During the week covered by this review, we received 9 articles on the following subjects:
HaModia, November 13, 2017
Thousands of Poles held a parade in Warsaw marking the country’s Independence Day. The demonstrators carried signs during the event supporting xenophobia and demanding a ‘white Europe’. Many marched with their faces covered. One marcher told an interviewer, “I participated in the march because I want to remove the Jews from the positions of power in the government.” Speeches given during the demonstration called for things like “protecting Christendom from her enemies.”
A group of anti-fascists carried out a counter-demonstration against racism and anti-Semitism at the same site. Police maintained a visible presence between the two groups in order to prevent violence.
Haaretz, November 14, 2017
The writer of this article is puzzled that ‘alt-right’ leader Stephen Bannon was not only present but warmly welcomed at this year’s gala held by the Zionist Organization of America. Also present were others “with a checkered relationship with the Jewish community” such as Sean Spicer and Sebastian Gorka. The article noted Bannon’s speech “…highlighted what he saw as Trump and Israel’s common enemies: radical Islamic terrorists abroad and ‘the radical left that is trying to nullify the 2016 election.” Bannon praised Sheldon Adelson as a “Trump whisperer”, and gave “red meat rhetoric” in support of Israel. Other alt-right figures present were Laura Loomer, recently in the news for posting a day-long tweetstorm blaming Islam for the recent terror attack in New York City, and Jack Posobiec, who recently attacked media portrayals of a Polish Independence Day march as a radical right-wing event. The article states, “The gala demonstrated that for the far-right edge of American Jewry, muscular support for Israel and enmity towards Islam trumps misgivings about xenophobia, anti-immigrant hostility and even ties to white supremacist and neo-Nazi sympathizers.”
Bannon’s possible presence at last year’s gala sparked intense controversy. He ended up choosing not to attend at that time. This year, as in 2016, the left-wing IfNotNow demonstrated against Bannon’s appearance. However, ZOA policy advisor Arthur Schwartz “…attempted to discredit the demonstrators on Twitter by charging that they were protesting for profit.”
The Jerusalem Post, November 15, 2017
Bridges for Peace and Israel365 recently held an event commemorating the centennial of the Balfour Declaration, entitled From Balfour to Nikki Haley: 100 Years of Christian Zionist Diplomacy. During this event, Israel365 gave the Jerusalem Covenant Award to International President and CEO of Bridges for Peace, Rebecca Brimmer. Brimmer also received a copy of the Jerusalem Covenant book. This book “…contains the signatures of more than 150,000 Christian Zionists, from more than 100 nations from Albania to Zimbabwe, proclaiming they believe Jerusalem should be the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.” Rabbi Tuly Weisz, who presented the award, said, “Becky has worked tirelessly and with a whole heart to build relationships between Christians and Jews in Israel and around the world. Becky is an ideal representative to share this special edition of the Jerusalem Covenant.”
The Jerusalem Covenant, the text of which was written by Supreme Court Justice Menachem Elon, is housed in the Knesset.
Yerushalayim Shelanu, November 14, 2017
The Church of the Visitation in Ein-Kerem commemorates the event described in the New Testament when Mary and Elizabeth met when they were both pregnant. Of note in the article’s description of the church are the ceramic tiles, showing the text of the Magnificat in 47 different languages. The facade of the church bears a large mosaic depicting Mary, riding a donkey, accompanied by angels, ascending a hill to Ein-Kerem, with Nazareth in the background, and Elizabeth in the foreground. The fresco in the church’s main apse depicts Mary as queen of the word with a Franciscan monk giving her the church as a gift, while Saint Francis and Gori, the patriarch at the time of dedication, look on. The other walls show scenes such as the miracle of the wine at Cana, the 1307 debate at the Sorbonne on Mary’s pregnancy, and the Christian victory over the Turks in 1571 at Lepanto.
Israel Hayom, November 17, 2017
This article describes how sites such as the archaeological park at Caesarea, the Old City in Akko, the Hebrew Museum for Music in Jerusalem, and the underwater observatory in Eilat are using virtual reality 360-degree glasses and headphones to recreate the different historical periods or underwater scenes for visitors, giving them a “time machine” effect. The glasses place the reconstructive layer, designed after meticulous research, over the remains one can see with the naked eye. It also describes how the Mahuti Center in Tel-Aviv uses a panoramic kinect screen for a presentation for children on influencing our surroundings.
Maariv, The Jerusalem Post, November 17, 2017
These articles inform the public of tourist attractions in east Jerusalem and offer a sample tour description. The first site mentioned is that of the Anglican-Episcopal Cathedral of Saint George, built in 1898, where the British royal arms, displayed during the mandate, still hangs. The second is Balian Ceramics, a shop and museum of the ceramics of the Armenian Balian family, who arrived in Jerusalem from Turkey in the 1920’s at the request of the British government. The family was commissioned by the British government to restore the tiling of the Dome of the Rock. The third is the Garden Tomb, discovered in 1883 by Charles Gordon, who became convinced that the site was the burial place of Jesus due to an adjacent hill that looks like a skull, as well as a small burial chamber, an oil press and a water cistern on the site. The last place is Beit Schmidt, built by German Catholics as a hostel for visitors and boasting a spectacular vista of Damascus Gate and the Old City from its roof.
Arrangements may need to be made prior to visiting each site except the Garden Tomb. Tours combining these and similar sites are available each Thursday during November and December. The tours are free of charge, but prior registration is necessary at itraveljerusalem.com.
Makor Rishon, November 17, 2017
In this article, architect David Kroyanker describes how the architectural symbols in Jerusalem can be divided into four categories. The Jewish symbols, found in neighborhoods such as Mea Shearim and Zichron Moshe, consist of elements like Stars of David, harps of David, and sunrises. The Christian symbols, found on monumental buildings such as hospitals and churches, consist of elements like crosses, animals, and olive branches. The Muslim symbols, found in Tabieh, Baka and the Old City, consist of elements such as crescents, stars, and Armenian ceramic tiles. During the 20th century, as community styles blended, modern elements were used to depict such styles as art nouveau, art deco and Bauhaus.
Kroyanker has been working in Jerusalem research for much of the past 40 years. The Jerusalem of Details exhibition at the Israel Museum, inspired by his work, shows examples of his findings to the public. He hopes the exhibition will move people to be informed about Jerusalem’s “architectural biography” and do more towards its preservation.
Iton Shacharit, November 17, 2017
An Israel Antiquities Authority dig in Jerusalem’s City of David found a quantity of olive, jujube and mulberry pits, grape seeds, lentils, figs and eggplant seeds in a garbage pit dating to the Abbasid period (750-940 CE). Other artifacts include cattle, fish and bird bones, and tools bearing the inscription “baraka,” meaning “blessing.” Although the remains offer much information on the nutrition and lifestyle of the residents of Jerusalem during this period, of special note is the fact “…it was a rare mineral process in the garbage pit, making the remains inorganic without changing their outward shape, which preserved them till their discovery.” Additionally, this site appears to contain the first discovery of eggplant seeds in the country.