September 23 – 2012

During the week covered by this review, we received 5 articles on the following subjects:


Jewish-Christian Relations
Christian Tourism
Christian Sites


Jewish Christian Relations

The Jerusalem Post, September 16th, 2012

In an op-ed which follows-up on the vandalizing of the Latrun Monastery by right-wing extremists (see second Media Review for September), Eugene Korn, director of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding, reflects on the relationship between Jews and Christians today. He begins his article by quoting God’s command to Moses in Deuteronomy 23:8: “Do not hate the Egyptian, because you were a stranger in his land,” and then asks – why should the Jews not hate those who wronged them? There are several reasons, says Korn. First, because it is simply better to focus on the present than to dwell on things of the past. But more than that: “To be free, you must let go of hate . . . Hatred corrupts our individual and collective souls [and] prevents us from building positive goals and devoting ourselves to building the society so necessary to the ethos of the Jewish people.”

Korn relates this anecdote to current Jewish-Christian relations, claiming that some Jews today are still trapped in their (historically based) hate of Christians. “But,” says Korn, “Christianity and Christian religious leaders today are no longer enemies of the Jewish people. It has been nearly 60 years since the Catholic Church changed its theology and policies toward the Jewish people and Judaism.” So, for example, “in 1994, the Vatican established diplomatic relations with Israel and today no Catholic institution or group has a mission to convert the Jews.” Korn writes that the attack on the Latrun Monastery is “an example of hate enslaving us, since the Latrun monks have nothing to do with the grievances of the perpetrators.” Instead of focusing on those who are no longer the Jews’ enemies, Korn suggests Jews turn their attention to defeating real existential threats, for “we cannot afford to be distracted by false demons.” He concludes by saying that, “like Pharaoh and his army, the Christian enemy is relegated to the past. We need to understand this and accept those Christians who honestly seek to atone for violent Christian history and wish to befriend us . . . To be strong nationally and healthy spiritually, we should heed the commandment of Moses and let go of our misplaced hatreds and demons. They bring only a profound darkness to our individual and national souls.”


Christian Tourism

Haaretz, September 16th, 2012

This two-page article focused on the growing industry of independent tourism in Israel and the way it is catering to a variety of groups, including Christians. Of interest is a short section in which entrepreneur Maoz Yanoun relates how he was involved in developing the “Jesus Trail,” which is a 65 kilometer walking trail in the Galilee that connects a variety of sites relating to the life of Jesus. Yanoun claims that shortly after the trail opened to the public, the Ministry of Tourism, which had initially supported the Jesus Trail, announced that it will be opening another trail – the Gospel Trail – independent of the former. Yanoun claims that their main reason for doing so is to enable the Gospel Trail to by-pass all Arab villages. In response, the Ministry of Tourism has said that “the Gospel Trail does not go through any village – Jewish or Arab – and besides, no one really knows where exactly Jesus trod on his way from Nazareth to Capernaum, and since the Ministry is committed to historical accuracy, we cannot deceive the public that this is the way of Jesus.”



Haaretz, September 19th, 2012, Yisrael HaYom, September 20th, 2012

Two articles dealt with the unveiling this week of a fourth-century fragment of papyrus that indicates Jesus had a wife. Haaretz reported that “Karen King, an expert in the history of Christianity, said the text contains a dialogue in which Jesus refers to ‘my wife,’ whom he identifies as Mary.” Another line in the fragment quotes Jesus as saying that Mary “can be my disciple.” Experts who have examined the fragment “said their study of the papyrus, the handwriting and how the ink was chemically absorbed shows it is highly probable it’s an ancient text” and that there is “no evidence of forgery.”

Yisrael HaYom quoted King as saying that “the fragment in no way proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the leader of the Christian faith was married, but shows, rather, that some of his first followers viewed him and Mary as a married couple.”


Christian Sites

Yaldei Teva HaDvarim, September 4th, 2012

This seven page article, written by a young girl from Haifa for a children’s magazine, relates her family’s four-day visit to Jerusalem. Of interest is her brief description of the family’s visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where she writes: “I asked daddy who is Jesus [Yeshu]. He told me that Jesus was a Jew who lived 2000 years ago. The Christians believe that Jesus was the son of God. The Christians believe that the Romans killed and crucified Jesus to atone for the sins (bad things) of all people. There [in the church], according to their belief, Jesus was buried, and they also believe that he was raised again to life after three days. According to the Christians’ belief, Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection took place where they built this church, which is why it is holy for most Christians.”