During the week covered by this review, we received 16 articles on the following subjects:
The Pope and the Vatican
Yediot Yerushalayim, November 1, 2013
This article reports on the removal of Café Forte’s kashrut certificate on the grounds that the coffee shop, located in the Klal building in Jerusalem, is engaging in missionary activity (see the October 20, 2013, Media Review).
Journalist Moshe Heller visited the coffee shop, which was full, and asked some of the people sitting there for their opinion on the matter. Most of them, he reports, “were completely unimpressed by Yad L’Achim’s protest.” One diner told Heller that he has never been proselytized, though he sits at the coffee shop often. “It is possible,” he adds, “that one of the diners talked to a coffee shop worker about religious matters, but on his own initiative, or that Yad L’Achim is trying to prevent Christian businessmen from opening businesses in the middle of Jewish Jerusalem.”
A representative for the coffee shop confirmed that the place is owned by an evangelical Christian businessman, “but he is not associated with the mission, and no such activities take place at the coffee shop.”
HaMekomon Petach Tikva, November 6; Yediot Petach Tikva, November 8, 2013
Hundreds of New Testaments were distributed to people’s mail boxes in religious and Orthodox neighborhoods in Petach Tikva. Some residents said in response: “Look where we have come to! There are cult members or Christian missionary activists walking about in our homes trying to preach and provoke.” According to the article, the New Testaments were published by the Bible Society in Israel, “although they were distributed by anonymous people interested in promoting Christianity.” Another resident told the paper that he collected all the books from his neighbors’ mailboxes and intends to destroy them. “Nobody here will be preaching Christianity at us, God forbid. That’s getting into people’s personal lives and that’s dangerous.”
The Pope and the Vatican
Mishpaha, November 7, 2013
This two-page article focused on the difficult relations between Israel and the Vatican concerning the distribution of land in Jerusalem – much of which is under the jurisdiction of Christian churches. The article suggests that the fact that the Catholic Church owns so much of the land in and around Jerusalem ought to be a cause for concern for many of the city’s inhabitants. “Many perhaps don’t know it, but they are living in houses built upon land that belongs to Christian churches that is currently being leased out to governmental and private entities.” These leases, writes Aharon Granot, are about to expire in the coming years, and their renewal “depends only on the goodwill of the relevant church authorities.” Even the Knesset itself is built upon land that belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church. “What will happen to the government,” asks Granot, “if the patriarchy refuses to extend the lease?” The fact that so much land is owned by various churches places them in a position of disproportionate power.
At the heart of this issue lies a piece of land that is more contentious than all the rest: King David’s Tomb. The upper room of the tomb was bought by the Franciscans in the 13th century, but was confiscated by the Muslims when Christians and Jews continued to clash there. In later years it fell into the hands of the British Mandate, and ended up in Israel after the 1948 War of Independence. But the Catholics maintain that the upper room belongs to them – hence the ongoing dispute between Israel and the Vatican.
Yom L’Yom, October 31, 2013
This article reported on Rabbi Miller’s efforts to stop the government from handing over a number of holy sites to the jurisdiction of the Vatican (see the October 20, 2013, Media Review).
Yediot Ahronot, November 7, 2013
In preparation for the “Open Doors” event taking place in Jerusalem this weekend, the paper presents a list of places worth visiting in the city. Of interest is the mention of Beit Avinu, a house built in the late 19th century by Jerusalem’s Protestant bishop. Later, the house was rented by a variety of people, including Miss Mary, a Christian pilgrim who turned the house into a temple for all faiths. “Since the 1970s the house has been used as a Messianic spiritual center and Messianic Jews live there.”
Yisrael HaYom, November 8, 2013
This article makes reference to Arab MK Jamal Zahalka’s remarks earlier this week in which he compared Israelis to the Crusaders in the sense that the Crusaders came and went, as will the Israelis. The Temple Mount, therefore, will return to the Muslims, as it has always done in the past.
Maariv, November 5, 2013
Archeologists from the University of Haifa and Tel Aviv University have teamed up in an effort to find the remains of a Crusader port just north of Herzliya. The port was situated near the fortress of Apollonia, although researchers are unsure if there actually was a proper sea port in this location or if the (now under water) structure served a different purpose.
Sof HaShavua, November 8, 2013
Meital Sharabi recommends a weekend visit to Tel Hazor and Korazim – archeological sites with rich histories and biblical significance. Korazim, writes Sharabi, “draws a large number of Christian pilgrims as well, since the town is mentioned in the New Testament when Jesus cursed its inhabitants because they refused to receive his teaching.”
Maariv, November 3; The Jerusalem Post, November 4, 2013
A recent survey carried out by the Anti-Defamation League in the United States shows that 26% of Americans still believe that the Jews killed Jesus. “This is in spite of the fact that the Vatican has already said that they do not blame the Jews for [Jesus’] death.” On a positive note, the number has gone down by 5% since the last time the same survey was carried out several years ago.
Yisrael HaYom, November 8, 2013
In this two-page article, Nadav Shragai reviews a book by psychiatrists Prof. Eliezer Witztum and Dr. Moshe Klein, which documents the Jerusalem Syndrome phenomenon as it has been manifested in attacks on the Temple Mount through the ages. The article includes a variety of cases of people who suffered from the syndrome, including Michael Dennis Rohan, a Christian pilgrim from Australia who set fire to the Al-Aqsa mosque in 1969. Rohan believed that God had called him to rebuild the temple “for Jesus” and become a king.
Witztum and Klein stress that the vast majority of people who come down with Jerusalem Syndrome have suffered from psychological disorders in their past. “Some of them heard voices and saw visions, while others experienced a ‘divine impulse’ urging them to go to Jerusalem and act,” says Witztum. Jerusalem Syndrome has been around for centuries and is documented in writings from as far back as the 10th century.
Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, November 7, 2013
These two papers ran a photograph of Christian pilgrims being baptized in the Jordan River.
HaMevaser, November 1, 2013
This article reported on the experiences of journalist Patrick Reilly, who walked around the streets of Malmø, Sweden, dressed as a Jew, in order to see what manifestations of anti-Semitism he would encounter (see the November 6, 2013, Media Review).
Mazav HaRuach, November 1, 2013
This article reports on the Bible exhibition at the Bible Lands Museum that opened in October (see the October 20, 28, and November 6, 2013, Media Reviews).