During the week covered by this review, we received 12 articles on the following subjects:
Haaretz, February 22; The Jerusalem Post; Haaretz, February 26, 2016
Bentzi Gopstein, head of the controversial far-right organization Lehava, was questioned on February 25 by the Judea and Samaria police. This new round of questioning is due to an article Gopstein published in December 2015, calling Christian missionaries “vampires” and calling for a ban on Christmas celebrations in Israel (see previous reviews from December 2015).
Gopstein had been under clandestine investigation in 2012, and under open investigation since 2014, after Lehava activists were arrested in connection with the arson at the bilingual school in Jerusalem. The results of the investigation were submitted to the State Attorney’s office in May 2015, but as yet no indictments have been ordered, nor has the file been closed.
Sha’a Tova, February 18, 2016
The anti-missionary activist organization Yad L’Achim wishes to alert the public to a widespread Jehovah’s Witnesses missionary campaign taking place all over the country, consisting mostly of three-person teams going from door to door, and free book distribution stands set up in public areas (see previous reviews). Yad L’Achim has been countering this initiative by sending activists to the book stand areas to explain the missionary nature of the material being distributed, and by distributing advertisements entitled “You have been chosen as a target” in residential areas, cautioning those who live there as to what is going on.
The Jerusalem Post, February 23, 2016
Republican Congressman Jeff Miller recently visited Israel, together with Republican colleagues Gregg Harper of Mississippi and Vicky Hatzler of Missouri. During their visit the three met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, and other public figures. They visited the Old City, the Mount of Olives, the Galilee, and Judea and Samaria. Speaking to the Jerusalem Post from the Israel Museum, Miller said, “It’s very hard for me to understand what Israel can do more to entice the Palestinian leadership to agree to settle the conflict.” The three stated, as well, that “they hoped a Republican president would enter the White House this coming January and restore US standing in the region.”
The trip was hosted by the US Israel Education Association.
The Jerusalem Post, February 24, 2016
US Jewish Reform movement leaders see the recent Western Wall deal (see previous reviews) as “the foundation for further gains,” reports this Jerusalem Post article; Reform leaders in Israel are apparently looking for “marriage equality” as well as “rights for recognition for conversion.” Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, said, “Because there is a Jewish majority in this country, one of the responsibilities of our Jewish majority is to make sure that we promote religious tolerance, and that we stand against any racist incitement.”
The US Union for Reform Judaism recently held its annual conference in Jerusalem, as is its custom to do every seven years.
Haaretz, February 21, 2016
A tour of Nazareth’s churches is to be held on April 2, and will emphasize the different Easter traditions. Among the sites to be visited is Mount Precipice, the Our Lady of the Fright church, the Greek Orthodox Gabriel church, and the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation.
Reservations can be made at http://www.beitshmuel.com/en-us/.
Israel Hayom, February 25, 2016
The Evangelist (Israel, 2016) is a documentary film on the life of Yaakov Damkani, “a former criminal” who preaches the Messianic faith among the Jews in Israel, and comes into continual conflict with the orthodox leaders.
HaModia; The Jerusalem Post, February 25, 2016
A collection of sheep wool, goat hair, and linen fabric fragments, unprecedented in quantity, has recently been found at Timna and dated to the time of David and Solomon. The fragments are unique in that they exhibit two different qualities of weaving, and the dyed fragments are of “surprisingly good quality,” “offering a unique window into the culture and practices of this period.”
The fragments were discovered by a Tel-Aviv University dig headed by Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef.
Haaretz, February 26, 2016
7-year-old Ori Greenhut of Tel Te’omim recently found a figurine of a naked woman with a narrow waist and an ornate hairstyle in Tel Rehov. While archaeologists agree that the figurine dates to the Canaanite period, they are divided in their opinions as to the woman the figurine depicts, since “it lacks the crown typical of goddess figures.” The figurine joins a long list of Canaanite religious artifacts found at the site, including ovens that may have been used for ritual feasting.
The Israel Antiquities Authority has awarded Greenhut a certificate of appreciation “for his good citizenship in turning over the piece rather than keeping it.”
Haaretz, February 26, 2016
Zechariah Kalay (1923-2016), born in Vienna, came with his family to Israel from Berlin in 1933. He studied archaeology at Hebrew University, and wrote his MA thesis on the northern borders of the tribe of Judah, later continuing his research on the subject in his PhD dissertation. He joined the archaeology department at Hebrew University while continuing to work in his family’s piano shop. Eventually Kalay served on the government Council of Names, specializing in historical names and identifying such places as the Jerusalem village of Lifta as Mei Nafto’ach from the book of Joshua.
Kalay leaves behind five children, sixteen grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren.