During the week covered by this review, we received 11 articles on the following subjects:
Christians in Israel
Haaretz, July 7, 2019; Haaretz, July 9, 2019; The Jerusalem Post, July 11, 2019; Shvii, July 11, 2019
The first three articles reported that the annual summit in Washington DC organized by Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which was founded by John Hagee, gathered in Washington DC with 5,000 in attendance. Several high-ranking officials from President Donald Trump’s administration participated in the summit, including Vice President Mike Pence. This was seen as evidence of the close relationship between Trump’s administration and CUFI. It was further reported that Trump plans to mobilize his Evangelical base by organizing voter registration drives at churches, and aims to align himself more closely with Evangelical political interests, such as anti-abortion and anti-LGBT rights. Evangelicals have historically been pro-Israel, in part because of a belief that the State of Israel is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and in part because support for Israel is seen as a means of conferring blessing upon the United States. Israel is also seen by many Evangelicals as a partner in the global war on terrorism. However, support is in decline amongst younger Evangelicals. One article reported that CUFI has developed a “millennial outreach” arm to deal with the issue. In an attempt to mobilize a younger generation, it has reached out to millennial pastors, musicians, actors, and influencers. It furthermore offered scholarships and funding for Evangelical college students who wanted to attend the summit.
The final article reported that Dr. Rubén Proietti, an Evangelical leader in Latin America, arrived in Israel for his first visit. He began his visit in West Bank settlements, where he said that the BDS movement is operating not only against Jews but against Christians. He also that “… we will always support the State of Israel, and from our perspective, Judea and Samaria are part of the country”.
Christians in Israel
This was a piece that appeared in a number of smaller local papers, which relayed the story of “Pastor Jose” from Puerto Rico. Jose, at the age of 27, landed in Ben Gurion Airport with his wife, when a terrorist group from Japan opened fire, killing 24 people. Jose’s wife was one of the victims of the attack. Jose’s life was spared because a New Testament which he kept in his shirt pocket blocked the bullet. Jose was taken to the hospital, where he was cared for, he said, by an “angel in the form of a nurse”. Rebecca, the nurse, was the only person on duty that night who spoke Spanish. Even though she was meant to be finishing her shift, she sensed Jose needed emotional support. She sat by his bed every day until he returned to Puerto Rico. Rebecca said they talked about God, life, and Jose’s two young daughters. Recently, 47 years after the attack, Jose returned to Israel for the first time with a group of pilgrims. He tried to locate Rebecca, but could not locate her until after he was back in Puerto Rico. The two spoke over a radio broadcast, and Rebecca said that reconnecting was an amazing experience. She said she was happy to hear that Jose remarried two years after the incident, had more children, and returned to working in the church. Jose said that in the future, on his next trip to Israel, he will make sure to meet up with Rebecca.
HaMevasser, July 11, 2019
This article reported that missionaries have started to take advantage of the internet as a means to proselytize. Yad L’Achim has begun to fight the phenomenon. Yad L’Achim recently released a “visual production” online that is meant to warn the public and show them that missionaries often appear in disguise. Yad L’Achim believes missionaries are using the internet as a way of avoiding the legal ramifications of proselytizing to minors (i.e., imprisonment).