During the week covered by this review, we received 15 articles on the following subjects:
Yated Ne’eman, June 22, 2016
British premier David Cameron, speaking in reference to the June 23rd referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union, told the Jewish community that Britain staying in the EU “would help London support Israel,” as well as “stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.” Conversely, stated Cameron, being “outside the room” would make Britain “powerless to influence the talks.” Cameron mentioned the refugee issue in his speech, saying that “he is proud that Britain is home to people who fled from a death sentence”; he referred to resurging anti-Semitism as well, saying that “he hates that such incidents have returned to Britain” and that as long as he is premier, “he will do all in his power to eradicate these phenomena from our country.”
Iton Shacharit, June 17; HaModia; HaMevaser, June 19; Yediot Rishon; HaPeles, June 24, 2016
These articles reiterate the story from last week’s review about the proposed “baptismal service planned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Rishon L’Tzion,” and the prayer assembly protest, which has in fact taken place. Due to the attendance of thousands at the protest, which at times approached violence, the police decided to cancel the service.
Haaretz, June 21, 2016
This article states the opinion that when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump regards Israel’s use of racial profiling and disregard of political correctness as authorization for his own views on the subject, this actually potentially damages Israel in the minds of the American public, “since US Hispanics who fight being profiled as illegal immigrants and African Americans who fight being profiled as criminals” will connect Israel with Trump on this subject, “in addition to everything else they may think Israel is lacking in.”
BeSheva–Mitchalef Yerushalayim, June 23, 2016
Six youths were arrested on Monday, June 20, at a protest aimed at preventing a Christian Pentecost ceremony at the David’s Tomb/Cenacle site in Jerusalem. Adv. Wolff, acting on behalf of the youths, has stated that the police “used undue force in the incident”; the police have responded that “they were acting in accordance with the regulations for preservation of the 1948 status quo at holy sites” and that “they view violence against police personnel with severity.”
HaMachane HaCharedi, June 23; HaModia, June 24, 2016
These articles report that government ministers have approved an ILS 80m. increase to the budget for yeshivas, returning the budget to what is was in 2012. MK Rabbi Israel Eichler has also presented a request to Education Minister Naftali Bennett that a corresponding budget increase be given to Jewish orthodox educational institutions which are known but not recognized by the Education Ministry, saying that “it was discriminatory to give a budget increase to the Christian institutions and not to the Jewish orthodox ones.” Health Minister MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman has also raised this education budgeting issue in a special discussion with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, saying as well that “it is a serious discriminatory issue that could not be allowed to continue.”
The Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2016
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is convening its biennial General Assembly this week in Portland, Oregon. This year, as at the previous conference, “an unfair and counterproductive” report concerning Israel is “headed for public discussion and a likely vote.” Unlike two years ago, this initiative “doubts the viability of the two-state solution” and “holds Israel singularly responsible for the failure to realize the negotiated two-state vision of the Oslo Accords.” The report upon which this initiative is based “presents a narrative that skews the historical record” by “leaving out such details as Israel’s persistent efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace through direct bilateral negotiations,” as well as “absolving the Palestinian Authority of any blame for failure of the peace process” and “defending Hamas as a legitimate political actor on the grounds that it was ‘the winner of the only Palestinian-wide election’ held in 2006,” ignoring its subsequent actions.
This report has already drawn stiff controversy from within and without PCUSA. Rabbi Noam Marans of the American Jewish Committee, commenting on the Zionism Unsettled report from 2014 upon which this new report is based, said that PCUSA’s argument “is not about the Israeli-Palestinian territorial dispute but rather the entire Zionist enterprise and Israel’s very existence.” Additionally, Presbyterians for Middle East Peace (PFMEP) has produced an analysis “debunking the report’s content,” saying that “instead of its historical intellectual rigor and spiritual zeal, in this report PCUSA continues with failed research, faulty theology and political agendas.”
Yediot Ahronot, June 24, 2016
In this article, Hanoch Daum interviews Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, marking the launch of Eckstein’s biography, The Bridge Builder. Among the subjects covered were the fact from its founding, the IFCJ has raised a total of 1.4b. for Israel, from 1.6 million donors, most of whom are evangelical Christians who donate because of their belief in the Bible that they must bless Israel; Eckstein says that “he is their bridge to their Jewish foundations, to the State of Israel, the Land of Israel, to Jesus.” Another subject covered is a boarding school at Kfar Chabad for children rejected by the traditional institutions, to which the IFCJ contributed funds for houses for the students to live in rather than dormitories, along with a swimming pool and leisure parks. Eckstein explained that the motivation for his activities “comes from a call he felt from God forty years ago to build bridges between Jews and Christians in order to gather support for Israel”; he admits, however, that “he expected it to be through politics, rather than philanthropy.” The IFCJ always attempts to cooperate with the government, rather than replace it, but Eckstein states that the government is not doing nearly enough, saying that “it’s a shame to the state that one out of three children is under the poverty line, and that one of every five elderly people cannot afford heat in the winter.”
Iton Shacharit, June 17, 2016
A shop in Jerusalem’s Mamilla Mall has been caught selling bronze arrowheads, coins with Hasmonean names, clay pots for perfume, and many other antiquities without a license. This was discovered after plainclothes activity by the Unit for Prevention of Antiquities Theft.
Over the past few months, new regulations have been put in place requiring every antiquities dealer to use a computer system developed by the Israel Antiquities Authority, which will keep track of and prevent “laundering” of illegal items.
Yediot HaEmek–Nazareth; Yediot HaEmek–Afula, June 17, 2016
Preliminary surface investigations in preparation for an archaeological excavation at Tel Shomron have yielded a scarab seal. Others activities include sample pits and scanning with metal detectors. The estimation is that the possible tel area is three times bigger than the area of Tel Megiddo.
The dig is planned to begin in 2017 and to last ten years, at which point a national park will be opened on the site.