November 4 – 2014

During the week covered by this review, we received 10 articles on the following subjects:


  • Christian Zionism
  • Jews’ Attitudes Concerning Christians
  • Christians in Israel
  • The Pope and the Vatican
  • Book Reviews
  • Archaeology


Christian Zionism

Zman Ma’ale, October 7, 2014

Some 2,000 attendees from the All Nations Convocation Jerusalem recently held a prayer service for Ma’ale Adumim in the Elephant Park in the city. They heard a survey of the city’s history, developments and future plans by Mayor Benny Cashriel. Some of the attendees bought olive oil pressed from the olive harvest around the city; these proceeds will be used for a special program for school students.


Ha’aretz, October 29, 2014

Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sharply at an event recently held by Christians United for Israel (CUFI) in San Antonio, Texas. Dermer said that “it is embarrassing that anyone thinks Abbas seeks peace” and described Iran as a “monster”. He further derided “the attempts to calm Israel down on the (nuclear) subject”, but said that he is “confident” regarding Israel’s future. Dermer also spoke against the criticism of Operation Protective Edge, saying, “we were obliged to defend the truth against a world of lies.”


Jews’ Attitudes Concerning Christians

Kol Israel, Shofar, October 24, 2014

This article is a reiteration of the story from last week’s MR (October 2014 #4). Activists from the Yad L’Achim anti-missionary organization have expressed their satisfaction at having been able to forestall missionary activity during Sukkot week. “The people of Israel said no to Christian missionizing, and the missionaries felt this clearly,” said Rabbi Binyamin Volkan, coordinator of the preventative activities.


Makor Rishon, October 31, 2014

This article is a response to Yaakov Achimeir’s article entitled “The Christians who love us” (17.10.2014). The writer objects to the article’s main question, and says instead that the question is whether Christians love Jews or themselves. The ordinary Christian still believes that the Christians are “Verus Israel”, but “has adapted himself to the 20th century”, in which one must support Jewish governance over the land of Israel as the only one which would “allow the Christians freedom of action” to “conquer the land” and by so doing “hasten Jesus’ return.”


Christians in Israel

BaMachane, October 23, 2014

This five-page article deals with the Aramaic community and its recent recognition by the State of Israel as a separate nationality.

The article surveys the history of the ancient Aramaic community and its legacy to the modern day community; its connection to Jewish history and traditions; and the possibility the community now has for self-definition. Shadi Khalul Reishah, head of the Aramaic-Christian Association, tells his own personal struggle to be admitted to the elite paratrooper unit in the Israeli Defense Forces (which included a letter to then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin).

When interviewed for the article, some of the Aramaic soldiers in the IDF said that “fighting against their brothers” was not an issue, since they considered that they would be fighting alongside the Jews, who are fighting for their right to self-definition in Israel as well.

This declaration of nationality by the Interior Ministry is not supported by the entire Arab community, however; MK Ahmed Tibi, for example, has described it as “an attempt at domination using ‘divide and rule’”.


The Pope and the Vatican

Ha’aretz, October 27, 2014

Elements in the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) have protested Pope Francis’ upcoming meeting with Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, president of Bar-Ilan University, in which the pope will be presented with a certificate of thanks. “Bar-Ilan University is known for its right-wing views and its support of settlers and settlements. At this time, when Palestinians are struggling for their right to a state, it would be preferable that the pope should not agree to accept this certificate,” said Hana Amira, a member of the PLO’s action committee. The university stated that the certificate is given to the pope for his “bridge-building between peoples, his advancement of peace and brotherhood, his activities for preserving human rights, as a token of esteem for his actions to promote understanding and tolerance between Christians and Jews, and for his great warmth towards the State of Israel.”


Book Reviews

Yediot Achronot, October 31, 2014

This article is a review of Amoz Oz’ The Gospel According to Judas, recently published by Keter Publishing.

The novel is a survey of the image of the villain and traitor. However, as the ancient Judas Gospel portrays Judas as Jesus’ most faithful disciple, “by its title the books already promises to be provocative.” In fact, the protagonist is the seeming traitor, who “offers an optimistic, alternative option to the opinion presented by the majority”, and underneath, whether the Jews and Palestinians have a way to live together in Israel without “slitting each other’s throats.”



Sha’a Tova, October 23, 2014

This six-page article surveys the theories that have arisen over the years concerning the location of the Ark of the Covenant, particularly through Zvi Fogel’s work, who has recently published a book on the subject. Of particular interest is the theory that Zedekiah hid the Ark near Safed; that Jeremiah hid the Ark on Mount Nebo; or that the Ark is hidden in the “Pit of Spirits” under the Foundation Stone in the Dome of the Rock. The article makes no pronouncement in favor of any one theory, but says that as the Ark vanished so it will return, when the Messiah comes.


Makor Rishon, October 31, 2014

This article surveys the archaeological findings discovered in Tel Hebron over the past year. The excavation was carried out under the Institute for Archaeology and Israel Studies at Ariel University, together with the Israel Antiquities Authority, and was led by Dr. David Ben-Shlomo and Emmanuel Eisenberg.

The earliest finding at the site is a fortification dating to the Canaanite period (1750-1550 BCE) and strengthened around 600-700 BCE, but a Second Temple-era town has also been discovered at the tel, complete with closely built houses, a flight of steps, an irrigation system and a large mikveh (ritual bath-ed.). However, one of the most unique findings is a seal embossed with a bird, the words “of the king” and a name that may belong to Shmayahu ben Mecher.