During the week covered by this review, we received 12 articles on the following subjects:
- Christian Zionism
- Anti-Missionary Attitudes
- Anti-Missionary Activity
- Christian Tourism
Mizkar, January 31, 2015
This five-page article gives an in-depth survey of anti-Semitic activity on the Internet. The article’s main conclusion is that the Internet in general, and social media in particular, provide a haven for anti-Semitic activity, resulting in millions of inciting and Der Stürmer-type hits. This comes about due to the fact that “the Internet is growing in an environment that lacks laws.” Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have no efficient oversight of material posted; “in some cases the companies appear to have no desire to discuss this issue” or lack a concrete, research-based definition of anti-Semitism. Yair Ferby, an MA student at Tel-Aviv University researching this issue, says that often social media companies have resorted to legal convolutions in order to avoid holding racist and anti-Semitic users to account.
However, certain organizations founded to combat this phenomenon, such as the Australian Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) and the Jewish Internet Defense Force (JDIF), report success in their activities to remove racist and anti-Semitic content and paralyze incitement groups.
Maariv, February 19; Makor Rishon, February 20, 2015
Rev. Stephen Sizer, the controversial vicar of the Anglican parish in Virginia Water in Surrey, England, has been suspended from use of social media sites for six months. He has also been forbidden to speak on Middle East issues and attend conferences that advance anti-Semitic agendas. Should Sizer break these restraints, he will be obliged to resign immediately.
Sizer’s suspension comes as a result of an anti-Semitic post in which he asked whether Israel was responsible for the 9/11 attacks in 2001. He has since apologized for this, saying that it was “singular insensitivity” on his part to post such material “in the week when the world was marking the International Holocaust Memorial Day.” He also said, “I never believed that Israel, or any other country, was complicit in the horror of terrorism,” but that he had simply “meant to bring up the issue for discussion.”
Sizer has been known for many years for his activities against Israel and Christian Zionism. He has drawn criticism particularly from the Jewish community in Britain, who formally filed a complaint with the police, and in 2013 sent a formal complaint to the Anglican Church as well.
A few days after publishing his apology, Sizer stated in an interview for the British newspaper The Jewish News that “he expects to hear proof that accusing Israel concerning 9/11 is incorrect.”
Yediot Yerushalayim, February 13, 2015
Norman Feingold of Manchester has recently celebrated his 90th birthday, and as such is the oldest volunteer for Magen David Adom (MDA). To commemorate this, MDA has called a new mobile intensive care unit by his name.
Feingold began his fund-raising activities for Israel a few years after 1948, as a young businessman in Manchester after World War II. He has held many varied positions in different Jewish organizations, such as the Keren HaYesod (United Israel Appeal) in Austria and New Zealand. However, he has concentrated on MDA because “Magen David Adom is the tool, the platform upon which one can do many beautiful things.” Some ten years ago, Feingold founded Christian Friends of Magen David Adom in Britain, which was responsible, among other things, for the renovation of the new emergency medical center in Kiryat Shmona. Six years ago, at age 84, Feingold and his wife Elaine made aliyah to Israel, “I have had the privilege of seeing the State of Israel existing in my, my grandchildren’s and their children’s time. And for this I am grateful,” says Feingold.
Mishpacha, February 19, 2015
In this three page article, Michal Ish-Shalom states that missionary activity is to be found “deep within the State of Israel and her institutions … and even, regrettably, in ultra-Orthodox organizations.” Even “support for Israel” and “belief in the chosen people” carries with it ulterior motives, except for a “rare stream” who believe in co-existence between Jews and Christians. Ish-Shalom goes on to state that Christians believe Jesus will reign in Jerusalem after the Jews rebuild the temple. At that point either most of the Jews will become Christians, or most of them will refuse Christianity and be destroyed. This is the reason Christians support aliyah and settlement in the territories.
Due to the above, Ish-Shalom sees no point whatever in accepting monetary contributions from Christian organizations and any support Jewish rabbis or organizations express towards Christian elements testifies to the inroads missionary activity has already made.
HaMevaser, February 20, 2015
The anti-missionary activist organization Yad L’Achim has opened a “preventative publicity counterattack” in response to pamphlets distributed by Jehovah’s Witnesses and Messianic Jews, particularly in Haifa, designed to look like election material but in fact containing evangelistic material. Yad L’Achim activists stationed in crowded areas distributed material countering this ploy, and have increased the activity of the Yad L’Achim branch in Haifa.
