During the week covered by this review, we received 25 articles on the following subjects:
Christians in Israel
Christians and the Holocaust
Sha’a Tova; Ha’Ir Tzomet HaSharon-Kfar Saba; BaKehila; Sha’a Tova; Yediot HaSharon-Kfar Saba, April 22; Yated Ne’eman, April 30; Israel Hayom, May 1, 2015
A “mass conversion event,” planned by the non-profit Jehovah’s Witnesses Mitzpe L’Israel organization to take place in Ra’anana, has recently been the center of a legal battle. The event, originally planned for Saturday, April 18, has already been postponed once due to stiff objections from the anti-missionary activist organization Yad L’Achim, religious Ra’anana city council members, and residents of the city. The matter proceeded to the district court in Lod and then to the Supreme Court, the final decision being that the event must be allowed to take place due to issues of freedom of religion.
Yad L’Achim activists and some Ra’anana residents planned to protest the Saturday, May 2, event.
Christians in Israel
Chadashot Haifa VeHaTsafon, April 20, 2015
MK Eyov Kara (Likud) has called upon Domestic Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitz “to increase activity and punish those who attack activists and supporters of Christian recruitment to the IDF.” Kara has also recently participated in a conference identifying with the Christian IDF recruitment organization.
Yediot Yerushalayim, May 1, 2015
The Jerusalem neighborhood of A-Tur, home to some 50 churches—among them the Church of the Ascension—has recently seen a resurgence of violence, which might be due to the shooting of a 16-year-old boy who stabbed a border police officer. The police have taken action against the unrest by placing concrete barriers across one of the neighborhood’s main streets, but this has caused anger among the residents, who say that the violence originates from a relatively small group of radical youths, that most of the residents only want quiet, and that the barriers prevent essential vehicles such as fire trucks and ambulances from entering. However, since the neighborhood has seen other incidents of unrest in recent months, the fear is that this will become another neighborhood “where the radicals set the tone.”
Haaretz, May 1, 2015
In this article, Peter Beinert states that although US conservatives tend to support Israel because of theology, this is not at all the entire story. Conservatives also support Israel because it is on the front lines facing the US’s current existential foe; in a similar way, conservatives supported South Vietnam, Poland, Taiwan, and Georgia in previous years. However, conservatives also support Israel because Prime Minister Netanyahu thinks that “the only problem with American power is that it isn’t wielded self-confidently enough”; therefore, conservatives think that he, and Israel, “represent the America that they fear is slipping away.”
Christians and the Holocaust
Megidon, April 1, 2015
A group of Israel-loving Christians from Plauen, Germany, recently held a memorial service marking the 70th anniversary of the sending of the city’s nine last Jews to the death camps. The service included a public request for forgiveness for the confiscation of property, the high voting percentages in favor of the Nazis, and the looting, desecration, and burning of the local synagogue, “but especially for doing nothing to prevent the Holocaust in their country.” Nechemia Lahav from Kibbutz HaZore’a, who is descended from those last nine Jews, took part in the service with his family after people in Plauen found him and showed him a PowerPoint presentation about his ancestors.
Sha’a Tova, April 22, 2015
This article reiterates the story about 35 Torah scrolls that survived the Holocaust and were recently discovered in a monastery in a village in Poland. Having heard about the find, Johnny Daniels, head of the From the Depths non-profit Holocaust remembrance organization, was able to pinpoint their location and eventually see them; most of the scrolls can still be used. As yet there is no sign of the Polish church releasing the scrolls, although the NPO, assisted by volunteer Polish lawyers, is determined to complete the task. “These scrolls are like Holocaust survivors,” said Daniels. “Every Shabbat, when one of these scrolls is brought out in a synagogue, everyone will know that they survived the Holocaust.”
Yediot Ahronot, April 29, 2015
According to this article, the church’s changing attitude concerning the action to be taken about the persecution of Christians has also caused a “renewed interest in their Jewish brothers.” The potential for further close relations is great and important, and should be nurtured, contrary to what is the current situation today.
Ha’Ir Kol Ha’Ir, April 22, 2015
This article lists different exhibitions currently to be found in museums around Jerusalem; of particular note are those at the Wohl Museum of Archaeology, the Yad VaShem Museum, the Israel Museum, the Skirball Museum of Archaeology, and the Tower of David Museum.
The Jerusalem Post, April 30, 2015
In honor of its 50th anniversary, a variety of intriguing exhibits are currently to be found at the Israel Museum. Among them is an exhibit on Rembrandt, featuring The Prophet Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem, on loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and well as the Israel Museum’s ownSt. Peter in Prison; the world’s smallest Bible, “the size of a grain of sugar”; and an exhibit devoted to the architectural design of the Shrine of the Book and its symbolic significance.
