During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the following subjects:
- Messianic Jews (Organizations)
- Anti-Missionary Activity
- Book Reviews
Messianic Jews (Organizations)
HaKibbutz, November 28, 2014
This article describes the legal process recently undergone by Yad HaShmonah’s event facility as a result of their refusal to hold a wedding celebration for a lesbian couple. This refusal was due to the owners of the facility being Messianic Jews and evangelical Christians, who hold to an “orthodox” interpretation of the Bible. The judge ruled in favor of the couple, saying that as the event facility is run as a secular concern for the public and offers no religious services, it is legally required to follow the laws forbidding discrimination. The event facility has been required to pay NIS 60,000 in damages to the couple, as well as NIS 15,000 in court costs.
HaMevaser, December 2, 2014
The anti-missionary activist organization Yad L’Achim reports that Messianic Jewish missionaries recently invaded the approach to the Azrieli mall and attempted to preach to passersby. Yad L’Achim, having been alerted, sent activists to warn the passersby of the missionary activity. The missionaries in turn called the police, but when the police arrived they told the missionaries that “in a democratic country there is no problem with Yad L’Achim’s activity” and that “they should not call the police with needless calls.”
Makor Rishon, November 28, 2014
Father David Neuhaus, SJ, reviews Amos Oz’s new book The Gospel According to Judas, recently published by Keter.
Neuhaus begins with a short review of the ancient Judas Gospel, which is apparently a Gnostic manuscript from Egypt. The manuscript’s main point is that Judas is the only true disciple, and that his seeming betrayal was in fact a result of Jesus’ request to help him to carry out his plan to die and bring redemption to mankind.
Neuhaus continues with an in-depth survey of the various betrayals in the book—nearly every character is both a betrayer and suffers betrayal—and takes care to mention how Christians have apparently forgotten the fact that Jesus, Mary, and the apostles were Jewish, while “remembering Judas’s Jewishness.”
Although Neuhaus states that the book does not seem to offer a solution to the meaning of betrayal, he himself concludes by saying that “a wrong understanding of the story of Jesus and Judas is what contributed to Christians’ rejection of Jews; a rejection that is a serious betrayal of the gospel of the Jewish Jesus of Nazareth.”
Israel Hayom, December 1, 2014
An Israel Hayom expose on the destruction of Jewish sites (such as Ezekiel’s tomb in Iraq) at the hands of ISIS (“The synagogues are being destroyed,” Xenia Svetlov, Oct. 31, 2014) has drawn the attention of UNESCO. Professor Shmuel Moreh of the Hebrew University, winner of the Israel Prize for Middle Eastern Studies in 1999, has been summoned to a special UNESCO conference in Paris on preservation, where Jewish sites will be discussed as well.
Yediot Ahronot, December 2, 2014
On Wednesday, December 3rd, the ashes of Colonel John Henry Patterson, commander of the British Jewish Brigades, and of his wife, Helena Frances, will be interred at the Avihail moshav. Patterson, an Israel-loving Christian, “was instrumental in building the infrastructure for a Jewish defense force in Israel” and “publicly supported the founding of a Jewish state.” Yoni Netanyahu of Entebbe fame, brother of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, was named after him.
Yediot Ahronot, December 4, 2014
Alemayehu Eshete, one of the best-known Ethiopian singers dubbed “the Ethiopian James Brown” will open this year’s annual Hullegeb Israeli-Ethiopian Arts Festival with a performance at the Jerusalem Theater on December 4th.
Eshete’s career began in Addis Ababa during the time of Emperor Haile Selassie, but his first hit was “Seul,” which he performed with the Police Orchestra during the Derg junta’s time. He lived in exile for some years and built a successful career in the United States and in Europe, but returned later to Ethiopia.
Eshete is a devout Christian who attends church daily. He is excited to be performing in Jerusalem, and “loves Israel since Jesus was born there.” “All I have is from him,” says Eshete.
Haaretz, December 5, 2014
Dr. Gidon Avni believes that, contrary to the commonly accepted opinion, the Muslim conquest of the Middle East was in fact a peaceful one, strengthening and prolonging Byzantine prosperity, but shifting the economy’s focus from building large churches to widening the range of exports. In his recent book The Byzantine Islamic Tradition in Palestine—An Archaeological Perspective (Oxford University Press), Avni sets out this theory, citing such evidence as the fact that not one building in 400 excavated sites can be proven to have been destroyed by Arabs. He also is of the opinion that the new rule following the conquest fostered coexistence, citing such examples as the lifting of the ban on Jews entering Jerusalem and a Byzantine mosaic monastery floor on which the completion date is cited according to the Muslim calendar.