During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the following subjects:
Messianic Jews (Individuals)
Arab Believing Communities
Yedioth Ahronoth, June 10, 2019
This was an interview with a German Christian couple on holiday in Haifa. The couple came to Israel to meet a Holocaust survivor they have been sponsoring through a program set up by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. The German couple have been donating to their “adopted survivor” on a monthly basis, and were meeting her for the very first time on this trip. They expressed their belief that the Jewish people are the tree, and that Christians are the branches; as such, the two belong to each other. They also mentioned that there are still Jews who remain suspicious towards Germans.
Zman Tzafon, June 6, 2019
A resident in the north of Israel received a package that was directly addressed to her and her family, which was sent by a Messianic Jewish congregation in Tel Aviv. The package came with a magazine entitled “Orot” (“lights”), a New Testament, and a letter from a Russian rabbi endorsing the material. The lady who received the package immediately destroyed it and contacted Yad L’Achim. Yad L’Achim has demanded that the Ministry of Education intervene, as the package has been sent to schools. The Ministry of Education has lodged a complaint with the police.
Heads of Christian churches in Jerusalem issued a public denouncement of a decision made by the Israeli Supreme Court to allow for the sale of Greek Orthodox assets to a settler association. Three buildings in the Old City of Jerusalem, including two old hotels, have been purchased by the association “Ateret Cohanim”. The Greek Orthodox Church claims the purchase was made under corrupt circumstances, and worry that the Palestinian residents of the purchased buildings will be evicted by the new owners. They also pointed out that the buildings are situated near the main entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and warned that the settler association may work to block access to the ancient church. The Church called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to intervene.
Messianic Jews (Individuals)
Haaretz, June 14, 2019
Far right religious activists attacked hundreds of Messianic Jews who were arriving to a worship music concert in Jerusalem. For seven hours, the activists yelled, pushed, whistled, sprayed pepper spray, and threw live frogs at incoming and outgoing worshippers. Messianic attendants said the police did very little to protect them against the ongoing harassments. Yael Kalisher, one of the organizers of the event, said, “there is something about this faith, that when people come in contact with it, either they want it, or they want to persecute it”. Tzuriel Bar-David, a Messianic Jew, said that he saw a pair of 70-year-olds try to physically block a group of twelve protesting adults, youth, and even kids, who were spitting, yelling, and cursing at the older couple. Bar-David said he did not want to exaggerate, but “the feeling was one of a pogrom. It was violent, provocative, and aggressive.” One person reported being threatened with murder. At the end of the night, hundreds who were still in the audience were not able to leave through the front doors, and were smuggled out of emergency exits. But protestors were waiting in the parking lot, where concert attendant Ayelet Ronen, who was there with her children, said live frogs were thrown at the worshippers. She said the frogs were “nice and cute, some were thrown at the walls and died then and there”. Ronen further said, “there is something in the image of Jesus, in relation to the history of our people, that triggers something. It is connected to the fear of watering down the Jewish people, but this is a mistaken understanding of who is Jewish. We not only believe and love the God of Israel and fulfill what he said, but we also believe that the Messiah we await is Jesus. One day, when the Messiah comes, we will look back and see that he has already been here.”
Arab Believing Community
Makor Rishon, June 14, 2019
Fifteen residents of East Jerusalem participated in a special course set up for Christian Arabs who wanted to learn Hebrew. The initiative was funded by an anonymous donor. Some of the participants were in high school; others were adults who wanted to learn Hebrew in order to expand their economic prospects. One of the participants said he believed Hebrew wasn’t taught in Christian schools for political reasons, and as a means of distancing Christians from the Israeli identity.