April 1 – 2014

During the week covered by this review, we received 11 articles on the following subjects:


Jewish Christian relations
Arab Believing Community
Christian Zionism
Christian Sites



Jewish Christian Relations

Yediot HaSharon Herzliya, March 21, 2014

On Tuesday, March 18, a video conversation took place between a group of eighth graders in Levi Eshkol High School in Hakfar HaYarok and five students in the English program at the study center for Sudanese refugees in Cairo. The conversation was moderated by a member of the Face to Faith organization, as “an opportunity for the students to understand the economic, security, and social problems of the Sudanese children.”

Although beset by technical problems, the conversation was warm and friendly. The students exchanged stories about their respective study environments. One question from Cairo was about places to see in Israel; another referred to the question of equality between Jews, Muslims, and Christians. The final question to all the students had to do with the meaning of faith; the Israeli students connected faith with religion, “believing in something you don’t always need to see,” according to Gaya from Israel, while the Sudanese-Egyptian students related faith to a better life. “Faith has many sides, but I think the issue is with the inner and outer strength of man,” said Lufi from Sudan.

The students promised to keep in touch through a chat room that will be opened for them on the Face to Faith’s website. The students came away knowing that they had more questions and that they still had much to learn. Tzefi Rom, the Israeli students’ teacher, explained that the emphasis was on dialogue and its importance.


Arab Believing Community

Ha’aretz, March 23, 2014

A quiet revolution is taking place among the Israeli-Christian Arabic speaking public. A growing number of young people see themselves first as Israelis, and want to integrate into the State of Israel in any way possible, particularly through induction into the IDF. Others among Arab nationalistic groups, as well as the Jewish radical right and radical left, oppose this, but most of the Israeli public gives quiet support to this growing movement. This article calls for politicians to take a practical stand in support of these citizens of the state.

The Arabic speaking, Israeli-Christian public is sharply divided as to identity. Some see themselves as Palestinians, but a large group sees itself not as “Palestinian” nor as “Arab” but as Israeli-Christian. Some of this group have found their roots in ancient cultures of the land of Israel, such as the Aramaic and Greek cultures.

This desire to integrate has crystallized through the recognition that the State of Israel is not a passing phenomenon. Many Israeli Christians, faced with the religious zeal and intercommunity violence in neighboring countries, have come to see that only a strong Israel can ensure personal and religious freedom, prosperity, and security for them and their children. An additional reason may be that since military service is the formative experience for most young people in the country, it would be impossible to fully integrate without it.

This revolution, if completed, would make the whole non-Jewish public into an integral part of Israeli society. However, due to the immense hardship before them the state must give immediate practical help.


Christian Zionism

Shvi’i, March 21, 2014

Two Korean women distributed leaflets to students of Bar-Ilan University when they returned from the Purim vacation. The letter, signed by “Koreans who love and pray for Israel,” stated, “What we did to you was too hard and cruel. People used the name of God to further their own interests. … The shame of the church fathers and the world is our shame also.”



Ha’aretz, March 23, 2014

Researchers from MIT have recently developed a mechanism for ranking popularity, using search data and literary citations from 4,000 B.C. to 2010. This database analyzes the citations, as well as a person’s impact on human culture. One particular criterion for inclusion in the database is that a person’s Wikipedia page must exist in more than 25 languages. Another is the duration of their influence, resulting in the inclusion of many persons from over 2,000 years ago.

The data is accessible to users on an interactive website, and users can define their own search parameters. For instance, a search for famous people born in Israel from 4 000 B.C. to the present resulted in many figures from the Bible and New Testament, with King Solomon in first place, followed by Mary the mother of Jesus, John the Baptist, and Mary Magdalene. When the search was limited to the past century, Natalie Portman was in first place.

The nationality of people listed is strictly determined by place of birth as defined by current national borders, thereby eliminating Shimon Peres and David Ben-Gurion from the list of Israelis, but including Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin, Daniel Kahneman, Ilan Ramon, Amos Oz, Dana International, and Bar Rafaeli. This definition also places some prominent Palestinians on the Israeli list, such as Mahmoud Abbas and Edward Said.


Ashdod Magazine, March 14, 2014

This four-page article describes Hafsakata, a new music band from Ashdod founded five months ago. Its three members are young women between the ages of 17 and 20. They write and compose their own songs and are musically versatile, playing different instruments, but take care not to characterize their music style as yet. The three come from different backgrounds, but all agreed that their parents are very supportive of them. However, in spite of the fact that they are completely devoted to music and want to take the band as far as possible, they also have other interests – one band member is a Messianic Jew who is a volunteer counselor at AKIM (the after-school program for mentally challenged children), and another specializes in songs written during the Holocaust or by survivors.


The Jerusalem Post, March 25, 2014

In this article, Shmuley Boteach describes the difference between the Jewish and the Christian stands on love and lust. He attributes the decline of marriage and the evaporation of sex to the Christian stand on love, citing 1 Corinthians 7 and 1 Corinthians 13. Comparatively, says Boteach, Judaism’s stand is that marriage must be based on deep desire and covetousness, citing the Song of Songs. Lust is a powerful but unused tool in the marital arsenal. By making lust kosher again marriage might be saved from terminal decline.


Yediot Ahronot, March 27, 2014

Chris de Berg, author of The Lady in Red (1986), is slated to appear at the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv on March 29. He has never appeared in Israel before, despite having wanted to come. He knows of Israel’s importance and her connection to Christianity, and would like to visit the Dead Sea and Yad VaShem.


Israel Hayom, March 28, 2014

This article tells the story of Rabbi Avi Zarki, who heard of a small ancient Torah scroll, kept in a church in Bethlehem, through a cardinal of a Jerusalem church. Rabbi Zarki went to Bethlehem in disguise, together with the cardinal and one other person, and after providing a bribe, which had been contributed by a friend, brought the scroll back to a synagogue in Tel Aviv.


Christian Sites

Sof HaShavua, March 28, 2014

This article is about two tourism sites. One is Nahal Tavor, near the Franciscan church and monastery on Mount Tabor, and the other is Kochav HaYarden National Park, north of Beit She’an. Nahal Tavor is a half-day hike suitable for families, and boasts a variety of rare plants along the banks of the river. Kochav HaYarden boasts a variety of sights as well, such as a Crusader monastery built in A.D. 1140, rare plants, feeding stations for raptors, and a sculpture garden.


Adrichalut Nof, March 23, 2014

The ancient church of Saint Anne in Tzippori, the starting point of the Gospel Trail, was built on the site of the house of Mary’s parents. Many of the sites on the path, including the church, are undeveloped; Yarden Wolff, the author of this article, would like to develop it while preserving local motifs. For example, the plan includes occupational gardens at the nearby convent of Saint Anne, which is a home for girls at risk, and aims to provide visitors with a variety of experiences in a relatively small space.



Haaretz, March 26, 2014

Thousands of rock drawings exist in the Negev, especially in the vicinity of Avdat. The Israel Antiquities Authority is at this time debating whether to reveal the location of these fragile paintings and engravings, some of which are from the Roman period, 1,800 years ago. The IAA would like to reveal the location to the public, but would also like to preserve the site from destruction, which would impede research. The IAA recognizes, however, that any destruction is not necessarily malicious.