During the week covered by this review, we received 21 articles on the following subjects:
Christians in Israel
Status of Holy Sites
Yarok BaKfar, April 9, 2015
Natan Weiss was born in Poland to a family of 11 children, 6 of whom had fled to Russia by 1939. In 1942 he was taken to the Plashov work camp, but was able to escape when his work train was wrecked. After hiding in the ghetto at Krakow he was caught and sent again to Plashov. While there for the second time he stole a wheelbarrow of potatoes and was to be hanged for this, but eventually was sent to Auschwitz instead. Having learned construction, he was assigned to a work force, and remained in Auschwitz until 1945, when death marches were sent to Bergen-Belsen. He and some friends managed to escape through the sewers in Bergen-Belsen to the forest, and were eventually rescued by the British.
Weiss and his wife Shoshana made aliyah to Israel in 1949, and he spent his entire career in construction. He has accompanied many youth groups to Poland to ensure that the next generation learns about the Holocaust.
Kol Ra’anan, April 17, 2015
Zvi Nadav Rusler, one of those who lit the memorial torches in Ra’anana’s Holocaust memorial ceremony, was born in 1941 in Antwerp. Although his father was arrested, Rusler and his sister were saved since their mother arranged for forged certificates saying that they were ill with a contagious disease. Eventually, with the help of the Belgian resistance, they were able to live as a Christian family in the village of Erbera till the end of the war.
After the war, Rusler and his family returned to Antwerp, where he completed his schooling. He joined the Young Guardsmen Jewish youth movement and eventually became head of the Antwerp branch. He was then sent to Holland in 1957 to found the movement there. It was there that he met his future wife, Miriam. They married two years later, made aliyah, and have lived in Israel ever since.
Although the Holocaust was not a large part of Rusler’s life, in recent years he has been painting his memories, producing enough paintings to have an exhibition on the subject. “I understood that this would be an opportunity for me to thank the people who saved me, my mother and my sister,” says Rusler. “Some of my memories from the war were positive, because alongside the suffering I saw and recognized people’s goodness of heart within the evil.”
Hed HaKrayot, April 17, 2015
Genia Kortowicz was two years old when World War II broke out. She was separated from her family when the Nazis bombed her village in Poland, and her father was forced to join the Red Army. Kortowicz was eventually found by one of her aunts, who had returned to the village to look for her relatives, but the aunt was forced to put her into the care of an orphanage when the government realized that their family names were different. It was only when Kortowicz was 16 that she was able to live with her aunt, but this was only for a year and a half, as Kortowicz was married at 17. She made aliyah in 1960, and has lived in the Haifa area ever since, despite her divorce.
Christians in Israel
Index HaEmek VeHaGalil–Nazareth Ilit, April 9, 2015
Adv. Eyal Paltek, who defends Christian soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), has filed a complaint with the police, saying that his life is being threatened. He has stated that this will not weaken his resolve and he will continue his activities, but he is adamant that army, government, and legal officials must “link arms” to stop the incitement and attacks on Christian soldiers.
Maariv, April 20, 2015
David Parsons, media director of the International Christian Embassy, writes concerning Independence Day. Stating that many Christians are marking the day together with the Jews, he adds that this is a singular thing, as for many years Christians believed that Jews were “condemned to endless wandering for having killed Jesus.” A change in this view began with the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, but some Christian denominations still hold to the old view that they themselves are the real Israel.
Evangelical Christianity remains Israel’s most enthusiastic supporter, and this is “good news for Israel” as evangelical Christianity is “the fastest growing religious stream.” Therefore, “citizens of Israel have many reasons for optimism,” as “our numbers are constantly growing, even in places you may have thought to be hopelessly hostile to your existence.”
Israel Hayom, April 22, 2015
This article analyzes the unique relations between Israel and the United States since 1948. It states that the US government had no “deep obligation to Israel’s existence” until after 1967, when Israel’s victory made it clear to the Americans that “Israel is the West’s aircraft carrier.” The reason for the change in relations with the US is that President Obama’s administration “is not eager to lead the world,” and the question is whether the US will return to the former manner of government after 2017. In any case, this coming year is “an opportunity to upgrade Israel’s world standing strategically, which should not be missed.”
