During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the following subjects:
Israel Hayom, June 22, 2018
One of Israel’s greatest African allies is the small Western African country of Togo. This article explored Israel’s relationship with Togo by way of an interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Robert Dussey. Dussey is known for his unwavering support for Israel and has visited Israel many times. Prior to becoming a politician, Dussey was a monk in the Catholic Community of the Beatitudes – a Catholic group that considers Israel’s welfare its top priority. As part of the group’s monastic life, Dussey said his daily prayers in Hebrew. During the interview, Dussey sang the Shema, which he knows by heart. Dussey said: “When I was a monk, we would pray all day for Israel and for its peace, especially the peace of Jerusalem. We would celebrate the Shabbat together, saying our Catholic prayers and sharing the Shabbat bread.” Togo was one of the few countries to support the move of the American Embassy to Jerusalem. Dussey said that Togo’s relationship with Israel has been very special. Israel has helped Togo develop its health sector, and furthermore has provided training for agricultural workers.
Yedioth Yerushalayim, June 22, 2018
Even though the Israeli government has temporarily frozen the church lands law – a law that, if passed, would lead to the expropriation of lands previously owned and sold by churches, thereby damaging future sales – church leaders have remain concerned. This week, church leaders in Jerusalem sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to President Reuven Rivlin, claiming that attempts to push the law through have been taking place in secret. The letter stated: “We, the heads of the churches, call on you, Prime Minister, to act quickly and determinately to stop the law proposal, the unilateral tactics of which will force the churches to respond in kind.”
The Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2018
This was an opinion piece which argued that Israel cannot take the support of American Evangelicals for granted. A recent survey conducted by LifeWay Research found that 76% of Evangelicals over the age of 65 hold to a positive view of Israel. Amongst younger Evangelicals, aged between 18 and 34, that number dropped to 58%. Furthermore, about 41% of younger Evangelicals said they do not have strong views regarding Israel. David Nekrutman, executive director of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation, said: “It is easy, but dangerously inaccurate, to assume that the children of Christian Zionists are building on the foundation of what their parents have learned.” Nekrutman listed deeply rooted Christian anti-Semitism, as well as a decline in biblical literacy, as the reasons for this trend among younger Evangelicals. The opinion piece argued that “Christ at the Checkpoint,” together with the Bethlehem Bible College, are examples of Christians who are seizing upon this trend. The author argued that “Christ at the Checkpoint” twists the biblical text “to the point that it becomes unrecognizable” in attempts to win over younger Evangelicals. Therefore, argued the author, “Israel cannot and must not ignore its possible political and diplomatic ramifications. Left unaddressed, it could have far-reaching and damaging consequences from the halls of Congress all the way to the White House.”
Hamodia, June 27, 2018
In an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leaders of the Ethopian community in Israel have asked the government to drop its plan to allow 8,000 more Ethiopians to immigrate to Israel. The letter stated that the 8,000 Falash Mura awaiting their permits are not Jews but Christians, and that they were “unable to withstand the temptation and converted to Christianity 140 years ago.” Furthermore, the Falash Mura were “unable, like other Jews in Ethiopia, to stand on their faith and allow themselves to be killed for it, if necessary, as Jews have traditionally done.” It was also reported that the majority of Ethiopians who have immigrated to Israel were undercover Christians – double the number of “actual Jews” who emigrated from Ethiopia.
Haaretz, June 28, 2018
In order to end the crisis between Poland and Israel which began six months ago, a result of the new Polish law forbidding any association between the Polish people and the responsibility for the Holocaust, the two countries have made new compromises. The Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has revoked the law. What this act will cost Morawiecki politically remains unknown. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, agreed to sign a joint statement which recognizes that the Polish people were not involved in the Holocaust and did not cooperate with the Nazis. The problem with this joint statement, argued the author, has to do with the fact that it covers up the many Poles’ participation in persecuting, turning in, and murdering Jews before, during, and after the Holocaust. The Catholic Church was also complicit, and yet the statement said that the few Poles who did act criminally did so “with no connection to their religion.” This is inaccurate, “to say the least.” Israel has therefore “given in” to the Polish narrative for the sake of diplomacy, argued the author.
Iton Shacharit, June 28, 2018
Representatives from the Messianic Jewish Community have drafted a letter, addressed to Israel’s Minister of Interior, Aryeh Deri, and to Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin. In the letter, Messianic leaders requested to be recognized as a legitimate group in Israeli society, to have their rights respected, and to prevent instances of discrimination. The letter also requested that Israel halt the alliance between the Ministry of the Interior and Yad L’Achim. The latter’s purpose, stated the letter, is to harm Messianic Jews, as well as make it difficult for them to exercise their right to make aliyah.
Hamodia, June 27, 2018
Yad L’Achim has organized a field trip for Jews exposed to missionary activity in the South of Israel. The participants were mostly immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who got “caught up in the missionary cults.” The day included a sailing trip, as well as a workshop geared towards reconnecting the “survivors” with their Judaism. The day was considered a success, and a group from Beersheba even requested a regular weekly meeting. Yad L’Achim reports: “We are very satisfied with the fact that 100 souls who were chained to Christian missionary networks have now found their Judaism, and most of them have decided to cut ties with the missionaries…. We will not recoil in the face of threats made by missionaries who watch with horror as we take away more and more Jews from them.”