During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the following subjects:
Christians in Israel
Christians in Israel
The Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2013, Makor Rishon, July 26, 2013
Representatives of the various Christian denominations in Israel met with international journalists this week to discuss “Christianity’s current state of affairs in the Holy Land.” There are 158,000 Christians living in Israel today, which is 2% of the total population. 80% of these are Arabs, the majority of which live in Nazareth, Haifa, Jerusalem and Shfaram. One of the Catholic representatives told the press that Christians in Israel are “having some difficulties in defining [themselves] in the Holy Land” because of their multi-denominational backgrounds. He added that since “understanding is the basis for coexistence,” then it is the Christian community’s goal “to promote further understanding of the Christian presence in the Holy Land.”
Other church representatives addressed a number of the challenges facing Christians in Israel, “including limited housing and job opportunities, a general misunderstanding about them among Israelis, and the peace process.” Father Pierbattisa Pizzaballa discussed the wrought history of Jews and Christians in the Holy Land, though he noted “a marked improvement [in relations] over the past 50 years. Even so, Father Pizzaballa conceded that the problems are still there, “because you can’t change the problems of 2000 years in 50 years.” He stressed that the Catholics have been in the Holy Land for 800 years, and “must be treated with greater legitimacy. Catholics are not foreigners here, they are citizens of Israel.” Regarding the ongoing issue of hate crimes against Christians, Pizzaballa stressed that if Israel doesn’t “denounce these issues when they happen they will continue.”
Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan told the journalists that “there is an alarming level of ignorance about Christianity in Israel due to generalizations propagated by the media. When I read in the Hebrew media about Christianity, I wonder if I’m Christian.” Regarding the peace process, Younan said: “We believe in dialogue of the 1967 borders, that settlements should stop, and right of return for refugees be granted.” Younan stressed the church’s desire for peace, saying that “we need a win-win situation and we must deal with this difficult situation now. Extremism will drop once there is a peace process. There is no other option – war is not an option.” Only when each side recognizes the humanity of the other, “will this truly be the land of ‘milk and honey.’”
BaKehila, July 18, 2013
This five-page article delves into the history of Second Temple siege on Jerusalem that is documented in the writings of Josephus. Recently, rare artifacts were discovered in a cistern in Jerusalem’s Old City testifying to the hardships the Jews endured just before the Temple was destroyed (for more information, see fourth Media Review in June). Archeologist Eli Shukron explains that “the more we uncover ancient Jerusalem’s underground drainage system the more we find traces of Jews who hid here in the city’s final days.” The oil lamp and cooking pots which were recently discovered probably belonged to a family that was eating one of their final meals together in hiding. Shukron adds that archeologist have always known about this underground drainage system from the writings of Josephus, “but we never thought that it had survived till our time. The generally accepted view was that it was destroyed when the city was destroyed.”
HaPeles, July 21, 2013, HaModia, July 25, 2013
Two articles reported on the announcement that work is being completed on an archeological site that is believed to be the palace of King David (see third Media Review for July).
Calcalist, July 22, 2013
In the recent talks between Secretary of State John Kerry and the Palestinian Authority, Kerry promised Mahmoud Abbas that the United States and Europe would help the PA in its economic development. Of interest is the PA’s plan to develop the north shore of the Dead Sea as well as build baptismal sites at some of the local springs in an effort to draw Christian pilgrims to the area. In anticipation of the large number of expected tourists, the PA also hopes to build an international airport near Jericho.
Makor Rishon, July 26, 2013
Makor Rishon reprinted the same article by Nathan Lopes Cardozo that appeared in The Jerusalem Post in May in which he examined the Christian roots of anti-Semitism (see first Media Review for May).