During the week covered by this review, we received 12 articles on the following subjects:
Christians in Israel
Israeli Attitudes Concerning Jesus
Sha’ar HaNegev, July 15, 2015
A demonstration in support of Israel and in protest of the UN investigation of Operation Protective Edge took place on June 29 at the United Nations building in Geneva. Thousands of Jews, Christians, and Muslims attended. Ofir Livstein from Kfar Aza was one of the speakers. “I call upon the international community to work together for the demilitarization and rebuilding of Gaza. When the violence towards us stops we will be the first to support the development of air and sea ports, and transportation, energy and environmental infrastructure. Gazan and Israeli children deserve education, welfare, a good environment, and care just like Western children,” said Livstein in his speech.
Christians in Israel
Haaretz, July 27; Yediot Ahronot; Israel Hayom; Haaretz, July 30, 2015
The northern division of the State Attorney’s Office has indicted Yinon Reuveni (20) and Yehuda Asaraf (19) in the Nazareth District Court as suspects in connection with the arson at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha. Reuveni is named as the principal suspect, as a security camera recorded him filling a 2-liter milk bottle with gasoline at the gas station in Latrun; an identical bottle with remains of fuel was found near the site, and his DNA was found on a pair of gloves 5 kilometers from the church. He is known for “holding radical religious views and for holding Christianity to be idol worship” and has a history of violence and suspected involvement in arson against Palestinians. Asaraf is named as the accomplice who provided the getaway car, which was spotted on a security camera near the church. The two are accused of entering the church compound by climbing over a wall to avoid the security camera at the entrance, and setting fire to the church at three points. Calling the arson an “atrocious, cowardly act,” Minister of Internal Security Gilad Arden praised the police for solving the case and said, “We will not allow anyone to undermine the coexistence between religions and will act with zero tolerance toward whoever injures freedom of religion and the state’s democratic foundations.”
Israeli Attitudes Concerning Jesus
Haaretz, July 31, 2015
Former Israeli ambassador to Washington Michael Oren was recently quoted by The Jerusalem Post as having told a recent session of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus that “Jesus, Mary and John the Baptist would today be considered Jewish settlers in Bethlehem.” Bradley Burston, writing for Haaretz, objects to this view, saying that Jesus, as “a rabbi for human rights” who “preached a radical doctrine of nonviolence,” would not be found in Bethlehem, but rather in the Palestinian village of Susya, “loving his neighbor” and “standing with B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence … and Peace Now.”
HaMekomon Kiryat Malachi; HaMakor, July 17, 2015
Booklets containing missionary material recently distributed in Kiryat Malachi were collected by some of the residents and burned. The incident was reported to the anti-missionary activist organization Yad L’Achim.
Israel Hayom, July 27, 2015
Israel Antiquities Authority personnel showed a 2,000-year-old scroll of the Book of Lamentations to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on July 26, the ninth of Av [the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av is, according to Jewish tradition, the day when both the First and Second Temples were destroyed]. “It is greatly significant that the scroll is coming to the office of the prime minister of the Israeli government in Jerusalem, our united capital,” said Netanyahu.
Shabbat b’Shivot, July 10, 2015
This article surveys the 650-meter main water aqueduct in Second Temple Jerusalem, which has recently been uncovered along its whole length, “from the Siloam Pool to the foot of the Temple Mount.” This route is intriguing, as it leads directly to the Herodian expansion of the Temple Mount to the southwest, which blocks the natural flow of water along the Tyropoeon Valley. However, to prevent water accumulation, a drainage tunnel bypassing this wall was built under the city’s main street towards the Kidron Valley on the other side, and includes both side tunnels and access points for “renovations and repairs.” Unbroken cooking pots and many coins were found in these locations. A street north of the Siloam Pool shows places where the paving was broken through into the channel below, and Josephus Flavius states that rebels hid in the tunnels during the Great Revolt. Other artifacts found in the tunnel include a Tyrian coin that may exemplify the half-shekel temple tax; a golden bell; a sword; and an engraved seal connected with temple ritual.
Chadash b’Beit Shemesh, July 23, 2015
A burial cave from the Second Temple era was uncovered during preparatory work for the construction of the Ramat Beit-Shemesh Heh neighborhood in the southeast of the city (see previous review). Preliminary evidence suggests that Jews were 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. Since other construction projects in the area have uncovered antiquities as well, it has been agreed with the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Construction Ministry that each building site will be checked for antiquities before building commences.
Haaretz, July 28, 2015
According to this article, the fact that the clay pitcher recently found in Khirbet Qayafa in the Elah Valley was inscribed “Eshba’al ben Bada” does not present sufficient evidence to warrant the researchers’ conclusions that Eshba’al was a Judean name, that Qayafa was therefore a Judean village, that there was a literary elite of scribes writing history in the 10th century BCE, or what society was like in King David’s day.