During the week covered by this review, we received 19 articles on the following subjects:
The Pope and the Vatican
Messianic Jews (Individuals)
Maariv, December 27, 2015
This article emphasizes how this year’s Christmas celebrations took place under the shadow of terror, as seen not only in the Christmas messages given by Pope Francis, Queen Elizabeth, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, but also in an Islamic State fatwa quoted by Reuters, which apparently allows the harvesting of organs or limbs from a live prisoner if doing so would save the life of an IS fighter.
The Jerusalem Post, December 28, 2015
This article is an analysis of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Christmas message to the world. Including such quotations as “Palestinians continue to defy the daily oppression imposed by their occupier with steadfastness and love for their country” in reference to the “knife intifada,” and “we pray for the end of occupation and apartheid in order to resurrect justice in our holy country,” the writer is of the opinion that Abbas’ message was “a select piece of self-serving belligerence.”
The Pope and the Vatican
Israel Hayom, January 1, 2016
This article reports an interview given by Cardinal Kurt Koch, Vatican representative for Jewish relations, to Israel Hayom. Koch recently visited Israel in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the historic Nostra Aetate document, which rejected anti-Semitism and absolved Jews of collective guilt for Jesus’ death. Among the subjects covered was the Christian world before and after the declaration. Making the distinction between anti-Judaism as a religious standpoint and anti-Semitism as a political standpoint, Koch responded that one of the big changes was that whereas before the declaration the church had greatly supported replacement theology, today the church “recognizes Judaism as a true religion” and that “Judaism is the mother of Christianity.” Koch also stated that since Christianity does not replace Judaism, the question still remains to be faced as to Christianity’s real place, since Jesus “did in fact bring a new message.” However, when asked if the Jewish return to Zion after thousands of years is a prophecy come true, Koch answered, “The state of Israel is a political entity—can we say with one hundred percent certainty that it is because of the biblical promise?” Additionally, when asked about the future of the Middle East, Koch repeated the Vatican’s official position in favor of a two-state solution, and stressed that his responsibility is religious, and that he is not qualified to make political pronouncements.
Kol Ha’Ir Bnei Brak, December 30, 2015
This article reports a recent meeting initiated by Vice-Minister of Finance Yitzhak Cohen on discrimination against students regarding budgeting in the recognized, but not official, sector of the school system. Both Finance Ministry personnel and representatives of the schools in question were present, and Cohen stated that “every child in the State of Israel deserves that the state should invest in his education.” Both sides agreed that part of the problem stems from old policies that the schools are unable to adhere to, and that the possibility of a new policy should be reviewed. The article ends by stating that this discrimination is present only at the elementary education level, as the schools at other levels receive the same amount of funding as their counterparts in the official sector.
Kol Ha’Ir Bnei Brak, December 23; HaShavua B’Elad; HaShavua B’Beit Shemesh; HaShavua B’Holon Bat Yam; HaShavua b’Rehovot, December 24; HaShavua B’Petach Tikva; Matzav HaRuach, December 25, 2015
Adv. Moshe Morgenstern, acting for the anti-missionary activist organization Yad L’Achim, sent a letter to the Justice Minister and the Attorney-General’s office on December 21 asking them to investigate an event at which a Baptist ministry gave equipment to the security personnel of the Eshkol regional council together with a Bible containing quotations from the New Testament. Morgenstern stated in his letter that this gift was in contravention to the law prohibiting the giving of benefits to a person in order for him to convert. The article states as well that Yad L’Achim was alerted when some of the security personnel realized what was going on and left the event without taking anything.
Gaderton Gan-Yavne, December 25, 2015
The anti-missionary activist organization Yad L’Achim has begun broadcasting radio spots in the south of Israel, cautioning the public against a missionary book called The Prophetic Code. The book calls people to follow Jesus, and was distributed particularly in Gan Yavne.
Messianic Jews (Individuals)
Yediot Rishon, January 1, 2016
A Messianic Jewish couple from Rishon l’Zion is suing the owner of an event hall in Yavne for NIS 100,000. They decided to sue because the owner refused to allow them to hold their wedding ceremony in his hall unless they agreed to omit the reading of verses from the New Testament that they had intended to include in their ceremony.
Yediot Ahronot, December 28, 2015
The Gospel Trail, leading from Mount Precipice in Nazareth to Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee, “follows Jesus’ journey in the area in which he acted to disseminate his ideas.” Alon Galin of Walk In Israel recommends hiking the entire trail in four segments of five to seven hours as follows: Nazareth to Ilania (approximately 17 kilometers); Ilania to Moshav Arbel (approximately 24 kilometers; this segment can be split into two days); Arbel to Karei Deshe (approximately 15 kilometers); and Tabgha to Capernaum (7-9 kilometers). The entire trail is 65 kilometers long, and is marked by basalt rocks with the trail logo and an anchor showing the direction to walk.
Uvda, December 18, 2015
The marble slab recently found in an excavation on the Kursi shore of the Sea of Galilee (see previous reviews) continues to cause comment in the media. The slab, which is of Greek marble rather than the more typical mosaic, is unusually large and bears an eight-line inscription beginning “remembered for good” in Aramaic (in Hebrew letters). It is thought to be a commemoration tablet for an influential person, and is dated to 500 CE.
Israel Hayom; Maariv; Haaretz; The Jerusalem Post, December 31, 2015
A 2,700-year-old farm and a Byzantine monastery have recently been found in Rosh Ha’Ayin. The farm has 24 rooms—the walls of which have been preserved to a height of 2 meters—built around a central courtyard. A grain silo was found in the courtyard, “testifying to the importance of carbohydrates during the period.” The Israel Antiquities Authority stated that “due to the impressive finds” they will be kept on site and opened to the public. The remains at the monastery include a church with colorful mosaics, an olive oil press, stables, and an inscription saying, “This place was built under Theodosius the priest. Peace be with you when you come, peace be with you when you go. Amen.”
The excavation was carried out by the IAA in coordination with the Rosh Ha’Ayin municipality, and was directed by Amit Shadman.