During the week covered by this review, we received 17 articles on the following subjects:
HaModia, November 27, 2016
King Abdullah of Jordan recently stated in an interview with the Australian media that ISIS cannot be defeated “without help from the Christians, Jews, other religions and other peoples.” He also said that “we are looking at this like a civil war within Islam”; that Donald Trump’s administration “will change many things in the area”; that “in Syria they understand that there will be no regional solution without the Russians”; but he also couldn’t say “if Trump would support Russian involvement.”
The Jerusalem Post, November 29, 2016
On Monday, November 28, Jimmy Morales, president of Guatemala, arrived for a four-day state visit. During his visit Morales met with President Reuven Rivlin as well as with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, visited Yad VaShem, attended a business symposium, and received an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, among other things. A diplomatic official stated that since Morales was elected ties between Israel and Guatemala have improved, and Morales himself stated that “he and his entourage were eager to enhance the bilateral relationship [between the two countries] at all levels, particularly those of agriculture, breeding of livestock and science and technology.”
Morales, an evangelical Christian, took office in January, and this is his first visit as president outside the Americas. He was accompanied by his wife, Patricia Marroquín, as well as by four cabinet ministers.
Haaretz, November 28, 2016
The High Court petition against the appointment of Col. Rabbi Eyal Krim as IDF chief rabbi has been withdrawn (see last week’s review), as the written clarification Krim provided concerning his controversial statements, according to the court’s order, apparently “met the petition’s goals.” The petitioners, three members of Knesset from the Meretz party, said “they are grateful for the clear statements Krim wrote” and for “the important moral message for all IDF soldiers, men and women.”
Maariv; Israel Hayom, November 30, 2016
The controversial “Muezzin Law” is to be brought before the Knesset plenum today for a preliminary reading. If it is passed, the law would forbid the use of loudspeakers for the call to prayer between the hours of 23:00 and 07:00, and require that the level of amplification be lowered “in order to minimize the annoyance to the general public.”
MK Taleb Abu Arar (Joint List) stated that “there is no law in the world that can prevent a muezzin from making the call to prayer five times a day. … We will not honor this law if it is passed.” He added, “This law is unconstitutional and anti-democratic, and injures the freedom of religion and freedom of worship of the Muslim minority in the state, as well as the Muslim believers all over the world,” objecting as well to the fact that the horns announcing the beginning of Shabbat have been exempted from the proposal. MK Ahmed Tibi called the law “Islamophobic,” saying that “we will continue to fight it with all the parliamentary, political and legal tools.”
President Reuven Rivlin opposes the law, and has called together Jewish and Muslim religious figures in an attempt to reach an understanding on the issue “without needing to use legislation.” Rivlin stated, “Jerusalem has always integrated all the sounds, the Jewish prayers together with the muezzin calls and church bells.” Sheikh Abed al-Hakim Samara, president of the Shari’ah court, emphasized that “we are able to reach a solution by dialogue and agreement anywhere where the loudspeakers are a problem.” Rabbi Arieh Stern, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Jerusalem, said that “I see a need for a joint call for dialogue that would come from the highest Jewish and Muslim religious and public leadership in the country, and would maybe take the ground from under the need for such a law.”
The Jerusalem Post, November 30, 2016
Rabbi Eliyahu Asulin has come before the Chief Rabbinate for review and a possible revoking of his circumcising license on the suspicion that he allowed inexperienced trainees to practice the procedure on Ethiopian and non-Jewish babies. Asulin’s practices were discovered through an investigation by a reporter from the Israel Broadcasting Corporation, who posed as a trainee and submitted a report on his findings, including videos, and stated that Asulin was not the only circumciser to practice this way.
The circumcision department of the Chief Rabbinate is to shortly hold a hearing on Asulin’s case. Asulin, however, has said that the videos of him “had been manipulated and edited out of context ‘by political elements’ in Hadera, where he is based.”
