During the week covered by this review, we received 17 articles on the following subjects:
Status of Holy Sites
BaKehila, July 16, 2015
Books containing verses from the Book of Psalms interspersed with evangelistic material have recently been distributed in Tel Aviv. Yad L’Achim activists summoned to the scene collected them from passersby and explained the nature of the material.
Index HaGalil-Tverya, July 10, 2015
Jesus Ministries and Angel TV have recently donated an ambulance to Magen David Adom at the initiative of Brother Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj (see previous Review). Some 560 people from over 20 countries were present, and they donated more than 90 units of blood. The ambulance will be used in the north of Israel, particularly in the Safed area.
Yediot Hatzafon, July 17, 2015
Dr. Masad Barhoum, head of the Galilee Medical Center, has been invited to speak at a conference of Israel-loving Christians in Washington (see previous Review). Some 2,500 Christian leaders are expected to attend. Prime Minister Netanyahu will speak to the conference via satellite feed. Other speakers will be Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel and Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer. “I am proud to be honored with the privilege of representing the State of Israel and the residents of the western Galilee. I hope that in this trip we will succeed in finding new friends for the medical center and the whole region,” said Barhoum.
Shvi’i, July 17, 2015
On Monday, July 13, Tzur Goldin, twin brother of deceased Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, spoke to the thousands of attendees at Christians United for Israel’s tenth annual conference in Washington (see previous Review), and asked that they help him return the bodies of his brother and Staff-Sergeant Oron Shaul home. “I am here to bring my twin brother home,” said Goldin. “He was kidnapped by the Hamas organization, and it is time that his body is returned to our family.” Goldin called upon international leaders to halt the rehabilitation of Gaza until the bodies are returned, and said, “The time has come that we, children of the free world, make the rules for Hamas and stop playing into its hands.”
Lieutenant Hadar Goldin fell in Rafiah during Operation Protective Edge and his body is being held by Hamas. Staff-Sergeant Shaul fell in Saja’iya and his burial place is unknown.
Gan VeNof, July 16, 2015
Jean-Marie Lustiger, born Aaron Lustiger to a secular French family in 1926, converted to Catholicism at age 14. At the end of World War II, he joined the clergy, and went on climbing the ranks of the Catholic Church until he became a cardinal. “His mother died in Auschwitz, and for all his life he dealt with the tense connection between Judaism and Christianity, the Catholic Church’s deeds during the Holocaust, and Christian anti-Semitism.” Lustiger always considered himself to be Jewish, despite his conversion.
Lustiger is memorialized in a garden at the Benedictine monastery in Abu Ghosh, where clay plaques in Hebrew, French, and Arabic display quotes from Lustiger on “the relation between religions and between God and man.” The garden, almost a dunam in size, is built on two levels and is irrigated by channels bringing water from a spring in the church’s crypt. Bridgeless channels and pools of water surround a bench for contemplation in the middle of the garden. Lush plants surround the pools but small, local plants can be found in other places; this is an echo of the cultural complexities between the two religions.
The garden is open to the public whenever the monastery is open (Mon-Sat 08:30-11:30 and 14:30-17:30). No reservations are necessary.
Status of Holy Sites
Maariv, July 17, 2015
The David’s Tomb/Cenacle structure on Mount Zion continues to be an issue of conflict between orthodox Jewish, secular, and foreign elements. Benny Kfir, head of the Association of Tour Guides in Israel, has sent a letter to Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin and Minister of Internal Security Gilad Arden, asking for their intervention on the issue. Kfir’s request comes in the name of many other tour guides in the association, who state that they have had to deal with unpleasantness at the site on many occasions. Shraga Brand, the informal spokesperson for the “guardians of the tomb,” states that although their reason for being present at the tomb is to prevent a Vatican takeover, “everyone is welcome; even at the Hilton they wouldn’t receive such a welcome.” The Center for Holy Sites and the Ministry of Tourism have both stated that they are taking this matter very seriously and are coordinating with the relevant entities.
Merkaz Ha’Inyanim Yerushalayim; Merkaz Ha’inyanim-Merkaz; Merkaz Ha’Inyanim Tzafon, July 20, 2015
This year’s Jerusalem Season of Culture Festival’s Under the Mountain art exhibition intends to concentrate on the history of and issues to do with the Temple Mount. It is “the culmination of a year-long attempt to understand the site and its symbolism to so many different stakeholders.” Some orthodox Jewish elements oppose the festival, however, calling it a “desecration.” They say that the festival will “turn the Temple Mount into a stage for cheap folklore,” and that with its universalistic content, it will “undermine” the fact that it belongs to the Jews and its eternal character as the location of the temple.
