During the week covered by this review, we received 11 articles on the following subjects:
The Pope and the Vatican
Maariv, May 28, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump, speaking to American soldiers in Sicily May 27, stated, “I met Abu Mazen, who promised me that he is ready to go forward towards peace, and Netanyahu promised me that he is also ready to do this. He is my friend, and he means it. All the children deserve a future of peace.” Trump detailed some of the sites he visited, noting he was impressed by the Holy Land’s beauty. He emphasized his position against a nuclear Iran, and the need to vanquish terror. Despite Trump’s stiff criticism of NATO before entering the White House, he told the soldiers that although the U.S. remains committed to NATO, he stands by his demand that the other member countries increase their payments to the organization. Trump was in Sicily for a G7 conference.
Channel 10 TV News has reported that according to sources involved, Trump’s government wishes for renewed negotiations towards a permanent solution as quickly as possible. Those same sources noted that the administration wants preliminary talks to begin in Washington within a month or two, in order to work toward direct negotiations on key issues.
Maariv, June 1; The Jerusalem Post, June 2, 2017
June 1 was the date when former U.S. president Barack Obama’s last deferral of the U.S. embassy transfer to Jerusalem expired. Although sources were initially unsure whether U.S. President Donald Trump would sign another deferral even as late as the morning of that day, it became apparent that he had, in fact, executed the signature hours ahead of the deadline. Media sources analyzing the move believe that Trump has signed the deferral following requests from countries such as Jordan and Egypt, which warned of possible hostility towards the U.S. resulting from executing the transfer, hindering the advancement of a peace agreement. Republicans Overseas Israel chairman Marc Zell has stated that Trump signed the current deferral due to a private statement from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he does not want the embassy moved at this time, but Netanyahu categorically denies this.
In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, legislating the moving of the embassy but giving the president in office permission to defer it if necessary in the interests of national security. Right-wing elements in the U.S. recently have increased their calls for Trump to keep his promise and transfer the embassy (see last week’s MR).
The Jerusalem Post, June 1, 2017
This article offers its opinion on the current situation regarding Jerusalem by suggesting Bethlehem as the capital of a future Palestine. In doing so, the Palestinian Authority would be proving the authenticity of their regard for Jesus’ birthplace in particular and Christianity in general. However, adopting this idea would be in contravention of the situation on the ground, where Christians are a mere 12% of Bethlehem’s population. The rest of the Christian population has left after being threatened by Muslim street thugs and terrorists, and not because of the security fence, as Hamas and PA propaganda states. Bethlehem as the capital of a future Islamic Palestine would also test the resolve of the Christian world. The article stated, “(This resolve failed due to)…the loss of their Christian heritage when UNESCO converted the Jewish Temple into an exclusively Islamic holy shrine, at the behest of the Muslim world…(and) the massed slaughter of Christians in the Muslim Middle East.” However, the article notes any Palestinian state is likely to turn into a “Hamastan,” its capital “…an expansion of the Caliphate with the powerful message of conquest by building imposing mosques on the ruins of other faiths.”
Haaretz, May 28, 2017
This article, wishing to answer the question of whether or not Jerusalem is, in fact, unified, gives a detailed description of the remains of the Green Line border. The conclusion the writer reaches is that although most of the physical border no longer exists, the fact that it remains drawn on maps and diplomatic documents, the fact that the city has two wholly disconnected transportation systems, the construction of the separation fence leading the city’s Arabs to look for work to the west, and particularly the conceptual division in the minds of the city’s residents mean that the Green Line remains.
Yom L’Yom, June 1, 2017
The anti-missionary activist organization Yad L’Achim has begun a campaign among politicians and public figures, seeking to oppose the plans of T.B. Joshua of Nigeria to move his outreach center to the shores of the Sea of Galilee, citing missionizing concerns.
The Jerusalem Post, May 30, 2017
In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem is a docudrama produced by the Christian Broadcasting Network and following the 55th Paratroopers Brigade responsible for liberating Jerusalem from Jordanian control. It was released on May 23, and become a “resounding box office success,” leading its distributor to screen the film on June 1st and 6th as well.
In Our Hands will be released in Israel at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on June 4.
The Pope and the Vatican
Zman Mevasseret, May 25, 2017
Artist Avner Moria of Har Adar recently met with Pope Francis at the Vatican. During the meeting, Moria presented the pontiff with a copy of the book of Exodus, which he had spent two years writing and illustrating, as a gift of thanks for Francis’ interfaith activities.
This copy of the book of Exodus now joins a copy of Genesis, which Moria had presented to the previous pope.
Maariv Mekomonim, May 26, 2017
Touching the Moment, the Davidson Center’s current exhibition to mark Jerusalem Day, tells the story of the liberation of the Old City and the Western Wall in an experiential, interactive manner. Among the items on display is the shofar used by Rabbi Shlomo Goren at the declaration and a copy of Naomi Shemer’s transcript to her song “Jerusalem of Gold”. Other items are military maps showing the entrance routes into the Old City, original recordings of a Voice of Israel journalist when he arrived at the Wall, daily newspapers from the following day, and government meeting protocols showing the planning.
The Jerusalem Post, June 1, 2017
JerusaLENS, an international photography challenge, will be holding an exhibition at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill from June 6 to August 6. The exhibition features 100 of the 400 leading images, which were selected from among some 14,500 submitted on the basis of 2.4 million votes. The participating photographers were from 84 countries, including Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Iraq. KKL-JNF has also included its official photo archive in the competition. Following the Jerusalem showing, the KKL-JNF will sponsor an international tour for the exhibition. Admission to the Ammunition Hill exhibition is free.
HaModia, May 29, 2017
Archaeologists from Tel Aviv University, together with the Israel Antiquities Authority, have been excavating one of Jerusalem’s Second Temple era garbage dumps, in an attempt to discover more about the daily life of the residents of the period. The team was particularly interested in the 5,000 animal bones that they found, which showed that the residents mostly ate mutton and goat, and very occasionally, beef and poultry. The animals were older than those found in other parts of the city, and their bones demonstrated that the cuts eaten were not the best, showing that those who used this dump were the ordinary people rather than the elite, whose refuse was closer to the Temple. The complete absence of dove bones also revealed that doves had been raised and eaten only in connection with sacrifices.