During the week covered by this review, we received 14 articles on the following subjects:
Christians in Israel
Christians and the Holocaust
Christians in Israel
Haaretz, March 23, 2016
Although the deadline is nearing, Israel’s Christian schools have not received the monies promised them at the end of the strike which took place at the beginning of the current school year, reports this article from Haaretz. Butrus Mansour, CEO of the Baptist school in Nazareth, has said that this delay “erodes the trust and goodwill achieved at the end of the strike,” adding that “they would go to the mother churches in Europe and the Holy See if necessary.” Sources in the Ministry of Education stated that all relevant data was passed on to the Social Equality office two months ago, while the Social Equality office stated that the subject was in process at the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance, while admitting that the monies had not yet been given, said that the subject was still under discussion with the Ministry of Education and the Social Equality office.
The Jerusalem Post, March 24, 2016
This article reviews the most recent Christ at the Checkpoint conference, organized biennially by Bethlehem Bible College. The article pays particular attention to the conference theme, “The gospel in the face of religious extremism.” In the opinion of the writer, while speakers’ topics appeared to address the conference contention that “the essence of religious extremism is any doctrinal belief that, in the name of deity, supports an ethnocentric state, including all of its self-sustaining acts of violence,” in fact the main focus was Christian Zionism, which Reverend Dr. Munther Isaac, the conference administrator, stated was “incompatible with the teachings of Jesus.”
The article notes that guests of honor included local dignitaries, Palestinian Authority police, and official PA representatives; that the audience was invited at the start to stand “for the Palestinian national anthem”; and that most of the speakers present mentioned ISIS and its atrocities only briefly, and rather praised Islam. Rev. Isaac called Christian Zionism an “imperial theology, an arrogant, dehumanizing and racist narrative.” Mark Labberton, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, stated that “sometimes the enemies of God are members of one’s own faith, and sometimes those enemies can kill.” Hank Hanegraaf stated that “since Jewish Zionism committed ethnic cleansing in 1948, Christian Zionism called this a divine command and the end result was the largest displacement of a people group today,” and Christian Zionism is therefore a “biblically indefensible position that ignores Jesus’ plain language.” He also said that “since the Glory of God will never again descend on a Temple of lifeless stones, the land of Palestine and the Temple Mount have historical but no theological significance.”
The article suggests that there are five ways in which “biblically motivated Zionists” should respond: first, by “not running away from or minimizing the threat of CatC’s anti-Israel ideology”; second, by “building relationships across various divides”; third, that such relationships be pursued with both sides being “fiercely committed to objective truth”; fourth, studying the Bible in order to have a “first-hand, working knowledge of it”; and finally, “learning to engage in ideological, rhetorical warfare without apology.”
The Jerusalem Post, March 24, 2016
According to this article, the policies of US President Barack Obama have led to a variety of negative results both in the general international arena and in the arena of Jewish issues. Among the issues mentioned are “the alliances within the Western bloc”; the refugee crisis; the stronger position of Russia as a world power; the “hostility to the Israeli government and the impetus this has given to Israel’s adversaries”; and the resurgence of anti-Semitism as “one of the greatest global political growth industries.” However, the article also takes care to mention that Obama has increased American military aid to Israel, although “the latest security package is conditional on Israel forgoing the right to lobby Congress for additional aid in times of need”; that Israel has been successfully developing ties with India, China, and various African nations; and that the clandestine ties with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states may yet have significant impact on any accommodation with the Palestinians. In conclusion, the article states that “Israel has never been so powerful as it is today,” and that over the past decades it has made “extraordinary progress, is self-sufficient, and is proud of our achievements as the startup nation.”
Makor Rishon, March 25, 2016
This article surveys the recent AIPAC conference in light of its failed battle against the Iran nuclear deal and “the corresponding voices calling for AIPAC’s downfall.” The article concludes that AIPAC “has stood its test of power extremely well,” as evidenced by 18,000 participants and a $60m. conference budget, but especially by the attendance of the main presidential candidates and much of the US Congress.
HaMevaser, March 22, 2016
Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier have spoken against anti-Semitism in recent speeches. While both Merkel and Steinmeier spoke on the need to take care of the anti-Jewish sentiments held by many of the young people arriving in Germany as immigrants, Merkel specifically referred to the desecration of Jewish headstones, saying that lack of response means “it is therefore our culture doing it.”
Yediot Ahronot, March 23, 2016
This article calls upon Belgium to realize that “flattery towards Muslims will not help them,” but that “incitement towards Israel is an encouragement to terrorism against Belgians.” The recent attack in Belgium was “an expected incident,” but “the Europeans, including the Belgians, are having trouble learning the lesson.”
Christians and the Holocaust
Israel Hayom, March 25, 2016
This article surveys Polish history in World War II, specifically in light of a museum recently opened in memory of a family who hid and saved Jews during the war and were executed for this, the parents first and then the children. The article mentions as well the statement from a researcher at Warsaw’s National Remembrance Center that although Poland has admitted the part many of its citizens played in the Holocaust and the pogroms which took place afterwards, none of the concentration camps were built, initiated, or commanded by Poles.
Pnai Plus, March 23; Yediot Ahronot; Israel Hayom, March 24; The Jerusalem Post (two articles), March 25, 2016
The Messenger (Israel, 2016) is a documentary film on the life of Yaakov Damkani, a former safecracker who preaches the Messianic faith among Jews in Israel, and comes into continual conflict with its orthodox leaders (see previous reviews from February 2016). The two Jerusalem Postarticles state that the film is “one-and-a-half hours of adulation,” and wonder at the fractured radicalism of religion—or lack thereof—in Israel, as opposed to the “comfortable sense of community we had in the Diaspora.”
Haaretz, March 20, 2016
This article is a historical retrospective on the life and scientific discoveries of Henry Baker Tristram, in light of the exhibition shortly to be held at Haifa University, marking 150 years since Tristram’s visit and the publication of his book.
Although ornithology was Tristram’s main interest he wrote on many different subjects, and his book is considered foundational for many fields of research of the land of Israel, and eight different species of birds, fish, and vertebrates bear his name.
Maariv Mekomonim, March 18, 2016
Israel’s only Egyptian mummy has been scanned at the Carmel Hospital’s imaging department. The scan revealed a man between 50 and 60, who had not worked much in the sun, suffered from osteoporosis, and was relatively affluent (as indicated by his lack of teeth, as a result of eating food with sugar). The man was embalmed with an ibis, considered by the ancient Egyptian religion as defender of the Pharaohs and the goddess of wisdom.
The mummy originally came to Israel from Alexandria as a gift to the Patriarch of Jerusalem from the Patriarch of Alexandria. It will be exhibited in the Israel Museum in June.