During the week covered by this review, we received 4 articles on the following subjects:
Messianic Jews/Religious Freedom and Rights
Christians in Israel
Messianic Jews / Religious Freedom and Rights
Haaretz, September 13th, 2012
Haaretz reported on the precedent-setting ruling of Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court that ordered the Messianic moshav of Yad HaShmona to “pay damages to a lesbian couple after they refused to host the couple’s wedding [at their reception hall] for ideological reasons.” Yad HaShmona must pay the couple a total sum of 80,000 ILS in damages. Judge Dorit Feinstein said that “’the fines are intended to teach the public a lesson about the value of equality and tolerance.’” The couple planned a wedding reception at Yad HaShmona, but when the Messianic reception hall discovered that the couple was lesbian, they cancelled their reservation, because “according to their religious beliefs, homosexuality is an abomination.” Judge Feinstein ruled in favor of the lesbian couple, declaring that “’every person who opens a public business in Israel should know that they must serve the whole public equally, without discrimination, according to laws, which cover sexual orientation as well. As soon as the defendants opened their doors to all, they cannot close them for those who they believe do not meet the requirements found in the Bible or New Testament, thereby damaging their dignity and sensitivities.’” The judge went so far as to call the moshav’s behavior a form of sexual harassment since “’the plaintiffs were ridiculed because of their sexual orientation.’” The lawyer representing the couple said in a statement that “’despite the owners’ central claim that the reception hall is a religious space, the court decided that the principal of equality trumps the argument for freedom of religion and beliefs.’” Yad HaShmona has indicated that if they are required to hold same-sex marriage events at their reception hall, they will be forced to close their business.
The Jerusalem Post, September 10th, 2012
The article covered a recent demonstration held in Berlin by Jews, Muslims, and Christians protesting the criminalization of circumcision in Germany. The leader of the event representing the Jewish community in Berlin said that “the religious ritual is important for identity for young Jewish and Muslim boys.” According to the paper, “the ban on brit mila rocked German-Jewish relations and shined an uncomfortable spotlight on the justice system’s treatment of religious freedom in post-Holocaust Germany.” The head of the Turkish community in Germany, who also took part in the demonstration, said that “’the accusations of opponents of circumcision show the prejudices of some Germans, as well as the growing anti-Semitism and anti-Islamism’” in the country.
Globes, September 11th, 2012
The article reviews the most recent book by author Eyal Magad (Sof HaGuf) which examines the medical relationship between the physical and metaphysical. Of significance is a single reference to the New Testament, made by Magad when asked about his preoccupation with death and dying. Magad claims that everyone is in search for some kind of meaning, and that the preoccupation with death is what allows people to finally ask the right questions. Relating to the religious dimension of this search, Magad says, “’It is simple. There is a sentence in the New Testament, which is the greatest sentence, in my opinion, in the whole of Scripture, which is related to the story of who will be saved, and who will not. It ends with the verse – ‘whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ (Matthew 25:40). Everything you did for the helpless creature, you did for God. That’s the main point.”’
Christians in Israel
Zman HaSharon, September 9th, 2012
Advertising a special tour of Zichron Ya’acov, this “recommendations” column briefly mentions that there is “cult” of Israel-loving German Christians operating in the town. The group is mentioned as part of the article’s PR for visiting the place.