During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the following subjects:
Christians in Israel
Christians in Israel
Israel Hayom, August 13, 2017
Archbishop Atallah Hana, one of the leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, met recently with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Apparently, the meeting’s tone was cordial. Hana has expressed support in the past for terrorist activity against Israel, even participating in a pro-Syria demonstration. He has been investigated by the police for his support of terrorists and their families, as well as meetings he arranged with Syrian government officials. His meeting with Assad has drawn stiff controversy. Maor Tzemach, head of the Lach Yerushalayim movement, called for Hana to be arrested and removed from Jerusalem.
Ma’ariv Mekomonim, August 11, 2017
In this article, Yonatan Halleli of the Yad Ezer L’Chaver NPO, which operates the Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors, addresses the dedication ceremony for the monument to the Exodus at Haifa Port. Among those present were Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Gallant (Kulanu), whose mother Fruma arrived in Israel on the Exodus; Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky; and International Christian Embassy executive director Dr. Jürgen Bühler. Halleli further tells that he was particularly stirred by Bühler’s statement, “The Exodus is a symbol not only for Jews but for the millions of evangelical Christians all over the world who stand by Israel and recognize the need for a Jewish state.” He was also stirred by Gallant’s statement: “The Exodus has become a symbol of the transition from Holocaust to resurrection. When we choose to remember the heroes who founded the country, I [Gallant] feel that there is something to fight for.”
The Jerusalem Post, August 17, 2017
Dental Volunteers for Israel is a Jerusalem-based free dental clinic serving Israel’s most impoverished citizens of all races and backgrounds since 1980. The clinic also treats residents of women’s shelters and at-risk youth.
In 2016, DVI created the Free Denture Program, which has provided dentures for 105 patients so far. Aimed at Israel’s elderly and Holocaust survivors, the program has seen great success as some of those treated had been living in isolation for decades, sometimes suffering depression or dementia as well. “Children and grandchildren come to the clinic in tears thanking us for bringing their grandmother or grandfather back to them,” said Michelle Levine, director of development and international relations for DVI. The program does not receive any state funding, relying entirely on the volunteer work provided through the Abraham and Sonia Rochlin Foundation and Operation Blessing, a foundation connected to the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Matzav HaRuach, August 18, 2017
The anti-missionary activist organization Yad L’Achim wishes to alert the public to “…a missionary campaign on YouTube and Facebook to brainwash small children.” The campaign consists mostly of automated pop-up advertisements appearing when searching for children’s films on You Tube, says Yad L’Achim, As the YouTube management has refused Yad L’Achim’s demand to remove the ads, the organization cautions parents to be aware of the content their children are exposed to and report the occurrences to Yad L’Achim.
HaModia, August 14, 2017
After heavy pressure, the local municipality and environmental court in Sydney, Australia has reversed their decision to forbid the building of a synagogue in Bondi (see MR August 2017 #1).
Initially, the local municipality had prohibited the construction, saying that the structure would be likely to become a terrorist target. Some of the Bondi Jewish community leaders then turned to the environmental court in Sydney in an attempt to overturn the decision, but the court upheld the municipality’s ruling, citing then-current threats against airplanes as well. Jewish community leaders said that the decision “…choked religious freedom and gave a prize to terror.” Rabbi Yehoram Ulman added, “The decision is without precedent, and shows that Jewish organizations cannot exist in residential areas.”
Vic Alhadeff, CEO of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, condemned the decision as well, stating, “I have never heard of any other religious group for whom a place of prayer was barred, merely because of radical threats.”
Yediot Ayalon, August 11, 2017
Prince Ioane Bagration and his wife Kristine recently came to Israel as part of a cultural delegation. During their time here they visited the Church of St. George in Lod, the al-Omri mosque, and the Georgian Shaarei Shamayim synagogue, concentrating on the place where the three buildings share common walls. “It was exciting to see the couple feeling so connected to our community here. They treated the visit with respect, and this was very touching, especially since this is their first visit to Israel,” said Avraham Butrashvili, the Lod municipality representative.
“This is our first time in Israel, and the visit to the church was very meaningful for us. Everything is very exciting here,” said Princess Kristine. The Georgian Bagratids reigned till the early 19th century, and were counted as an imperial noble family in the Russian Empire until 1917.
Yedioth Ahronoth, August 13, 2017
Francesco M. Talò has just finished his five-year term of service as Italy’s ambassador to Israel. In this article he writes his farewell, calling Israel “…a land of ancient past experienced in the present, a land of burdensome past that at the same time is a vehicle for innovation.” He noted he learned the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, which is the obligation to leave a better world in his wake. Among his successes, Talò cites the Expo Milano exhibition on nutritional solutions for the world, where Israel’s innovations were shared for the benefit of the developing world, and the many trees planted together with the JNF to mark Italy’s Republic Day.
Talò mentioned that the completion of his term of service coincided with the launching of the Vega rocket, as the Vega carried two Israeli-made satellites into space, one of which was an OPTSAT-3000. Talò also showed President Reuven Rivlin the Talmud translation project, which makes use of Italian-made computer software enabling simultaneous translation by experts around the world. In conclusion, Talò said that his time in Israel taught him that no dream is too ambitious, adding that he will “…continue to work for Italy, the country he loves, with deep gratitude to Israel, the country he has learned to love.”