During the week covered by this review, we received 12 articles on the following subjects:
HaMevaser, June 14, 2016
The new foreign minister of Brazil has stated that “he intends to change his country’s view”—which currently supports the recent UNESCO declaration calling Israel “an occupying power” and saying that “Jews have no historical connection to the Temple Mount and to the Western Wall”—since the document is “partial and not balanced.”
Brazil follows France in making such a statement on the UNESCO declaration.
Sha’a Tova, June 16, 2016
This article reiterates the story about D, a resident of Modi’in, who took a photo showing missionaries giving material to an ultra-orthodox Jewish boy (see previous review). D alerted the boy’s mother, who disposed of the material, and D then sent the photo to the anti-missionary activist organization Yad L’Achim. They, in turn, recommended that the boy’s family file a complaint with the police, which they did, as it is illegal to proselytize minors. Adv. Moshe Morgenstern of Yad L’Achim’s legal branch stated, “We call upon the police to use the full extent of the law with the missionary lawbreakers.”
Yediot Rishon, June 17, 2016
The anti-missionary activist organization Yad L’Achim emphatically opposes “a baptismal service planned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Rishon L’Tzion.” Municipality member Meir Akiva has sent a protest letter to the city’s mayor, and rabbis are planning a prayer service in front of the venue in protest. Akiva stated that this gathering should not take place, “just as a conference where drugs are used should not take place.”
The municipality has stated in response that “as long as there is no criminal activity, there is no pretext for canceling the event.”
Ha’Ir Arim, June 9, 2016
The Kiryat Ekron local council and the Bridges for Peace organization have been cooperating to build a computer lab at the Bein Tzvi school. Previous projects of the local municipality and the organization have been monthly food distribution to needy families and the “Adopt a Student” program, which includes homework help, textbook subsidies, hot meals, birthday parties, and other activities. Municipality head Hovav Tzabari said, “The computer lab will give the students a most advanced learning experience and will give them the opportunity to be exposed to new technologies. I thank the managers of the Bridges for Peace non-profit organization for their generous contribution and for their activities for the residents of Kiryat Ekron and Jews all over the world.”
Bridges for Peace, an organization of Christians who believe in the Bible and support Israel, works “to foster connections between Christians and Jews by education and help to those who need it.”
Makor Rishon, June 17, 2016
This article on the BDS movement wishes to inform the public that “as of recent times, BDS does not have an empire in economy, culture, or academics.” It cites such examples as various states in the US, various organizations, public figures, and political bodies at various levels that have either refused or spoken against boycotting Israel. It describes the failure of all three aspects by which the movement hoped to isolate Israel. It admits that BDS has sometimes won and sometimes lost when it changed its tactics to attacking “organizations which profit from the conquest,” but also says that the Israeli foreign ministry has found, on researching the subject, that 70% of the discussion on BDS happens in Israel, showing that it has not had much impact on the international public. The article cautions the public that the worst is yet to come, however, since 2017 marks 50 years since the Six Day War, but wishes to encourage the public in the meantime.
Haaretz, June 14, 2016
This article speaks strongly against any support for the legacy of Kach, the far-right political party founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane, which “advocated using violence to expel Arabs from Greater Israel.” It cites the example of the far-right anti-assimilation organization Lehava, and the arson at Kfar Duma in 2015, as well as the shooting massacre at Hebron in 1994 as examples, because the perpetrators of these incidents were Kahane supporters. It declares that legal action, though necessary, is insufficient in the face of incitement to violence, and that what is necessary is for nonviolent supporters of this ideology to speak out against their fellow adherents, since “as insiders they have unique persuasive power.”
The Jerusalem Post, June 16, 2016
The Italian Piacenti firm of art restorers has been engaged in a project to restore Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity basilica—the first such project to take place since 1479. The article focuses on the spectacular glass mosaics lining the church’s walls, which Piacenti says “were made by Syrian artisans” and “are reminiscent of those at Sicily, Ravenna and even Florence,” and the 50 columns that are to be cleaned and restored. The article also states the Piacentis’ appeal for funding, as an additional €2.3m is needed to “refurbish” the columns.
Maariv, June 14, 2016
The Bridge Builder, a biography by journalist Ze’ev Hefetz on the life and work of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, was launched in an event at the Sheraton City Tower just before Shavuot. Lev Leviev and his wife Olga hosted the event, and among those present were MKs Avi Dichter, Iyov Kara, and Dudi Amsalem; businessman Aharon Frankel from Monaco; Nava Barak; Avigdor Kahalani; Assuta CEO Shuki Shemer; Africa Israel CEO Avraham Novgorotzky; Africa Israel vice-chairperson Nadav Grinspon and his wife Iris; and others.
Sha’a Tova, June 16, 2016
Rabbi Avraham Dov Levin’s rabbinical court, one of the specialties of which is genealogy, has ruled that “King Haii” is no more than “an African Christian from the US who is preaching Christianity.” The court has published a letter calling upon the public to oppose King Haii’s plan to bring 200 Christian kings and queens to recite the “Hear, O Israel” at the Western Wall. The letter is signed by Rabbi Avraham Dov Levin, Rabbi Mordecai Eichler, and Rabbi Shimshon Grossman.
Yediot Netanya, June 17, 2016
Vera (Miriam) Dotan, a survivor of Auschwitz and Ravensbruck, received the German Order of Merit for her 30 years of voluntary activity to memorialize the Holocaust among German youth. As Dothan’s health did not allow her to travel to Germany, the order was given to her by Germany’s ambassador to Israel, Dr. Clemens von Goetze, in a formal ceremony at his residence. “I am very proud,” said Dothan, “I have always felt that my job and my duty were to tell the next generations about the Holocaust, to answer questions and do everything so that the memory of the six million victims would not be forgotten anywhere in the world.”
Dothan has been particularly involved in the reconstruction of the Walldorf camp, the existence of which Walldorf schoolchildren discovered during a class trip to Buchenwald. Dothan, who had been imprisoned in the camp along with her mother, was found by the local museum manager along with some students a number of years later, and visited Walldorf a few times to tell her story.
Haaretz, June 13, 2016
A collection of Judeo-Persian documents from the 11th century, informally called the “Afghan Genizah,” have been under investigation in the antiquities market for the past seven years. Dealer Lenny Wolfe purchased 29 documents from the cache, which were sold to the National Library and have been under study by them ever since, and another 100 documents that do not yet have a buyer, some six months ago.
Although the study of the documents is just beginning, it is known that they are not in fact a genizah, but an archive of a Jewish trading family living on the Silk Road in Bamyan, in northern Afghanistan. They are written in Aramaic, Hebrew, Persian, Judeo-Arabic, and Judeo-Persian, and include legal, commercial, sacred, and personal documents.
The main importance of the documents is the information they contain on the Jewish community in Afghanistan 1,000 years ago. For example, the name of the head of the family was Abu Nasser Ben Daniel, and he recorded the names of people who owed him money over the period of several decades, yielding information on place names, genealogy, the economy, and interreligious affairs.
Sha’a Tova, June 9, 2016
A cache of bronze coins found near Modi’in is unique in that the coins bear the names of both Mattathias and his sons, with no portrait, and of Antiochus, but with a portrait. The cache was found in a hole in a rock during a salvage dig before the construction of a new neighborhood in the city. It has been determined that the Antiochus coins were minted in Tyre.