During the week covered by this review, we received 8 articles on the following subjects:
Arab Believing Community
Arab Believing Community
Yisrael HaYom, June 28, 2013
This two-page article dealt with the contentious issue of Christian Arabs joining the Israeli Army – a move supported by Father Nadaf from Nazareth. Yisrael HaYom managed to interview Father Nadaf before the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church forbade Nadaf from speaking to the press. Nadaf told the paper: “We want young Christians to be completely integrated into Israeli society, and this means carrying an equal share of the load. Our future as a Christian minority is wrapped up in the future of the State of Israel. We want to give more to society and do our part just like others do. … We want to connect with the Jewish society in Israel. We feel secure in Israel, see ourselves as citizens with equal rights and obligations. Most of the young Christians feel that this is their country. This is a test period. If our youth see that Israel is supporting their integration into Israeli society, the word will spread. But if the State turns its back on us, those who incite [against the State] will win.”
Father Nadaf has been severely criticized for his support of Christian Arabs who choose to join the IDF. So much so, in fact, that he receives death threats on a daily basis, he and his family are cursed while walking down the street, and petitions against him have been signed by Christians Arabs who oppose his view as well as Muslim Arabs and Palestinian leaders from the Territories. But Nadaf refuses to back down, warning the Israeli government that this is its chance to tap into a huge reservoir of potential army recruits. “Everyone,” he says, “is looking to see how the State of Israel is acting to protect the Christians. If people see that Israel is standing by Christians who are interested in integrating into Israeli society, the message will spread further.”
The Greek Orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem has given Father Nadaf a warning, and has banned him from speaking to the media. Speaking on behalf of Father Nadaf, Shadi Haloul told Yisrael HaYom that he hopes the State will recognize Christian Arabs as Israelis and step in and help them more. Says Haloul, “I ask all those who are inciting against us even from within the Christian community – what security are the Muslim Arabs offering you? Look how they are slaughtering each other in Syria and in the rest of the Arab states. Why should they care about us Christians? We need to take care of ourselves, and so far the only one offering us security is the State of Israel.” Haloul stresses, however, that Israel must understand the Christian Arab dilemma and respond appropriately: “The problem is that the State doesn’t understand the danger we are in. I am calling all the leaders and leadership – help us to become equal to the rest of the citizens of Israel. Don’t turn your backs. The Christians in Israel are loyal citizens who love the country and respect it.”
Yediot HaKibbutz, July 5, 2013
Arnon Lapid conducts a lengthy interview with Yaniv Kampi, a Messianic Jew currently living at Kibbutz Haon. Kampi tells Lapid how he became a believer when he read the verse in Jeremiah 31 that says, “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.’” Kampi explains that “Jeremiah is speaking in the name of God, declaring to the people of Israel that he will forgive them their sins in his new covenant with them. A new covenant – a new beginning.” Kampi was raised as a secular Jew, but at some point, he decided to believe in God. It was after he made that decision that the verse in Jeremiah jumped out at him: “I understood that God had made a covenant with me. He forgave me my sins and transgressions, and sent atonement for me through Jesus the Messiah. The verse in Jeremiah hit me like a personal message from God.”
That was twelve years ago. In the meantime, Kampi married a Christian woman from Yugoslavia and had three daughters. When asked why he doesn’t consider converting to Christianity, Kampi says it’s because “it is irrelevant. The Bible is Jewish. Not just the Bible, but also the New Testament was written by Jews, many years before Christianity. We attribute it to Christianity, but I know Jesus as a Jew.” Kampi is not afraid to speak about his faith, explaining to Lapid that when something good happens to you, “don’t you want to share it with others?” He adds: “I have a daily relationship with God.”
When asked if he is a Zionist, Kampi says, “Of course! It is totally clear. God promised the land to his people Israel. This is the land of our fathers. … Even my wife, who is not Jewish but Christian, believes this.”
Lapid’s concluding question is whether or not Kampi’s faith makes him a better person, to which Kampi responds in the affirmative. “My faith gives me God-like qualities: I am more moral, more compassionate, more ready to forgive people who have wronged me. I care about every person and it is important for me that everyone comes to know Jesus as his or her personal savior.”
Yediot Yerushalayim, July 5, 2013
This short snippet focuses on Daniel Cohen, a Jerusalem youth who answers a few questions about himself on the paper’s “profile page.” Of interest is the final question, in which Daniel is asked to reveal something about himself that the readers don’t know. Says Daniel: “I am a Messianic Jew. A Jew who believes in Jesus.”
Yediot Ahronot, July 2, 2013
The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem has opened a new gallery exhibiting 250 photographs taken between 1890 and 1939 by members of the original community. Of interest is a short paragraph detailing the history of the American Colony. The Colony was “made up of Messianic Christians, and at its peak it boasted 150 members.” Members of the Colony “came to Jerusalem at the end of the 19th century to prepare for the end times and anticipate Jesus’ return to the Mount of Olives.” But when Jesus failed to return, the American Colony slowly changed its focus, adapting itself to “Jerusalem’s changing reality” and becoming one of the biggest philanthropic organizations in the city. Eventually, the American Colony turned into the hotel that is still in operation today.
The Jerusalem Post, June 30, 2013
The paper ran a photograph of the Archbishop of Canterbury together with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Yediot Ayalon, July 5, 2013
The oldest and largest water system has been discovered at the Tel Gezer dig between Latrun and Ramle. The water system was actually discovered over 100 years ago, but access to it was blocked. Efforts to uncover the system are just coming to completion.
Yisrael HaYom, June 28; Hamodia, July 4, 2013
These articles report on the rare artifacts that were discovered in Jerusalem testifying to the hardships of the Roman siege of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.