During the week covered by this review, we received 13 articles on the following subjects:
Yediot Rishon, August 12, 2016
Events occurring in Rishon L’Tzion over the past two years have caused grave concerns about radicalization among elements in the municipality and residents of the city. The events at issue are exhibitions of racism at a Palestinian construction worker’s memorial service; death threats against the head of the Meretz political party; demonstrations against a Christian organization and against the wedding of an Arab man to a Jewish woman; a proposal to establish a separate beach for Arabs because of security reasons; controversial statements made by the city rabbi and a city council member against the LGBT community; and a stabbing attack where a crowd called for lynching the terrorist.
Dr. Danny Gimshi, former police chief in Rishon L’Tzion and now head of the criminology and law enforcement department at the College for Administration in the city, is of the opinion that what can be seen in the city is no longer radicalization but racism, due to “values being worn down.” Moshik Agagin, of the far-right anti-assimilation group Lehava, expresses the other side of the spectrum by saying that “this is not radicalization but revelation … residents of Israel are starting to understand … that there is no partner for peace here.”
HaPeles, August 16; Yediot Petach Tikva, August 19, 2016
The orthodox community in Petach Tikva is “aghast” over a “warp and weft Christian symbol” spray-painted on the door of a synagogue on Savyon St. in the city. The police arrested two girls, aged 13 and 15, on suspicion of involvement in the matter. “The feeling is that there are anti-Semitic intentions to this behavior,” stated the synagogue manager. “This is not the first time Christian symbols were painted on the synagogue and classroom walls.”
The police stated that “the investigation against the girls was concluded” and that “according to youth laws … they will be taken care of by the welfare services.”
Merkaz Ha’Inyanim Yerushalayim, August 15, 2016
This article reiterates the story from last week’s MR concerning Ms. Minna Fenton, a former Jerusalem council member and an activist against missionary activity. Fenton submitted a request to the Movement for Jerusalem and Its Residents calling for the prevention of the International Christian Embassy march during Succot week, saying that although “it is possible that the conference’s organizers are friends of Israel,” the conference itself is “a spiritual danger” as “one of the ICEJ’s goals is conversion of Jews.”
Rabbi Chaim Miller, head of the movement, “hopes that he can meet with the relevant authorities in the municipality” and “bring positive results.”
The Jerusalem Post, August 15, 2016
The youth division of the Center for Information and Documentation of Israel (CIJO) has recently held its annual fact-finding mission to Israel, the aim of which is “to show a fair and balanced view of Israel, and also a complete view.” This year’s group consisted of 23 university students; they visited Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, the Golan Heights, Netiv Ha’asara, Ramallah, and Rawabi, and heard lectures from both Israeli and Palestinian officials. The also met with a settler from Shiloh and with officials from Fatah and Hamas. The trip appears to have succeeded: all 23 participants stated that “their perspective on Israel had changed,” and many of them added that “they now realize the proximity of the dangers Israel faces at its borders, and have gained a newfound understanding of the security challenges as well as the diversity of Israelis.”
Haaretz, August 19, 2016
This article is an interview with Leandro and Pricilla Riveiro, Christian tourists on their way back to Brazil after a ten-day visit in Israel. The Riveiros explained that as Christians who are “in love with Jesus” they came to Israel “to be close to him,” but that now, being on their way home, “it’s also an opportunity to bring back to Brazil the feeling that it really happened, it’s not a legend.” Leandro added that “it is important to believe in something greater than yourself … every person is born with a hole that only faith can fill.”
Priscilla Riveiro, an architect, was particularly intrigued by the blend of building styles to be found in Jerusalem, and recognized that a line of ceramic tiles, called “Jerusalem” and manufactured by one of her clients, was inspired by actual stones and mosaics in Israel.
Haaretz, August 15, 2016
This article is a response to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s desire to sue Britain over the 1917 Balfour Declaration. The article considers this idea to be entirely baseless, as neither the international community nor the Arabs in Palestine considered themselves to be an independent national entity in 1917. This national consciousness came about as a result of the Arab wars waged against Israel, and eventually brought international recognition. The article speculates on what the fate of the Arabs in Palestine might have been in light of “the unending fighting, the brutal massacres, the refugees fleeing for their lives” that have taken place in the decades subsequent to the Balfour Declaration, and cites such examples as the Golan Heights Druze community having decided to apply for citizenship after years of rejecting it, “in recognition of the security Israel offers them and under impression of events in Syria.”
Maariv Mekomonim, August 12, 2016
This article is an interview with Adiel, a newcomer on the music scene. He was born to an orthodox Jewish family, and his father converted from Roman Catholicism. However, at age 16 he was expelled from his yeshiva for wanting to study at a less orthodox school. At age 21, supported by his family, he decided to learn theater, which is where he realized that he wanted to sing. His new single, “Journey,” tells his story and is his way of reconciling all the elements of his unique background. Adiel says he “is happy being a Jew,” and hopes his music will “touch all audiences” and that his texts “show goodness and optimism.”
Haaretz (English and Hebrew), August 14; Israel Hayom, August 15; HaPeles, August 16, 2016
Two intriguing archaeological discoveries have recently come to light in the Galilee. The first, found in a Hebrew University dig in Zippori, consists of 1,800-year-old frescoes depicting animals and humans. These frescoes are of particular note as only the frescoes at Herod’s palace at Herodium depict similar images, and Jews typically did not make figurative art during this period, as it would have broken the second commandment. The second discovery, found in a Kinneret College dig in Nahal Tabor, consists of a Second-Temple-era 89-square-meter synagogue, of particular note as it is dated before the temple’s destruction and is the first found thus far in a rural setting. It is surmised that the synagogue was part of a large agricultural estate.
Israel Hayom, August 15, 2016
The Nature Reserves and National Parks Authority has recently begun a ILS3m. project to restore the ancient lower waterway that led to the Second Temple. The route begins in Jerusalem’s Abu-Tor neighborhood, continues at the base of Mishkenot Sha’ananim, crosses the valley to Mount Zion, which it skirts to the west, and passes through the Old City walls on its way to the Temple Mount. The Nature and Parks Authority plans to place explanatory signs along the waterway route as of this year’s October holidays, and much of the route will form one of the important sights to be seen in the national park surrounding the Old City walls.
It is interesting to note that this waterway was intermittently used to bring water to Jerusalem through the centuries until the time of the British Mandate.