During the week covered by this review, we received 8 articles on the following subjects:
Christians in Israel
The Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2017
On Friday, June 2, Governor Brian Sandoval (R) of Nevada signed legislation making Nevada the 20th state in the U.S. to pass a law prohibiting government bodies from conducting business with companies that boycott Israel. Christians United for Israel (CUFI) issued a statement on this move, attributing it to their own grassroots efforts. Dillon Hosier, national director of state government affairs at the Israeli-American Coalition for Action, said, “Nevada has strong economic ties with companies targeted by [the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Movement]. Allowing BDS to infiltrate this state would greatly disenfranchise Nevadans and harm their long-term economic interests.”
The Jerusalem Post, June 5, Iton Shacharit, June 8, 2017
Jewish, Christian and Muslim residents of Jerusalem do not seem surprised that U.S. President Donald Trump did not follow through on his pledge to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, saying that they believed his words shouldn’t be taken literally as they were mere rhetoric. Still, these residents appear to have reserved judgment on Trump’s decision, noting that the onus is on Israel to convince the world that her capital is indeed Jerusalem.
In a joint Knesset–U.S. Congress event on June 7, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein added his voice to those calling upon the U.S. government to transfer the embassy, stating that the anniversary of fifty years of Jerusalem’s unification was the appropriate time to do so. The event was projected by satellite in both countries and ended with a performance of “Jerusalem of Gold” by the U.S. Army band.
The Jerusalem Post, June 5, The Jerusalem Post, June 8, 2017
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., arrived in Israel on Wednesday, June 7th for a three-day visit. During her stay, she visited the Kerem Shalom crossing, so she could see how Israel determines who and what is allowed into Gaza. She visited a terrorist attack tunnel and met with residents from Kibbutz Nahal Oz. She met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the two spoke about the current situation regarding the Palestinians, various possibilities for overturning U.N. Resolution 2334 condemning settlements, and possible courses of action concerning Hezbollah in Lebanon. The latter included a discussion about strengthening the mandate of UNIFIL. Haley also met with President Reuven Rivlin. Rivlin stated, “…as a result of her efforts, ‘Israel is no longer the UN’s punching bag’.”
Following meetings in Jerusalem and a private, unaccompanied visit to the Western Wall, which she called “part of Israel” in an interview she gave to the Christian Broadcasting Network on May 17. Haley also met with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah, a UNRWA school near Bethlehem. On Thursday, she toured the country with UN Ambassador Danny Danon.
Christians in Israel
Yediot Haifa, June 2, 2017
The Union of Israeli Christians is an organization recently founded in Haifa by Wadia Hadad. It currently numbers some 4,800 members all over the country.
The Union’s primary purpose is “to correct the mistaken public relations calling them Arabs.” Another goal is to unite the different Christian denominations against the dangers from fundamentalist Muslim movements and to inspire Christians in neighboring countries to found similar organizations as well.
Status of Holy Sites
Iton Shacharit, June 7, 2017
Activists are objecting to a Greek Orthodox prayer ceremony that took place on Monday, June 5, in the David’s Tomb/Cenacle structure on Mount Zion. Saying that this prayer service was “a blatant disregard of the status quo,” the activists say that bringing Christian ritual articles into the tomb was highly offensive to the Jewish worshipers. After negotiations carried out by the police, those involved from the Church agreed to keep the prayer service brief.
Haaretz, June 7, 2017
Zion Oil and Gas of Houston, Texas, has recently begun drilling in the Jezreel Valley, with the intent of searching for oil. The company, which is owned and managed by evangelical Christians, appears to be taking its cue from the verses in Genesis and Deuteronomy about the sons of Joseph “bathing in oil” as their inspiration. They are fundraising using these Scriptures as well.
However, a recent YouTube video accuses the company of deceiving their investors. John Brown, founder and CEO of Zion, stated, “…as a Christian Zionist (my) duty is to help the people of Israel restore the land by means of gas and oil since this would protect the country’s political and economic independence.” Although Zion and other companies have drilled in the past, none have resulted in marketable discoveries. Zion has emphasized that according to the Beicip-Franlab company’s geological survey, the Levant Basin has the potential of yielding some 6.6 billion barrels of oil.