Maariv, May 1, 2015
Ramla, whose inhabitants belong to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, has recently undergone a touristic “upgrade” and now boasts a variety of interesting sites for the visitor. One such site is the old municipality building, built in 1922 and now housing the city museum. Others are the vibrant market near the museum; the great mosque, originally built in the 13th century by the Crusaders as a church marking Joseph of Arimathea’s birthplace; and the Terra Sancta Franciscan Monastery.
HaMekomon Tel Aviv, April 30, 2015
This article surveys various cults to be found in Israel, such as Goel Ratzon, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Satanists. According to the Israeli center for people victimized by cults, a cult is “a group of people who have been brainwashed and are in ‘mental, emotional, and spiritual captivity’ in order that they may be enslaved and their resources taken advantage of”; the center’s statistics say that 15,000 people are in this situation. The center exists to provide information about various cults, and to provide assistance to those who have managed to free themselves.
The Jerusalem Post, April 30, 2015
This article surveys the Rembrandt, from Amsterdam and Jerusalem exhibition at the Israel Museum, which includes 22 paintings by Rembrandt, his teacher, and some of his students. The main paintings on display are, of course, the museum’s own St. Peter in Prison and Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem, on loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Shlomit Steinberg, the Hans Dichand senior curator of European art at the Israel Museum, comments that these two paintings show an “Old Testament–New Testament continuum” and “make a strong statement about the prophets, the disciples and people who sacrificed their lives for some belief,” thereby providing lessons for the modern, cynical viewer.
Makor Rishon, May 1, 2015
This article reviews Ithiel, the African from Venice, recently published by Raav.
This play, a Jewish adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, is the first translation of that play into Hebrew, and was done by Yitzhak Edouard Salkinson, a Jew who converted to Christianity. The translation is written in biblical Hebrew, just as Shakespeare himself used King James English. All together, it is a fitting publication of a play which combines spiteful comedy with an endlessly timely dialogue on good and evil.
Haaretz, May 1, 2015
The article reviews Shaul Magid’s Hasidism Incarnate: Hasidism, Christianity and the Construction of Modern Judaism, recently published by Stanford University Press.
The book, an analysis of the similarities between Hasidism and Christianity, focuses on the concept of incarnation. According to Magid, these similarities came about as a result of theological conflict with Christianity, which led Jewish intellectuals to seek a more tangible presence of God. This eventually led some 18th-century Hasidic rabbis in Eastern Europe to develop a concept of incarnation. Magid is of the opinion that this was made possible due to their distance from much of the Christian theological view, which might otherwise have prevented this development. The author of the article, however, is of the opinion that the actual reason for this doctrinal similarity is the Christian phenomenon of the early modern period, which emphasized a personal connection with God.
Zman HaTsafon, April 21, 2015
This article reiterates the story about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West having their 22-month-old daughter North baptized in the Armenian Cathedral of Saint James in Jerusalem’s Old City. The cars hired for the occasion came from a company owned by Eitan Ohayon, a resident of Kedar, who also served as the driver for the visit.
Ha’Ir Tzomet HaSharon-Herzeliya; Ha’Ir Tzomet HaSharon-Kfar Saba, April 22, 2015
19-year-old Yonatan Granovsky, the oldest of three siblings, was always healthy and athletic—until he was told at age 16 that he had with leukemia. He spent the following six months in the hospital, undergoing tests, blood transfusions, and surgeries. Although he was eventually able to return to a normal life and wanted to join the army, he was considered too much of a medical risk. After a year’s fight he received the necessary permissions to become a combat fitness instructor at the Wingate Institute, and has been serving there ever since. “Cancer is the worst and best thing that happened to me,” says Granovsky. “I have been strengthened in my religion and today I am a Messianic Jew who believes in the Bible, the New Testament, and Yeshua the Messiah, and religion helps and strengthens me even today.”
Haaretz, April 27, 2015
In this article, Nir Hasson interviews Nourhan Manougian, 97th Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, about the history of the Armenian community in Jerusalem and the current situation in Jerusalem’s Old City. Manougian specifically mentioned the unrest toward Christian clerics in the Old City, and how often Armenians “are mistaken for Arabs and treated like terrorists” when in fact “Armenians are your only friends”; his disappointment that President Rivlin did not formally recognize the Armenian genocide in the recent ceremonies marking its 100th anniversary; and how the community has dwindled in number from 35,000 at the end of the British Mandate to some 3,000 today. “We are like you and you are like us,” says Manougian. “We need to be treated differently—we are part of this place, we have walked the same road, gone through the same trial, the same fate.”
Gilui Da’at, April 22, 2015
This article deals with First- and Second-Temple era Jewish burial practices. It begins by describing how the deceased were buried in a many-chambered tomb, where they were laid on a shelf which was then sealed with stone. The remarkable difference between the eras is that while in both times the bones were moved from their initial resting place, during the First Temple period they were placed in a pit with other, older bones, and in the Second Temple period they were placed in ossuaries.