June 6 – 2012

Caspari Center Media Review – June #1, 2012

During the week covered by this review, we received 13 articles on the following subjects:

Messianic Jews
Anti-missionary activities
Christian Zionism
Jewish-Christian relations
Christian sites

This week’s review reported on the mental state of Ya’akov Teitel, responsible for placing the bomb which injured Ami Ortiz.

Messianic Jews

Jerusalem Post, May 30; Zman HaSharon – Herzliya, June 1; Kol HaIr – BeHadera – Netanya, June 4, 2012

Kol HaIr – BeHadera – Netanya (June 1) ran last week’s story about Israel College of the Bible.

Under the headline “Yeshu under the aegis of the municipality?,” Zman HaSharon – Herzliya (June 1) asked “What is the official logo of the Kfar Saba municipality doing on an invitation to a missionary conference being held in Australia in which a representative of the Messianic community in the city is participating?” The logo appears alongside that of the other (Christian) organizers of the events – held at the White House Community Church in Ferndale, Perth – apparently in honor of the participation of Tony Sperandeo, pastor of HaMaayan Messianic congregation in the city. “The municipality said that no approval had ever been given to the congregation or any other missionary body and clarified that it has no connection with the event. ‘This is an unlawful use of the municipality logo. The municipality regards this as a serious infringement and will use all the measures at its disposal.’” The law in question is that which protects the use of signs, passed in 1974 and designed to protect official signs and flags belonging to the State – including local municipalities. In speaking to an anti-missionary, the reporter endeavored to emphasize that there is freedom of religion in Israel and that there is no law against missionizing.

According to a report in the Jerusalem Post (May 30), “The Jerusalem District Court on Monday approved an unusual plea bargain made between the district attorney and lawyers representing Jack Teitel, and determined that Teitel had murdered two Palestinians and committed other violent crimes. Judges Zvi Segal, Moshe Hacohen and Moshe Yair Drori said that the court determined that Teitel committed the acts attributed to him in an amended indictment. The amended indictment includes ten of the original fourteen charges against Teitel, including two murders and two attempted murders, after the prosecution agreed to remove charges relating to attempted attacks which the authorities had foiled. While the judges found Teitel had committed the acts they did not formally convict him. Instead, the court will reconvene next month to determine whether Teitel was criminally responsible for his actions when he committed the offenses … Teitel’s lawyers are expected to argue that their client did not know right from wrong when he committed the acts, and therefore the court cannot impose a prison term. The prosecution is expected to argue that Teitel was responsible for his actions when committing the crimes. If the judges find that Teitel wa responsible for his actions, the court will likely impose a long prison term. The mandatory sentence for murder is life in prison.”

Anti-missionary Activities

Ashdod BeKoterot, May 23, 2012

Under the headline, “Whence did the missionaries set out? – from Ashdod,” this piece reported that “After they were met with persistent attempts by ‘Yad L’Achim’ activists  to stop their activity [in Ashdod], the missionaries tried their luck in nearby Ashkelon. What they didn’t know was that the ‘activists’ followed them there.” The article also claimed that, following a mass demonstration a year-and-a-half ago outside “the place which serves as the launching pad of the missionaries’ activities … a marked decrease has been noted in the missionary activity in the city. The blessed effect of this wonderful solidarity demonstration is still being felt today.”

Christian Zionism

Yediot Haifa, May 25; Kokhav Nesher, June 1; Jerusalem Post, May 29, June 4, 2012

Yediot Haifa (May 25) and Kokhav Nesher (May 25) both carried the story of Larry and Elizabeth Huch’s recent visit to the Bnei Zion hospital (see Review of May 21).