The exhibition opens on August 25 and will comprise a variety of events, including an excursion to the site itself (tickets available on the exhibition’s website).
Haaretz, July 24, 2015
This article reviews The Husband’s Secret, a novel by Liane Moriarty, recently published by Kinneret Zmora-Bitan.
The article begins by giving a brief overview of the novel’s characters, which all appear to live their lives in a completely open way, with no secrets, and hold similar values. However, when one of the characters discovers a letter from her husband with instructions that it only be opened posthumously, the entire facade crumbles.
Although the secret of the title is revealed in the first third of the book, Moriarty is able to “preserve the psychological tension.” One of the main themes of the book is crime and punishment, and the message is “purely Christian, according to the story of the gospel of John where one only has the right to punish if one hasn’t sinned, in other words, people have no right to punish each other.” As the characters become aware of their sins, they begin their self-evaluation.
The critiques of the book have been mixed, with some calling it “melodramatic entertainment” and others calling it a “fantastic” novel about “life’s crossroads, moments of decision, good and evil.” The conclusion of this article is that despite the book’s “Christian-didactic” message, “the developing psychological tension” and “the interesting subject to consider” will make it a rewarding experience for readers.
BaKehila, July 16, 2015
Beit She’arim, an important Jewish center during the Roman and Mishnaic periods, has recently been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a vote of 17 out of 21 countries on the council. It is the ninth site in Israel to be so declared.
Beit She’arim was first settled in the 9th century BCE, but its most important period was between the 2nd and 4th centuries CE. It is first mentioned by Josephus Flavius in the period before the Great Revolt as the administrative center of the estates of Princess Berenice, daughter of Herod Agrippa I, but it is known primarily for being the site from which the Sanhedrin ruled while headed by Rabbi Judah the Prince. Although Rabbi Judah spent his last years in Sepphoris, tradition holds that he was buried in Beit She’arim, and the city therefore became a necropolis, as many wished to be buried near him and a Roman edict prevented burials taking place in Jerusalem. Beit She’arim was apparently destroyed during Gallus’s revolt in the 4th century CE.
Beit She’arim was rediscovered in 1876 and again in 1903, but no real research was done until 1936, when Alexander Zeid of HaShomer reported Hebrew and Greek inscriptions, a menorah engraved in rock, and frescoed doors. Excavations began soon thereafter but ceased during World War II. They were renewed in the 1950s and occasionally take place now, as well.
HaMachane HaCharedi, July 16, 2015
This four-page article deals with the subject of Palestinian Wakf activity on the Temple Mount as it relates to antiquities. The writer is of the opinion that the Wakf is unceasingly acting to remove any evidence of a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount, and specifically any evidence of the temple. It is for this reason that in the year 2000, scores of truckloads of earth were removed from the mountain to garbage dumps around Jerusalem. However, upon seeing this activity, a group of archaeology students from Hebrew University determined to save as much as possible from the dumps. Eventually headed by Dr. Gabriel Barkay, and in cooperation with the Elad Foundation of the City of David, they formed the Temple Mount Sifting Project. “The sifting project is one bright light in this long story of vandalism, denial, and destruction,” said Tzachi Tvig, one of the original discoverers of the dumped earth. “These buckets of earth will tell the truth.”
Israel Hayom; Haaretz, July 21; Yated Ne’eman, July 22; Yated Ne’eman, July 24, 2015
A portion of a charred scroll, found in 1970 in the ark at the ancient synagogue in Ein Gedi, has at last been deciphered using a micro CT system that scans in three dimensions. The results were sent to Dr. Brent Seales at Kentucky University, who has developed a digital imaging system that was able to “unroll” the CT image.
The scroll portion was found to contain most of the first eight verses of the Book of Leviticus. “Preliminary readings show no significant differences between the scroll and the Masoretic text as it is known today.” It has been dated to the 6th century CE, and as such is the oldest known Hebrew scroll other than the Dead Sea Scrolls. The next oldest manuscript after the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Ein Gedi Scroll is the Aleppo Codex, dated to the 10th century CE.
Yated Ne’eman, July 22, 2015
A burial cave from the Second Temple era has been uncovered during preparatory work for the construction of the Ramat Beit-Shemesh Heh neighborhood; preliminary evidence suggests that Jews are buried there. According to municipality policy, the construction plans will be changed to avoid desecration of the graves if in fact they prove to be Jewish