During the week covered by this review, we received 13 articles on the following subjects:
Status of Holy Sites
Haaretz, July 4; Haaretz, July 5; Israel Hayom (x2); Maariv; The Jerusalem Post, July 6; Israel Hayom, July 8, 2016
Prime Minister Netanyahu has completed a five-day trip to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia this week “to improve and strengthen relations with African countries.” The Uganda visit opened with a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the Operation Entebbe, and continued at a summit with President Yoweri Museveni and Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, and Tanzania’s Foreign Minister Dr. Augustine Philip Mahiga at President Museveni’s presidential palace near the old airport at Entebbe.
Other significant events include the signing of a military and agricultural cooperation treaty with Kenyatta, the signing of an agricultural cooperation treaty with Kagame, a visit to the genocide memorial in Rwanda, and addressing the parliament in Ethiopia. Kenya, in particular, has also stated that it would support restoring Israel’s observer status at the African Union, revoked in 2002. Tanzania has decided to open an embassy in Israel, and Jerusalem is weighing opening an embassy in Rwanda.
Shvi’i, July 1, 2016
“It is not the inhabitants in Norway but its politicians who supported and initiated the Oslo Accords,” says Britt Lode, a Christian from Norway. “Many people feel bad about the Oslo Accords and their results, and oppose them.” Accordingly, when Lode visited Samaria some five years ago, she was inspired to publish a photo book of the area, “to demonstrate why it should not be given up.” The book, entitled The Mountains of Israel: A Taste of Heaven, has become popular in Norway, and plans have been made to distribute it in China, India, South Africa, Finland, and Germany, and even to translate it into Hebrew. “It gives joy to know that there are Norwegian guests who understand the catastrophe in the Oslo Accords and stand behind Israel on this issue. Britt’s visit, like the visit of others who form public opinion, has borne fruit we didn’t expect,” said Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria regional council.
Makor Rishon, July 8, 2016
This article is an interview with Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
When asked about the reason behind IFCJ’s donors’ giving, Eckstein stated that the verse “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you” is a primary motive, and that therefore financial giving is secondary, and not an end in itself. The IFCJ “understands that success should not be measured by how much money one collects,” and therefore “this is one of the reasons for its success.” When asked whether or not BDS would manage to undermine evangelical Christian support for Israel, Eckstein replied that as long as Protestants stay close to the Bible, BDS is unlikely to have significant impact with them, and added that “the real problem is with Jews who aren’t connected to Israel,” and that “‘evangelicals don’t have J Street.’” When asked about how he feels about a Christian giving ten percent of his pension to a developed country like Israel, Eckstein stated that he is ashamed, “It is a shame to the State of Israel that we need to come to the Christians and ask for money to renovate bomb shelters and buy MRI machines.” However, Eckstein also explained that “rather than make do with complaining,” he chose long ago “to listen to the cries of the weak and help them as much as possible.”
Status of Holy Sites
Olam Katan, June 24, 2016
This article reiterates the controversy over the status of the David’s Tomb/Cenacle site on Mount Zion from the Jewish orthodox point of view. The writer is completely convinced that the possibility of a Vatican takeover of the site is real and immediate, and that this is merely part of a larger plan take over as much of Israel as possible in order to “return the Jews to their rightful suffering place,” since “the existence of the State of Israel is in contradiction to Christian replacement theology.”
Yediot Ahronot, July 4, 2016
This article tells the story of Naftali Furst, who appears to be the only survivor in Israel from the famous 1945 photo of Buchenwald Block 56 who is still alive. The photo, which was taken by the journalism section of General Patton’s division, was one of the first to be published after Germany’s surrender. It shows Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) on the right-hand side of the lowest middle bunk, and Furst above him and slightly to his left.
Furst had not visited Germany nor spoken German for 60 years when he was contacted by a German journalist who was studying the photo. However, Furst has since returned to Germany every year, and is often invited to speak about the Holocaust. He has met with the president of Germany, and will also soon meet Pope Francis during the pope’s upcoming visit to Auschwitz. “I know there is no certain identification of some of the survivors [in the photo], some have even said that they were in it, but in my case, like that of Elie Wiesel, the identification is certain and there is no controversy about it.”
Furst survived Sered, Auschwitz, Budy, and Buchenwald before being liberated at age 12. Today he serves as vice-president of the surviving Buchenwald prisoners.
Yediot HaNegev, July 1, 2016
A group of volunteers has taken it upon themselves to clean and repair the Christian cemetery in Beer-Sheva, “in light of the formal authorities’ lack of action on the subject.” “The neglect devastated me,” said one of the volunteers. “This doesn’t honor anyone and offends the families who come to visit their loved ones.” After three hours of dedicated work, however, the place now presents a completely different aspect.
BaKehila, July 7, 2016
This article reports on two significant recent discoveries in Vilnius. The first of these is the location of the old Jewish synagogue, the court of which had been the center of Jewish life in the city, and which had been destroyed during World War II, its location obscured by subsequent construction. The second of these is an escape tunnel, its location lost for decades, dug by Jewish prisoners in the Paneriai forest outside Vilnius in order to escape death in the notorious killing pits in the area.
The discoveries were made by Dr. Yochanan Zeligman, assisted by Prof. Richard Freund of the University of Hartford and the staff of the National Jewish Museum in Lithuania.