Haaretz, December 2, 2016
This article surveys the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ refusal to serve in the IDF. It anonymously quotes an explanation from one of the elders that this is because of the verse about beating swords into plowshares in the book of Isaiah and the verse about not fighting one’s brother in the faith from 1 John. In some countries Jehovah’s Witnesses suffer imprisonment for this refusal, but in Israel they are given an annual deferral of service till age 30-33, as long as they can prove active membership in a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation. The elder quoted above, however, stated as well that even though this arrangement “satisfies their conscience,” it does not allow them to do national service as an alternative, which they would like to do in order to contribute to the country, and that “this is another reason why we are requesting that the state recognize us as a religious community.”
Iton Shacharit; HaModia, November 30, 2016
The anti-missionary activist organization Yad L’Achim has recently begun offering a Russian-language edition of their magazine Searching in order to target “Jews who may have come in contact with information from the cults in Israel” as a result of a widespread “missionary campaign particularly among Russian speakers.”
The Jerusalem Post, December 1, 2016
The Christian Friends of Israel organization is offering assistance to victims of the recent fires, and “invites families, community and religious leaders and social workers to contact them with referrals.”
Yediot Ahronot, November 28; Israel Hayom, December 2, 2016
These articles survey the different Christmas-themed attractions available for tourists in Nazareth. These include the Roman Catholic Church of the Annunciation, with its beautiful mosaics from around the world; the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation; the Greek Catholic church; the Mary Center; the remains of the Jewish synagogue; Mount Precipice; and particularly Nazareth Village, where visitors can see reconstructions of biblical life, crafts, and agricultural methods while being guided by people in period costume. Visitors can also enjoy a wide variety of foods while visiting the Big Fashion mall or the old market and seeing the Christmas decorations.
Yediot Ahronot, December 1, 2016
This article lists a number of Jerusalem museums that will be hosting special activities during December’s Hamshushalayim events, including the Israel Museum, the Museum of Italian Jewry, the Old Yishuv Court Kaplan Museum, the Bloomfield Science Museum, the Yad VaShem Museum, the Museum of Islamic Art, the Tower of David Museum, and the Bible Lands Museum.
The Jerusalem Post, December 2, 2016
Kokia House Visitors Center is a new tourist attraction featuring “the connection between the Seven Species and the history of Israel,” specifically “the various meanings of the Seven Species in the life cycle in the Land of Israel as cultural and religious symbols and as decorative motifs.” The tour includes an introductory film as well as archaeological artifacts, and the second floor has a dining room as well as a room for “prayers, study, events, shows, or concerts.”
Kokia House is located at 10 HaRav Agan Street, Jerusalem, and entrance will be free of charge till June 30, 2017.
Haaretz, November 27, 2016
Musician Goran Bregović arrived in Israel recently to record some of his new album with violinist Gershon Lazarson. Bregović is “one of the most noted composers of Yugoslav-Balkan-gypsy music,” and his works include the soundtracks for Time of the Gypsies and Arizona Dream. During his work on La Reine Margot he worked with Ofra Haza. Bregović has also performed at the Eilat Jazz Festival and the WorldWaves Festival.
Makor Rishon, December 2, 2016
This article is another review of the television series And the Earth Was Without Form and Void, currently being broadcast on Channel 1.
While admitting that the series is “beautiful, riveting, well-edited and well invested in,” the article is of the opinion that the material shown in the episodes broadcast thus far is contradictory and “doesn’t explain biblical monotheism in a way that is accurate and sufficient.” The article goes into the consequences of this, explaining biblical monotheism philosophically, and brings “archaeological examples that support the biblical narrative.”
Israel Hayom, December 1, 2016
A stone inscription mentioning Gargilius Antiquus, the Roman governor of Judah in the years immediately preceding the Bar-Kochba Revolt, has been found at the underwater excavation at Tel-Dor. “Not only is this the first time we have been able to confirm the name of the governor, but this is only the second time that the name of Judah has been found in a Roman inscription,” said Prof. Asaf Yas’ur Landau, who led the dig for Haifa University, and Dr. Gil Gambash, who assisted in deciphering the inscription.