During the week covered by this review, we received 14 articles on the following subjects:
The Pope and the Vatican
Maariv, June 26, 2016
Sentiments continue to be divided concerning the Brexit referendum results in Britain, reports this article from Maariv, quoting opinions ranging from two London taxi drivers who supported Britain’s leaving but were “afraid and didn’t know what would happen tomorrow,” to a Scottish bagpiper who said that “Britain would fight for Israel in the third world war, but Europe wouldn’t,” to Nigel Farage’s (UKIP) statement that “little people have defeated big business,” to Jeremy Corbyn’s (Labour) statement that “hard days are on the horizon.” Although the opinions are sharply divided, the consensus appears to be that “all are worried, each for his own reason.”
Sha’a Tova, June 23, 2016
The controversy over the recent Christian Pentecost event at the David’s Tomb/Cenacle site continues, reports this article, as the attorney for the arrested youths remains adamant in his statement that the police used inappropriate force towards them, saying “Jews continue to be discriminated against in the issue of entrance to holy sites,” while Christians are favored.
Maariv, June 27, 2016
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman “has instructed that the conversion process for soldiers in mandatory service be given preference” in his office. A senior source in the defense ministry stated that he “is troubled that there are soldiers who swear allegiance on the New Testament at the end of their basic training. On the one hand they are willing to fight and die for Israel, but on the other hand they cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery … they continue to bear the load like reserve duty, and I understand their bitterness and anger. The solution is making the conversion process more available to them. If we are the army of the people, everyone who is part of the melting pot should receive equal treatment.”
The Jerusalem Post, June 29, 2016
The Supreme Court has upheld the sentence passed on terrorist and serial killer Jack Teitel by the Jerusalem District Court. Although Teitel admitted to the charges he refused to plead guilty, saying that “he did not recognize the court’s authority.” Teitel had previously told the district court that “an angel controlled him.” However, the prosecution successfully argued that if Teitel had been insane at the time he committed the crimes, his mental state would have deteriorated far more by the time he stood trial. The court agreed with further expert opinion that Teitel’s lucid testimony during his trial meant that any periods of insanity came after his imprisonment.
Teitel was sentenced, among other things, for the murder of two Palestinians; the attempted murder of Amiel Ortiz, a Messianic Jew from Modi’in who was 15 years old at the time; planting explosives at the home of Prof. Ze’ev Sternhell of Hebrew University; and the attempted murder of a resident of the Beit Jamal monastery.
HaShikma Rishon L’Tzion, June 22, 2016
The ultra-orthodox demonstration on June 18 in Rishon L’Tzion, protesting a Jehovah’s Witnesses event in the city, has caused some concern among secular residents, who stated, “We don’t have ultra-orthodox or radicals in the city, and we don’t need them here. They have caused fear and needless hate and we are angry about their bullying attitude.”
The Pope and the Vatican
Maariv, June 28, 2016
A delegation from Ben-Gurion University, headed by Rivka Karmi, the university’s president, recently visited Vatican City. Karmi presented the pope with a Bible, the silver cover of which was engraved with a relief of Jerusalem. Other members of the delegation, including the dean-elect of the humanities and social sciences department, met with senior cardinals “on subjects to do with Vatican-Jewish relations.”
HaModia, June 28, 2016
The monument to the victims of the Lvov pogrom in Ukraine was recently defaced. It is notable that the defacement took place shortly before the 75th anniversary of the pogrom, in which some 6,000 Jews were murdered, according to Yad VaShem records.
During World War II, Lvov was home to the third largest Jewish community in Poland.
The Jerusalem Report, June 22, 2016
Chloe Valdary of New Orleans grew up “in an atypical Christian community that celebrated Jewish holidays,” and was drawn to the history of the Jews through reading Leon Uris’ Mila 18 and QB VII, and Elie Wiesel’s The Town Beyond the Wall in high school and college, respectively. Today she is a Robert L. Bartley Fellow at The Wall Street Journal, researching pro-Israel advocacy in the US. “It’s about a people who were exiled, expelled and returned after 2,000 years. It’s a story of struggle, overcoming obstacles, which is ultimately what human experience is all about,” says Valdary, whose unique approach to pro-Israel advocacy seeks to engage millennials “by telling Israel’s story in such a way that they say: I like it, I love it, I need it, I can’t live without it,” “incidentally combating anti-Semitism.” The “target audience” is those who are indifferent, says Valdary. “I’m willing to have a serious conversation, full of depth and meaning, with anyone who is ready to have it.”
Esra, June 14, 2016
This article covers the Friends of Zion Museum, founded in 2015 in Jerusalem by journalist and author Dr. Michael Evans in order to educate its visitors on the subject of Christian Zionism. The article covers all aspects of the tour, including the introduction using a 36ft. long topographic map; the presentation in the Founders’ Theater, which begins with “the dramatic choice by the God of Abraham as the bearer of the message”; the stories of Jewish “dreamers and ideologues”; the stories of the visionaries now called “Christian Zionists,” such as John Henry Dunant, William Blackstone, and the ten Boom family; the stories of many of the Righteous Among the Nations; the stories of historical figures such as Colonel John Patterson, General Pierre-Marie Koenig, and President Harry Truman, each of whose support was a key element in Jewish history; and the presentation in the Promise Theater, interspersing views of Israel with the response of the various personalities already viewed “to take part in the fulfillment of the promise.” All in all, concludes the article, the Friends of Zion Museum is “a valuable addition to Jerusalem’s culture and history.”
Israel Hayom; Haaretz, June 28, 2016
A monumental Roman gate, built of basalt and granite, has been uncovered in Haifa University’s excavations at Susita. This is of particular note due to the mask of Pan found on the site a year ago. Archaeologists date the gate to the time of Hadrian (117-138 CE) at the latest, and say that the gate may have signified a Pan temple on the site.
Haaretz, June 28; Haaretz, June 29, 2016
Sophisticated scanning technology has now made it possible to read letters in the Dead Sea Scrolls that had previously been illegible, reports this Haaretz article. This has led some members of the historical dictionary department of the Academy of the Hebrew Language who are researching these new words to think that new interpretations of biblical texts might be possible. One such example is the Hebrew word meaning “gathered together at the top” in reference to Noah’s Ark, possibly meaning that the ark’s roof was pointed; another example is the interpretation that the cord Judah gave Tamar in pledge was his belt.
The scanning has been taking place as part of the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library project to scan all scroll fragments in possession of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Haaretz, June 29, 2016
A massive landfill found by archaeologists in the Kidron Valley in Jerusalem shows what may have been the most sophisticated trash collection system in antiquity. This find is particularly unique due to the fact that trash disposal was a chronic problem in the rest of the Roman Empire; the article quotes the example of Vespasian, who “failed so spectacularly to clear the streets [of trash] while he was in charge of city maintenance, that the emperor Caligula had him covered in mud.”
Research of the landfill is still ongoing, with some researchers saying that the landfill mostly dates from the destruction of Jerusalem, when the Romans used building remains to build Aelia Capitolina. Others, however, cite coins and pottery fragments to show that the landfill was in use from the beginning of the first century CE to the Jewish revolt against the Romans. They also say that it rose from the bottom of the valley to the walls of the city, and that “alternating layers of trash and soil suggest a deliberate attempt to prevent smells and deter scavengers.” Most of the trash is “leftovers from a typical middle class lunch or dinner at the time,” such as animal bones, grains and olive pits, showing a fairly wealthy city with plenty of meat and even Mediterranean fish. Additionally, there is a complete absence of pig bones, showing that Jerusalem’s population was “overwhelmingly Jewish” at the time.