February 3 – 2013

During the week covered by this review, we received 8 articles on the following subjects:


Arab Believing Community
Jewish-Christian Relations
Missionary Activity
Political Issues
Conversion to Christianity/Judaism


Arab Believing Community

Globes, January 30, 2013

In this three-page article, Danny Koshmero takes the readers on a journey through Nazareth, reflecting on the current status of the Christian Arab community living there. He writes that “most of the Christian Arabs living in Israel reside in cities up north, and Nazareth is the one that stands out the most. Once, the Christians there were in the majority, but today they comprise only a third, the other two thirds of the city being Muslims. The Christian Arabs are in a higher socio-economic bracket than their Muslim brothers.” And yet, “the Christian Arabs in Israel are a dying breed . . . In 1948 there were about 150,000 Christian Arabs in Israel, and 65 years later, that number remains unchanged.” In other words, the numbers are in decline.

Speaking to Bashara, a Christian Arab who is also a patriotic Israeli, Koshmero highlights the complexities involved in being both a Christian Arab and an Israeli. Bashara’s son served in the Israeli army, but when the father wanted to throw him a “release party,” he could not find a single events hall in all of the Nazareth that would agree to host the event. Instead, he had to relocate the celebration to the Jewish side of the city, where one of the priests attending the event had his tires slashed. There are other examples of the tensions that exist between the Muslim and Christian Arabs in the city, like the story of the church of Saint Gabriel’s, which had to relocate its monks to another location after the mosque next door, whose speakers were facing directly into the monastery, consistently disturbed the peace with the extra loud calls to prayer. In that instance, writes Koshmero, “Mohammad beat Jesus.”

“If I didn’t have a business here, I would have left long ago. There is nothing for the Christians here,” one young Christian Arab tells Koshmero. He adds: “We Christian Arabs are always suffering in silence. We are constantly targeted, and nothing is done about it.” In response, Koshmero writes sarcastically, “and I thought that the Jews had copyright of that statement.”

Koshmero concludes his article by writing that “it seems that Israel is losing this quality minority, and that the state can do more to connect this population which has produced judges in the Supreme Court, poets, and scientists – the minority that doesn’t feel it belongs.”


Jewish-Christian Relations

The Jerusalem Post, January 28 [X2], January 29, 2013

Three articles reported on the seventh annual “Night to Honor Our Christian Allies” awards ceremony that took place on Monday in Jerusalem. The awards were given out by the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus and the World Jewish Congress in an effort to recognize “Christians who have been steadfast in their commitment to Israel.” The recipients this year include Dr. Petra Heldt, director of the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity in Israel, and Apostolate Rene Terra Nov, leader of the International Restoration Ministries in Manaus, Brazil.

This initiative was launched in 2004 and was “founded on the principles of faith-based diplomacy” in order “to save [Israel] from perennial isolation” and “build direct lines of communication, cooperation and coordination with Christian leaders around the world.” The KCAC, which was formed in 2007, “sought not only to foster ties between Knesset members and Christian parliamentarians, often in countries where no Jewish communities exits, but also to be pro-active in developing legislation that would support and embolden the Jewish state.” To this end, “the KCAC has become the most influential weapon in Israel’s foreign affairs arsenal.”

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Apostolate Terra Nova said that the “Evangelical community . . . is ‘willing to be an army to fight for Israel.’” Terra Nova is convinced “that the Jewish community has ‘a fundamental role on this planet,’” which is why his mission is to bring as many Christians to Israel as he can so that they “’leave this country in love and become ambassadors for Israel.’”

Addressing his Christian counterparts, Josh Reinstein, director of the KCAC,  writes: “Thank you for your steadfast support and unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel and the wellbeing of its people. We are truly not alone.”


Missionary Activities

HaShavua BeYerushalayim, Janaury 30, 2013, Sha’a Tova, January 31, 2013

Two papers ran the story of how “N,” a religious Jewish woman with a difficult life-story, was saved from the clutches of two missionary women who had been visiting her home for six months while trying to convert her. The articles claim that the two women took advantage of N’s hardships to lure her into their net. During their weekly visits, the missionaries told N that it is no longer necessary to keep the Jewish laws, and when N repeated this information to a religious phone sales representative, the representative immediately contacted Yad L’Achim to alert them to the situation. Yad L’Achim then contacted N “and made clear to her that these were not Jewish women [visiting her home] but missionaries. They quickly made an appointment to see her, and during their meeting with her (which lasted into the night) they showed her how she had been led her astray in recent months.” N was stunned, and, according to the articles, burst into tears and said: “Only now do I understand that these women actually wanted to convert me and turn me into a Christian.” N subsequently cut all ties with the missionary women, and Yad L’Achim has stamped this file with as a “case closed.”


Political Issues

Makor Rishon, January 27, 2013

Four hundred pastors, members of Christians United For Israel (CUFI) will be meeting with members of the US Senate to lobby against the appointment of Chuck Hagel as the secretary of defence in President Obama’s new government. David Brog, CUFI’s executive director, said: “We’re concerned not only that Hagel is a poor choice when it comes to Israel – frankly, we believe he’s a poor choice when it comes to America and American security. The number one security threat to America today is an ascendant and potentially nuclear Iran. And Hagel has demonstrated a consistent pattern of opposing economic sanctions on Iran, opposing diplomatic pressure on Iran, opposing the further isolation of Hizbullah, opposing recognizing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as the terrorists they are.” “In addition,” said Brog, “one cannot ignore Hagel’s anti-Israel and anti-Jewish remarks,” referring to a statement made by Hagel about the Jewish lobby and its influence in Washington, where he said: “I am a Senator of the United States of America, and not of Israel.”


Conversion to Christianity/Judaism

Maariv, January 27, 2013

In this two-page article, Rabbi Avraham Krieger writes about Jews who abandoned their Christian cover during the Holocaust and chose instead to return to Judaism and face the consequences of their actions. “Many times,” writes Krieger, “we hear reports of Jews who ran away from Judaism, survived [the Holocaust] and were saved . . . But we don’t hear enough about the opposite cases where people insisted on keeping their Jewish identity, even when it was clear to them that in so doing they were letting go of their chance to be saved.” Krieger cites as an example a document written by Dr. Friedriech Eisner – a Viennese Jew who converted to Christianity but was still sent to the Warsaw Ghetto on account of the Nuremberg Race Laws. It was in the Ghetto that Eisner decided to return to his Jewish roots, signing a document that stated as much and was approved by the local rabbis. Eight months after this ceremony took place, Eisner was sent to a death camp, where it is assumed he was exterminated. “These Jews,” writes Krieger, “faced their absolute truth under the most extenuating circumstances and preferred this truth to living. When life loses its true value, it becomes crystal clear that what is important is your identity, which cannot be lost in any reality.”