The Jerusalem Post (May 29) reported that “It’s become a mainstay of Saturday nights on the Ben Yehuda Street pedestrian mall in Jerusalem. Between the crowds of Israeli revelers and American teens at the frozen-yogurt shops, a group of Koreans singing hymns vies for attention. It’s one of the most public signs of Israel’s small but growing community of South Koreans, many of whom come to the Holy Land because they are evangelical Christians. Not far from Ben Yehuda, there is a Korean restaurant on nearby Shamai Street and five small Korean churches … While official estimates are hard to come by, South Korea’s ambassador to Israel, Ilsoo Kim, estimates that there are about 800 Koreans in about 300 families living in Israel. The number, he said, has been growing in recent years … Most Koreans in Israel are visitors to the country on multiyear student visas. Many study Bible at Israeli universities or at Holy Land University, a Christian graduate school that caters to Asians. Roughly 30 percent of Koreans are Christian. A handful have come to Israel to stay. Kim OK Kyung, 67, is a gregarious Korean-American transplant who arrived from New Jersey three years ago with her husband, a pastor, who had just retired from his church … Helen Kim, a sociologist at Whitman College in Washington State and a second-generation Korean-American who studies the relationships between Asians and Jews, said she is not surprised by the Korean identification with Israel. ‘There is a massive evangelical presence in Korea,’ she said. ‘There is a general acceptance or understanding and looking to as Jews as really smart, well-educated, financially strong people. For a country that has experienced a lot of economic and political change over such a short time that hasn’t always been on the upswing, it’s not surprising that they would look to Jewish texts and to the Jewish people as examples of a people that have weathered the worst of all storms for close to 6,000 years.’”

According to another piece in the same paper (June 1), “At the traditional Jerusalem Day reception hosted by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, executive director Juergen Buehler introduced Merv Watson as the person who first conceived of the idea of a Christian embassy, which, in its 30+ years of existence, has developed the scope of its activities and influence way beyond what its founding fathers ever imagined. ‘This is an answer to a dream,’ said Watson, who had toured the world hoping that his idea would inspire other Christians to realize the significance of Jerusalem as the spiritual, historic and political capital of the Jewish People and the State of Israel, and as a holy city of pilgrimage for Christians. ‘We didn’t need another church or synagogue but common ground where people could meet as friends,’ said Watson … Watson’s wife, Norma, organized the first Feast of Tabernacles gathering, even before the ICEJ had been established.”

Christian Sites

BeEmek u-ve-Rama, May 29, 2012

This article reported on the festal opening of the Gospel Trail.

Jewish-Christian Relations

Makor Rishon, June 1, 2012

According to this report, many American Jews are not interested in Christian support because “it is liable to augment the cultural ties between Jews and Christians and thus increase the number of mixed marriages.”


Jerusalem Post, May 30, 31, 2112

These two reports related to the fate of the “James ossuary” and the person who exposed it: “A Jerusalem judge will announce on Wednesday whether he has decided to order the destruction of a burial box that could have held the bones of the brother of Jesus and an inscribed tablet that could have come from the First Temple. At a Jerusalem District Court hearing in April, Judge Aharon Farkash said he might exercise ‘the judgement of Solomon’ and order both items to be destroyed” (May 30). A second piece, a day later, noted that “The Tel Aviv antiquities collector acquitted in March after a seven-year trial for allegedly faking the burial box of Jesus’s brother, an inscribed tablet that may have adorned the First Temple, and dozens of other valuable antiquities was sentenced on Wednesday to a month in jail and fined NIS 30,000 for three minor charges of illegal trading in antiquities and handling goods suspected of being stolen … Farkash, who had earlier threatened to order the destruction of the burial box, or ossuary, inscribed “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” a black stone tablet supposedly recording repairs to the Temple by King Jehoash in 800 BCE and other items seized from Golan, delayed a decision on the final ownership of the items, which could be worth millions of dollars” (May 31).


Haaretz, June 4, 2012

“An oratorio entitled ‘Christ’ is meant to bring the life of Yeshu according to the Christian tradition: from his miraculous birth, through the growth of his charisma and miracles and wonders, to his trial, suffering, and death … The oratorio, by Franz Liszt, will be performed for the time in Israel.” Asked whether he did not think that presenting such a piece to an Israeli audience was problematic, the conductor, Meir Minsky, replied: “‘No, if you understand that the game here is to come with an “open mind,” to let the experience come to us.’”