjects:
Attitudes towards Jesus and Christianity
This week’s coverage focused on various expressions of Christian Zionism.
Attitudes towards Jesus and Christianity
Haaretz, September 9, 2011
Under the headline “Wanted: A few prophets of doom,” Benny Ziffer commented that “The only way for well-wrought catastrophes to succeed in arresting our awareness is for a sufficiently big nudnik to arise, one who will chew our ears off unremittingly about the magnitude of the significance of the specific disaster in question,” people needing to understand that otherwise 9/11 “is liable to become just a passing episode, a story told to children who don’t want to finish what’s on their plate. And it’ll go like this: ‘Daddy, did airplanes really come and knock down the Twin Towers in New York and a lot of people caught fire and fell out of them?’ ‘Is your nanny filling your head with that nonsense again? Of course not, my child. It’s just a movie. In real life, things like that don’t happen. My God! In the end, this kid will even believe Jesus was born of a virgin.’”
Matzav HaRuach, September 2; Jerusalem Post, September 11, 12 (x 3), 2011
According to a report in the Jerusalem Post (September 11), “In advance of Palestinian diplomatic moves at the United Nations next week, two of the leading Christian groups in Europe have joined forces to counter mounting pressure on the Jewish state. Christians for Israel International, headquartered in Nijkerk, the Netherlands, and the Brussels-based European Coalition for Israel, will hold joint protests on September 13 in The Hague and September 19 in Brussels, with the stated aim being ‘to defend Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the Jewish state of Israel’ … In recent months, the two organizations have convened high-level conferences in six European countries, where Dr. Jacques Gauthier, a Canadian lawyer and human rights advocate and author of the book Sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem, made the case for Israel to various European leaders and journalists. The groups have also published and distributed a series of articles in Dutch, German and English highlighting the legal, historical and biblical rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, which they have made available on a website aimed at Christians called www.whyisrael.org. And this week, the Christians for Israel’s German branch will deliver a declaration of support for the Jewish state to the German government which was signed by 40,000 people.”
The same paper a day later reported that “A bill circulating in the US House of Representatives that would strip the president of his power to waive a law requiring him to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem is gaining traction and bipartisan support amid a groundswell of Christian support for the measure … the combination of unprecedented grass-roots Christian support and an election year give the symbolic legislation – which is meant to show Congress’s unequivocal support for the State of Israel – its ‘best chance ever’ of passage in the House, legislators said … ‘Evangelical Christians are the most strategic ally the State of Israel has and we are finally understanding this,’ said Benny Elon, president of the International Israel Allies Caucus Foundation, and the hawkish rabbi who spearheaded Israel’s campaign to court Evangelical Christian support during his tenure as tourism minister. ‘Faith-based diplomacy is succeeding at a time when regular diplomacy is failing and this is because these people support Israel based on their faith and belief in the Bible,’ said Josh Reinstein, director of the Knesset’s increasingly influential Christian Allies Caucus.”
Another piece the same day (Jerusalem Post, September 12) noted that “The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem will be honored Tuesday evening at a gala ceremony in Haifa in recognition of the funding and assistance it has provided to an assisted-living facility for impoverished Holocaust survivors, run by the Yad Ezer L’Haver charity. The celebration will be attended by numerous dignitaries including Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, Minister of Interior Eli Yisha and Minister for Welfare and Social Services Moshe Kahlon. The ICEJ … gave close to $1.5 million for the expansion and renovation of the facility, raised primarily from German donors, which will now be able to house more than 100 survivors, and includes medical and dental clinics.”
A final article on the same day was contributed by Barry Rubin and explained “What Jews need to know about Christians”: “Most Jews today (or should I merely say many?), even the most secular, have a tremendous fear of Christians – especially fervent believers of the type represented today by Evangelicals – and conservatives. There is a material basis for this fear based on past Jewish experience. But it’s 2011; things have changed, and it’s time to reconsider these assumptions and see if they still make sense … there has also been a change among many Christians (especially those called Evangelicals) and conservatives toward a greater friendship regarding Jews and Israel. A key reason for this shift – and proof of its authenticity – are a set of transformations in the thinking of these groups. Before discussing the details, though, let me make it clear that Jews do not have to become conservatives or even agree with them – or with Evangelical Christians – on a wide range of issues. What is worthwhile, however, is to accept the offer of friendship on certain specific issues, respectfully disagree on others, and not demonize such people … A key element in anti-Semitism were Christian documents of Jews as the ‘suffering servant’ whose humiliation proved Christianity to be correct, and ‘replacement theology,’ which says that Jews are no longer the ‘chosen people,’ that this role has now been filled by Christians. These ideas have been widely abandoned by Evangelicals. There is a new interest in – and gratitude for – the Jewish roots of Christianity, and a view of Jews as fellows in a Judeo-Christian religious community. They are very much aware of Biblical verses that, for example, say that the creator of the universe will not bless those who attack or hate the Jewish people. There is also a real understanding of the history of the Holocaust and past anti-Semitism, along with a desire to make amends. While there are those seeking converts, of course, and some who believe that supporting Jews will bring Armageddon, these are largely outdated concepts.”
Matzav HaRuach (September 2) ran the recent story of the “black pope’s” visit to Samaria (see Review of August 30, 2011).