HaMevaser, April 19; HaPeles; Merkaz HaInyanim Yerushalayim; Merkaz HaInyanim Tzafon; Merkaz HaInyanim Merkaz, April 20; Yom L’Yom, April 22; Yated Ne’eman; HaModia, April 24, 2015
A “mass conversion event” “financed by taxpayers’ monies” and planned for Saturday, April 18, was at the center of a legal battle last week in Ra’anana. The anti-missionary activist organization Yad L’Achim had succeeded in getting the event (organized by a Jehovah’s Witnesses NPO) canceled by threatening that the religious contingent on the city council would resign from the coalition, since “whatever the avowed purpose of the meeting, its actual purpose is mass conversion,” the command regarding which is “die rather than let it pass.” However, the missionaries had submitted a suit to the district court in Lod demanding that the cancellation be overthrown. The court determined on Friday morning that a hearing on the subject would be held within 72 hours, but the court—while in a hearing on another matter—as well as both sides were recalled at 12:00 as the result of a phone call which apparently proved to be from the attorney representing the missionaries.
Yad L’Achim’s main points in the matter were that those who rented the hall to the missionaries had no authority to do so, that holding an event “with conversion at its center” so near to Holocaust Memorial Day was offensive, and that public opinion in Ra’anana didn’t support it either. Additionally, Yad L’Achim holds the general view that the missionaries target weak people, such as those in a low socio-economic position, and offer them help which makes them more receptive to being evangelized. The missionaries’ main points in the matter were that some 1,000 people were expected to attend, and that the event could not be canceled due to the preparations that had already been made.
The court decided to uphold its previous decision to hold a hearing on the matter on Monday, April 20.
Status of Holy Sites
Yediot Yerushalayim, April 22, 2015
A new police station has recently begun operations near the David’s Tomb/Cenacle structure on Mount Zion, in an attempt to prevent “a religious war.” The police are positive about this development and say that it has proven itself, “as no significant events were recorded during the [Passover] holiday.”
Chadashot HaGalil, April 17, 2015
This article explains that Jews are forbidden to enter churches or monasteries since Christianity is defined as “strange worship,” its essence being “a trinity in partnership.” This prohibition does not hold regarding mosques, since Muslims believe in one god and do not believe Muhammad to have partnered in the creation.
Iton 77, March 31, 2015
This article is another review of The Gospel According to Judas by Amos Oz, recently published by Keter.
The article begins by setting out the relations between the main characters—the student studying Judas, his landlady, and her father-in-law—each of whom can be seen as a traitor to various causes. It continues by comparing the book to Jean-Paul Sartre’s Behind Closed Doors, where a similar trio of characters is also forced to deal with the issue of betrayal. However, the article’s point has to do with Oz’s treatment of the subject (although the article takes care to point out that the views in the book are not necessarily his): Judas betrays Jesus out of faith in his divine nature, expecting him to come down from the cross, and the landlady’s father betrays Zionism out of a desire to preserve the ideal, since he believed that Israel becoming an independent state would provoke unnecessary bloodshed.
Maariv, April 22, 2015
Eli Marom’s FGP (Flags, Gifts and Passenger products) is one of the best known flag manufacturers in Israel. Originally a mime, he entered the field via the selling of fireworks. FGP began operations in the 1980s with 3 employees, and now operates in three places and employs 40 people.
Of particular note is the retiring of flags that Marom takes pains to do; whenever flags are retired from use, they are buried in a secret location. This is due to the Flag Law of 1949, which makes it a criminal offense to dishonor the national flag or the symbol of the state. The burial location is therefore kept secret to prevent the flags being dug up and dishonored.
BeSheva-Bnei Brak; BeSheva-Tzafon; BeSheva-Darom, April 16, 2015
These articles reiterate a reader’s protest regarding the expenditure on restoration of Roman and Christian Caesarea and Roman Beit She’an, and the building of a church in Capernaum, while the ancient synagogues at these sites—“remnants of the Jewish past”—suffer “ongoing neglect.”