During the week covered by this review, we received 11 articles on the following subjects:
Christians and the Holocaust
The Jerusalem Post, March 15, 2019; The Jerusalem Post, March 15, 2019
The first article reported that the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem is organizing an initiative similar to the Jewish Birthright trip. Christian young adults (aged 17-32) were invited to participate in a 10-day tour of Israel under the banner of a tour called “Arise.” The trip is meant to help young Christians deepen their connection to “God, His people and the Bible, while making friends…” Unlike Birthright, however, the trip will not be free of charge, costing participants $1,399, plus airfare.
The second article was about the Rev. Robert Stearns’ organization called Eagles’ Wings, which offers comprehensive tours of the Holy Land. About 40% of participants “subsequently return with congregants to lead their very own mission to Israel”. The article focused on one participant in particular, Adam Mesa, who preaches to a congregation of 12,000 and has 17,500 followers on Instagram, and who shared his experiences of Israel on the popular app. “I feel privileged to be able to tell these stories and use my influence,” he said. Eagles’ Wings has brought more than 25,000 Christians to Israel since the 1990s.
A few articles reported the organization Or L’Achim’s call for donations to fund its campaign entitled, “Stopping the Mission.”
A third article reported that Yad L’Achim has started warning pedestrians about a Messianic Jewish “church” in Ramat Gan. Yad L’Achim planned to put up a very large sign close to the entrance of the church, and whenever the congregants gathered, to warn the Jews not to be deceived by a church masquerading as a synagogue.
Christians and the Holocaust
Hamodia, March 14, 2019
This was an interview with historian Dr. Michael Berenbaum about the Vatican’s plans to open up its World War II archives. Dr. Berenbaum said the most pressing questions researchers should ask is: What did the church know, and when did they know it? He said priests heard confessions from Nazi soldiers, and while they could not divulge the content of a confession, they may have nevertheless given generalized information to their superiors. Historically, the Catholic Church has remained neutral during war, though during World War II, Pope Pius XII was accused of siding with the allies by the Germans. Another important discovery will be to find out what was done about Jewish children who had been put in Catholic homes. Dr. Berenbaum was “confident that the Vatican would release all relevant documents in their original form, saying that historians would eventually catch any omissions or tampering through cross-references and other overlapping material.”
Yedioth Ahronoth, March 21, 2019
The traditional baptismal site of Jesus, Qasr el Yahud, is in danger of closing because high concentrations of bacteria were found in samples of the water. In the last year alone, 750 thousand tourists from all over the world visited the site. There are plans to discover the source of contaminations in order to come up with a solution.
The Jerusalem Post, March 21, 2019
Christian leaders from North and South America recently made a 10-day trip to Israel and the West Bank, after which they released a statement critiquing Israel for its policies. They called for economic pressure to be applied on Israel. “We believe that silence in the face of injustice is complicity,” said part of the statement. The leaders also leveled criticism against Palestinian leaders, saying that they were “disheartened by the patent divisions among the Palestinian political leaders that make it almost impossible for them to come to a common position and vision of the way to justice, peace and security for all.”
The Jerusalem Post, March 22, 2019; Yedioth Yerushalayim, March 22, 2019
These articles both reported that the Catholic and Orthodox churches have sent a letter to the mayor of Jerusalem with regards to a project by the Jerusalem Development Authority seeking to connect Mount Scopus to the Mount of Olives by way of a promenade. The path would cross through plots belonging to the churches, raising concerns that the municipality planned to expropriate the land. In addition, the churches were concerned that the promenade would elevate noise levels, disrupt the calm, which in turn would hamper the experiences of worshippers.