During the week covered by this review, we received 10 articles on the following subjects:
Religious Freedom and Rights
Yisrael HaYom, Haaretz, Makor Rishon, The Jerusalem Post, January 17, 2013
Jack Teitel, also known as the “Jewish Terrorist,” has been convicted by Jerusalem’s Magistrate’s Court of murdering two Palestinians and attempting to murder Messianic Jew David Ortiz. Teitel was also found guilty of aggravated assault for planting bombs at a number of locations, including Beit Jamal monastery near Beit Shemesh, “apparently after discovering that the monastery did missionary work. The explosive detonated and injured a tractor driver from Beit Jala who was working nearby,” reports Yisrael HaYom.
“Crucially,” says The Jerusalem Post, “despite Teitel saying that an ‘angel’ had controlled him, the court found that he was not insane and was ‘responsible for his actions,’ which made it more likely that he will get a maximum life sentence.” Yisrael HaYom added that “at one point during the trial, Teitel shouted at the judges, saying, ‘This brothel has no legitimacy to judge me. I only accept the judgment of the Torah. God is king.’”
In March of 2008, Teitel sent a bomb in a Purim gift basket to the home of David Ortiz, whom he believed was the leader of Messianic Jews. Instead, Ortiz’s 15-year old son Amiel opened the gift basket, which subsequently exploded, causing the youth serious injuries.
Teitel will be sentenced on the 13th of February.
HaModia, January 15, 2013
The Knesset’s Ethics Committee has reprimanded MK Michael Ben Ari for his conduct last July when he tore a New Testament in public. The Committee accepted allegations that Ben Ari’s act “severely offended the religious feelings of Christians and believers of other faiths in Israel and around the world, and incited to hatred and loathing . . . casting a black mark on the Knesset as a whole.” Ben Ari said in response that “he did not tear the Christian New Testament but acted to destroy missionary material [bound together with the NT] that was sent by a Protestant missionary body for the purpose of converting the Jews and obliterating them.”
The Ethics Committee examined the allegations and Ben Ari’s response to them and decided to reprimand him, explaining that in tearing the New Testament, he violated the Knesset’s ethical code of conduct.
Religious Freedom and Rights
The Jerusalem Post, January 13, 2013
The Jerusalem Post gave a report on the current status of American-Iranian pastor Seed Abedini who is in prison in Iran for his Christian faith. “Iranian authorities have threatened [Abedini] with death,” causing the US State Department to express “serious concern” about his situation. “We now know with certainty, from his own words, the brutality and life-threatening danger [Abedini] faces in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison.” The paper added that “Pastor Saeed’s case has been turned over to one of Iran’s ‘hanging judges’ [which] makes his circumstances more dire than ever.”
Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, an expert on the persecution of Christians in Iran, told The Jerusalem Post that “Abedini’s case was ‘an example of the insidious and perfidious policy of the Islamist dictatorship’ in Teheran, adding that ‘the main goal of the rulers is to intimidate Christians and Iranians who are interested to leave Islam and change their religion.’”
Shvii, January 12, 2013
“You thought Muslims hate Christians? Think again,” begins an article that aims to mock a recent string of statements made by Palestinian leaders that Jesus was a Palestinian. “This is a bit hallucinatory,” writes Hanan Greenwood, “considering the fact that Jesus was born 700 years before the first Muslim, and ignores the fact that for hundreds of years Muslims and Christians fought bloody battles because of their religious beliefs.” Instead, “it turns out that the Palestinian Authority wants to receive the so-called messiah and claim even the Christian heroes as its own.” Greenwood concludes that “while the Christian tradition and historical writers of this period describe Jesus as a Jew who lived in Israel, the PA consistently claims that Palestinians are the ones tied to Jesus. The only problem is that the Romans changed the name of Israel to Palestine only 136 years after the birth of Jesus. History? Facts?? You’ve made the Palestinians laugh.”
Maariv, January 13, 2013
This four-page article focuses on the life-story of Johannes Kneifel, a former Neo-Nazi who beat a man to death when he was 17 years old. Kneifel was imprisoned for his crime, and became a Christian while serving his sentence in a German jail. In an interview with Itamar Trebs-Tchelet, Kneifel admits that “anti-Semitism was definitely an issue” in his Neo-Nazi crowd. “Apart from the prejudiced opinion that the Jews control the world through their wealth, we thought it couldn’t be that Germany is helping Israel with finances and weaponry. Even though we didn’t know of any Jews living in our area, the image of the enemy was already embedded in our minds. Outwardly, some of us denied the Holocaust, but among ourselves we talked about the fact the [the Holocaust] was a good thing. We thought Germany needs to handle its enemies they way it handled the Jews and that the solution of extermination and concentration camps was something worth striving for.” Kneifel, who is about to be ordained as a pastor in the Evangelical church, says that “today it is hard for me to admit that I used to think this way. I just couldn’t see the value of people in the same way I couldn’t see my own worth.”
While in prison, Kneifel began attending chapel, mostly as a way to kill time. “But the priests spoke to us differently than what we were used to in prison. They saw our guilt and our regret but didn’t fall apart over it. They treated us as people who had erred but who still could have a future.” Kneifel decided to let God into his life instead of pursuing a life of crime, and subsequently became a Christian. When he was released from prison, and as part of his theological studies, he visited Israel. “It was a wonderful experience visiting the places mentioned in the Bible . . . I also visited Yad VaShem to see what the Jews went through at the hands of the Nazi regime, but what left me more stunned than anything else is the fact that in Israel there is so much racism between Jews and Arabs. For someone with a background like mine, this is very saddening.”
Kneifel spends a lot of his time working with youth on the extreme right. “For him it is a mission,” writes Trebs-Tchelet. “There are a lot of leaders who brought about the death of people,” explains Kneifel (referring, in this case, to the apostle Paul in the New Testament). “But they too received God’s forgiveness.”
Mazav HaRuach, January 11, 2013
A new find at the archeological site of the biblical city of Shilo “solves a biblical mystery and might complete the story of the destruction of ancient Shilo.” A broken vase and the remains of ashes from a fire confirm conjectures that Shilo was destroyed in the battle of Even HaEzer, which is narrated in the book of 1 Samuel. The two sons of Eli, the High Priest, were killed in that battle, subsequently leading to Eli’s death. Additionally, the Ark of the Covenant was taken by the Philistines. Evidence of the destruction of the city matches the timeframe of the biblical narrative described in 1 Samuel, as well the Psalms and the book of Jeremiah.
Kav Rakia, January 14, 2013
This four-page article focuses on Nazareth as a historical as well as modern tourist site. It highlights Nazareth’s unique qualities, including its religious sites, its culinary achievements, and the recent addition of an award-winning guest-house.