Makor Rishon, February 20, 2015
According to Dr. Yonatan Fein, an expert on religious fundamentalism at the Institute for Counterterrorism at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, “Muslim terror results directly from the religious command, rather than from economy, colonialism or repression.” This religious terrorism defines an entire culture as its enemy; an example of this is in the Al-Qaeda fatwa from 1998, where the enemy is the entire “Jewish-Christian alliance.” The reason modern radical Islam holds this view, in contrast to the view held by early Islam (which said that Jews and Christians, as “people of the book”, are not barbarians) is secularization – meaning that today’s Jews and Christians, having grown more secular, are seen to no longer be “authentic” but rather “barbarian.”
When asked about national terrorist organizations, Fein stated that while organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, and the Muslim Brotherhood may be focused on their respective geographical areas, they all feel some degree of connection to global jihad and “the vision of the great Islamic nation.”
When asked to suggest a way to fight terrorism, Fein suggested an international task force, including Russia and China, that would carry out a ground strike against terrorist bases in the Middle East. However, Fein agreed that the chance of this is nil, and that for this reason the fight would go on being carried out in public places in Europe. Europeans must, therefore, designate the funds and the personnel “to take decisive action against incitement.”
When asked about Iran, Fein stated the opinion that Iran would not strike Tel-Aviv “because they know what would happen”; rather, Iran is developing a bomb to ensure themselves complete freedom to act (as in the case of North Korea).
Ha’Ir Kol Ha’Ir, February 13, 2015
The Tower of David Museum has augmented the experience it offers to visitors with a variety of digital features, such as an iPad game for children, a downloadable audio guide, and a digital guidebook operating through GAR (Geospatial Augmented Reality) technology. This enables viewers to hold their tablet’s camera over a given outlook, and have exact explanation points appear on their screen regarding the various sights to be seen.
Makor Rishon, February 20, 2015
Many unique remains are to be found at Tel Arad, whose importance was due to its being on the road to Mount Hebron and to the Gaza port. A large citadel and water system can be found there along with many potsherds, but of particular interest is the temple, which has been dated to the 10th century BCE. It is rectangular, opening to the east, with an open courtyard (containing an earthen altar), a wide structure, and a smaller structure containing three incense altars and three stone markers. The supposition is that the temple functioned till the days of Josiah (609-640 BCE).
Kol Nes Tziona, January 30, 2015
A conference on organ donation, entitled “Saving Lives Regardless of Religion or Race,” has recently taken place in Nazareth. Some 200 Jewish, Christian, and Muslim attendees were present. Of particular note is the attendance of Shuki Ziv of Nes Tziona, whose son Ido’s organs were donated. Also present was Maj. Gen. Michah Ram (res.), who had received one of Ido’s lungs. A news clip was shown at the conference as well, showing Fayez Sultan, recipient of Ido’s liver, embracing Ziv’s grandson, who was sitting on his lap.
BaKehila, February 12, 2015
This five-page article surveys the new By the Rivers of Babylon exhibition, and the details one can learn about the everyday life of the exiles in Babylon. The article particularly notes the cuneiform tablets, depicting such information as the following: the Jews were settled in ruined places and commanded to make them flourish; once a year they had to carry out reserve duty in the king of Babylon’s army; a man who needed to farm his field paid someone else to fight in his stead; a poor man, mentioned as the one “with no dates palms,” paid no tax; and a man rented a house and committed to pay for any damages. It is particularly interesting to note the fact that although the exiles adopted the Babylonian names for the months, such as Nisan and Iyar, the proper names ending in ‘yah’ or beginning with ‘Yo’ indicate that faith in God had remained. Further on down the timeline one can see that the Jews’ economic situation had improved. They still longed for Jerusalem, but “perhaps then, as now, the problem was leaving the comforts behind.”
Yediot Ahronot, February 18, 2015
Divers have recently found some 2,000 dinar, half-dinar, and quarter dinar gold coins in the ancient port of Caesarea. The coins have been dated to the Fatimid dynasty (circa 1000 CE). Archaeologists at the Unit for Maritime Archaeology at the Israel Antiquities Authority surmise that the coins were on a ship that sank off the port, and that the coins may have been taxes paid to the central government in Egypt, salaries for the military unit stationed in Caesarea at the time, or being used for commerce on a merchant ship.