February 16 – 2015

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

  •     Political Issues
  •     Christians and the Holocaust
  •     Christian Zionism
  •     Book Reviews
  •     Miscellaneous
  •     Archaeology

Political Issues

Israel Hayom, February 8; The Jerusalem Post, February 11, 2015

US President Barack Obama’s controversial address at the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast included not only mention of the Muslim acts of terror in Pakistan and Paris, but also how “those who are pretending to strengthen Islam in fact are betraying it.” Obama said to remember that “during the Crusades and the Inquisition terrible things were done in the name of Jesus” and that “slavery and ‘Jim Crow’ were often justified in Jesus’ name as well.”

Dr. Robert Jeffress of the Dallas First Baptist Church called Obama’s comparison “very problematic,” since “Christians who act with violence cannot quote even one New Testament verse to support them, whereas radical Islam can in fact quote verses from the Koran calling for heretics to be crucified.”

Franck Salameh, writing for The Jerusalem Post, echoed Jeffress’ opinion that “the crimes committed by Christians in the name of Christianity contravened the creed’s teachings.” While emphasizing that the Crusades were not devoid of “corruption, malevolence, expediency and impiety,” he also quotes medievalist Thomas F. Madden’s statement concerning how Christians of the period saw the Crusades as “necessary action in defense of Christian people and their lands.” He quotes Bernard Lewis as well, who claims that from a Christian point of view the Crusades were “just and justified defensive wars, waged by a Christendom under attack by a triumphant Islam” as well as an attempt to retake the lands conquered by Islam during the seventh century. Salameh also states that with his “prevarications” President Obama is “contributing to thwarting the efforts of thoughtful Muslims” who are “speaking out against the evils being done to them” and who seek reform.

Makor Rishon, February 13, 2015

The Emergency Committee for Israel and Christians United for Israel have published a joint statement regarding Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at the US Congress, in which they call for “every Congress member to do what is right for Israel and for the United States.” The statement also goes on to say, “We will do whatever is in our power so that every senator and representative who is absent from the Israeli prime minister’s speech will not be reelected.”

Christians and the Holocaust

Chadashot Haifa VeHaTzafon, February 4, 2015

Some 2,000 people were present at the memorial ceremony held on January 27 by the non-profit organization Yad Ezer L’Chaver in Haifa, which operates a home for Holocaust survivors in the city that houses some 120 residents. Among the speakers at the ceremony were Shimon Sabag, the organization’s founder, Haifa mayor Yona Yahav, MK Yair Lapid, Shoshana Kolmar, representing the home’s residents, and David Parsons, the speaker of the International Christian Embassy (ICEJ), which contributed to the construction and operation of the home. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent written greetings.

Christian Zionism

Israel Hayom, February 13, 2015

Jane Kiel, a 42-year-old Christian from Denmark, grew up in a devout Christian family where prayer and discussion about Israel was common. However, she realized that one hears about Israel in Denmark “only when something bad happens.” Kiel’s first visit to Israel took place in 2000, when she and her mother participated in a Christian tour group; Kiel didn’t want to leave at that time, and visited every two or three years.

Kiel moved to Israel in 2010, but had to return to Denmark in 2011 due to ill health. During her convalescence she opened a Facebook page called Israel, One Nation, which is dedicated to exposing the media slant against Israel and reporting news, Israeli inventions, and more. After people started asking Kiel for her own opinion on different events, she decided to add some personal analysis and explanations about her faith, since “people were looking for the personal touch.”

Kiel has been spotted by Palestinian activists, and her life has been threatened. She now rarely goes anywhere alone. However, she still insists that Israel is her home and that this is her fight. She has no desire to convert to Judaism, since as a devout Christian “my fight looks stronger.” When asked if she is afraid, she says, “If I retreat now, it will look as though the Muslims govern us by fear. … I truly love you and your country, and you deserve to live here in peace. And if I need to shout this to the world, I will shout.”

Book Reviews

Makor Rishon, February 13, 2015

Who Remembers His Covenant Eternally is a collection of articles on biblical research and commentary by Elazar Tuito, recently published by Orot Yisrael College in two volumes.

The article describes Tuito’s fresh outlook on the differentiation between commentarial method and the goal of the commentary; namely that the commentator must use the method that will best achieve the commentary’s goal. The example used is Tuito’s reanalysis of Rashbam’s (Rabbi Shmuel ben Meir) and Ramban’s (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman) biblical commentaries, meant to oppose the Christian commentary of their period, which took the sin of the golden calf as proof of the Christians being “the new Israel” and the selling of Joseph as being a foreshadowing of Jesus.


Alei Khefer, December 31, 2014

The ashes of Lt. Col. and Mrs. John Henry Patterson were recently buried in Moshav Avihail, in a state ceremony in which Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ya’alon, UK Ambassador Matthew Gold and others were present. Patterson, a British officer and a Christian lover of Israel, was the commander of the Zion Mule Corps, founded in Alexandria by Zeev Jabotinsky and Yosef Trumpledor in 1915. As such Patterson was a key figure in the beginnings of a Jewish defense force in Israel. Despite having asked to be buried in Israel, Patterson’s ashes were kept in Los Angeles, but were finally brought to Israel at the request of Patterson’s grandson Allan.

Ha’Ir Arim Rehovot, Rishon LeTzion VeNes Tziona, February 5, 2015

This year the Israel Museum will celebrate its 50th anniversary, having been founded in 1965. The campus is now ten times the size it was in 1965, and is considered one of the leading institutions in the world for art and archaeology, in particular having the most inclusive collections in biblical archaeology. Additionally, the museum has changed and become more considerate of the audience, says art curator Yigal Tzalmuna, as well as fostering legitimacy for contemporary art in the minds of the public.

Haaretz, February 13, 2015

This three-page article examines the roots of superstition; of particular interest is the article’s use of Friday the 13th as an illustration. The sinister connotations of this day appear to have crystallized not only because of the 13 present at the Last Supper, and the Crucifixion having taken place on a Friday, but also because of the fall of the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13, 1307, at the hands of Philip IV of France. The number 13 has signified the supernatural in other Western cultures as well, since there are twelve main deities in Greco-Roman mythology, twelve Jewish tribes, twelve Christian apostles, and twelve heirs of Muhammad in Shi’ite Islam.


Israel Hayom, February 10, 2015

Construction for two new kindergartens in Jerusalem has revealed a large cave, with a complete clay pitcher in it that has been dated to be 1,500 years old. The pitcher was discovered during the routine Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) check done at every building site. The IAA is considering carrying out a salvage dig for further artifacts on the site before the kindergarten construction begins.