January 12 – 2015

During the week covered by this review, we received 9 articles on the following subjects:

  •     Israel
  •     Christian Zionism
  •     Christian Tourism
  •     History
  •     Music
  •     Miscellaneous
  •     Archaeology


The Jerusalem Post, January 2, 2015

A series of public opinion polls both in Israel and among American Jews have revealed that Pope Francis has a 50% approval rating in Israel, while some “67% are against the continued existence of the Chief Rabbinate.” Other polls show support for a “liberal, pluralistic regime.” Polls conducted among Jewish community leaders outside of Israel show a cross-denominational dissatisfaction with the rabbinate as well, accompanied by dissatisfaction with the status of non-Orthodox denominations in Israel, and the opinion that there should not be many laws regarding observation of Shabbat or dietary restrictions.

The gap, therefore, is not between public opinion in Israel and among American Jews, but between public opinion in Israel and the government. The writer cautions that if the monopoly of the Chief Rabbinate and its courts continues, the gap with the Diaspora will grow “to disastrous proportions.”

Christian Zionism

Shvi’i, January 2, 2015

Jonathan Alkhouri was born in Marjayoun, in southern Lebanon, where he lived with his family until the age of nine. After the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) withdrew from Lebanon, Alkhouri’s father, an officer in the South Lebanon Army, fled to Israel, while Alkhouri’s mother remained behind with the children, hoping a solution would be reached. However, as Hezbollah continued to advance, they fled as well. The family was reunited a year and a half later, and decided to live in Haifa. The local Arab community did not welcome them, but saw them as traitors since they had collaborated with Israel.

Alkhouri was accepted to a Jewish school, despite not knowing a word of Hebrew, and today is completely fluent. After finishing his studies he did a term of national service at the Rambam Hospital in Haifa, and today is “one of the most articulate and riveting Israel advocates in Europe.”

Alkhouri doesn’t see the withdrawal as a betrayal of the South Lebanon Army, but rather as a loss of hope and a historical mistake: “When Israel was in the south, the south prospered. Options were open, and the infrastructure significantly improved.” During the second Lebanon War, Alkhouri began to understand his complicated identity when he saw different news agencies giving an entirely different picture of the same conflict. This was reinforced when different Christian Arab minorities began to act independently to support Israel. The takeover by radical Islam scares him, as this is what led to the current situation in Lebanon.

When asked if he is afraid of being attacked, Alkhouri answered, “Like my father, I believe in what I’m doing, and for this reason I’m willing to go all the way.”

Christian Tourism

Up, January 2, 2015

The Feast of Revelation is the most important feast for the Christian Orthodox community in Larnaca in Cyprus. The occasion will be marked by street performances and fireworks, as well as a procession from the Church of St. Lazarus to the city’s marina.


Haaretz, January 6, 2015

January 6, 1785, is the day on which Haym Salomon, a key figure in American Revolutionary finances, died.

Salomon was born in 1740 in the Polish-Lithuania Commonwealth to Portuguese Jewish parents. In 1772, after the first partition of Poland, Salomon chose to live in London, and arrived in America three years later. Salomon began his career in America working as a financial broker. He came to support the Revolutionary cause completely, and was arrested by the British twice. Salomon eventually caught the attention of Robert Morris, the first superintendent of finance, and repeatedly “was able to save the new republic from insolvency.” Salomon was the one who raised the necessary finances for Washington to march on Yorktown, Virginia, where the Revolution’s last battle was fought, and went on to finance other leading politicians as well.

At his death, Salomon was owed some $350,000, none of which was ever repaid. He is buried in the cemetery of the Mikve Israel synagogue, which he had helped to found in Philadelphia. His grave is unmarked, “since his family was unable to afford a commemorative stone.”


HaShavua B’Ashdod, December 26, 2014

Shai Sol Hever is a 20-year-old Messianic Jewish singer from Ashdod, who has recently caught the public’s eye with her audition for The Next Star television show.

Hever’s connection with music began at age six, when she began to learn percussion. She is working on an album of original songs, soon to come out, as well as working as a counselor and music teacher in an after-school program run by the Akim organization for disabled children and adults.

Haaretz, January 5, 2015

Josef Haydn’s The Seven Last Words, soon to be performed at the Chamber Music Festival in Eilat, was originally composed to be interspersed with the sermons on Good Friday. The composition consists of ten short movements marked as a prelude, seven sonatas corresponding to the seven last words, and an ending movement marked “earthquake.” However, says George Allen of the Fitzwilliam Quartet, who will perform the piece, Haydn actually wrote the piece for everyone, as it is both “dramatic and spiritually contemplative.”

The quartet will be playing the piece “as a mournful piece contemplating death and loss, at the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War.” They will be playing the 3rd string quartet by Shostakovich at the same event, since “the piece deals with wars.”


Scope Darom-Ashkelon, January 1, 2015

This article takes issue with Jews celebrating the new year as “Sylvester,” when Pope Sylvester was in fact a noted anti-Semite, rather than keeping the Jewish fast on the 10th of Tevet, marking the day on which Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem began. Since 1948, the 10th of Tevet has been the day of general Kaddish [the mourners’ prayer], said for the Holocaust victims whose burial place is unknown and who have no one to say the prayer for them.


Kochav Nesher, December 26, 2014

A salvage dig at Ein Zippori has recently yielded evidence of the earliest known usage of olive oil in Israel – some 8,000 years ago. This is of particular interest as analysis has shown the chemical composition of these remains to be very close to modern oil.

Shvi’i, January 2, 2015

A Roman-era public building has been discovered at Majdulia on the Golan Heights, in an archaeological dig directed by Dr. Michael Azband of Bar-Ilan University. The size of the building, its hewn basalt stones, and the seating benches along its walls have all led archaeologists to surmise that the building functioned as a synagogue