March 20 – 2012

Caspari Center Media Review – March 20, 2012

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

Attitudes towards Jesus and Christianity
Anti-missionary activities
Christian Zionism
Christian sites

This week’s review focused on Christian Zionist activities.

Attitudes towards Jesus and Christianity 

Yavniton, March 9, 2012

In light of the recent “postal strike” due to the fear of delivering “Christian missionary material,” Eli Ben-Gur notes that while the post office is obligated to deliver all mail sent via its services, the current controversy is over literature which is not being in sent in envelopes but unpackaged. Surely this is shooting yourself in the foot, he argues – and all to save money?! “And anyone who dislikes religious beliefs in general is surely not going to adopt the faith of Yeshua of Nazareth.” Likewise, if you want to persuade someone, use “objective-scientific-academic material, of which there is plenty – not missionary and not encouraging conversion but a review and analysis of beliefs and customs and their influence on the history of religious traditions and the world.”

Anti-missionary Activities

BeSheva Mitchalef, March 8, 2012

This brief note reported on the twenty Ramat Gan postmen who refused to deliver mail they claim to contain Christian missionary material (see recent Reviews).

Christian Zionism

Ma’ariv, March 18; Haaretz, March 19; Jerusalem Post, March 19, 2012

These three articles reported on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address of followers of John Hagee in Jerusalem this week: “American Evangelical pastor John Hagee – who heads the largest pro-Israel lobby group in the United States – half jokingly compared Benjamin Netanyahu to the Messiah on Sunday night, as he waited for the delayed prime minister to arrive at a Jerusalem hotel to address the crowd. ‘There’s a saying in Judaism about the Messiah – I know that even if he tarries, he’ll come,’ Hagee told hundreds of members of Christians United for Israel. ‘I know that the prime minister will come, and even if he tarries, he’ll come’” (Haaretz, March 19). For his part, Netanyahu “lavished praise on the Evangelical Christian movement, and on a mission of approximately 800 members of Pastor John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) organization, in Jerusalem on Sunday night. ‘Thank you for standing up for Israel,’ Netanyahu said to rapturous applause. ‘We are witnessing a dramatic transformation in the relationship between Christians and Jews, who are focusing now on the common values and the common future we both share.’ The prime minister also drew attention to what he described as threats to the Christian community across the Middle East, saying he was ‘proud that Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christians are free to practice their faith in complete freedom’ … CUFI executive-director David Brog said that supporting Israel was of special importance for Christians at this time … Christians, he said, do not believe that anything on earth can influence the messiah’s coming and that his arrival will be at a preordained time. Instead, he said, Evangelicals support Israel because of a literalist interpretation of the Bible that views the promises made to the people of Israel as still intact – as opposed to ‘Replacement Theology,’ which is widely held by many other Christian denominations and posits that the Christian Church inherited the biblical promises to the Jewish people. Brog added that this sentiment was combined with the belief that Israel’s cause was just, as well as a sense of indebtedness to the Jewish people in the wake of historic Christian anti-Semitism and persecution” (Jerusalem Post, March 19). Ma’ariv (March 19) noted that the convention marked the millionth person to become a member of the organization – the largest American Christian Zionist body, with more members even than AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee).

Christian Sites 

National Geographic – Traveler, March 11; Ma’ariv, March 15, 2012

The National Geographic – Traveler (March 11) featured a lengthy article on Nazareth, its New Testament background and history.

Under the headline “Yeshu online: Tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher without leaving the house,” Ma’ariv (March 15) noted that “a new portal has been opened under the supervision of the Pope which will enable Christians worldwide to visit the sacred sites on the web.”