During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the following subjects:
The Jerusalem Post, August 5, 2019
The Anglican Church of Canada, following a meeting of the Great Synod in Vancouver, has announced that it will remove a prayer for the conversion of Jews from The Book of Common Prayer. The old prayer states: “… open their hearts that they may see and confess the Lord Jesus to be the Son and their true Messiah.” Instead, a prayer for reconciliation between Christians and Jews will be included. The move is meant to counter historic anti-Semitism.
Haaretz, August 6, 2019; Yated Ne’eman, August 7, 2019
These articles had to do with the ongoing controversy over the sale of assets belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem to a settler organization by the name of “Ateret Cohanim”. The Church has officially appealed the Supreme Court’s decision to authorize the sale, bringing forward new evidence of corruption in the original deal. This includes a witness account by one of the hotel managers, who claims he received money from Ateret Cohanim in order to convince Palestinian families, at the time considered “protected residents”, to give up their right to reside in the hotels. The manager also witnessed the faking of documents, and bribery offers. The new set of evidence includes a tape in which an official from Ateret Cohanim is heard offering the manager prostitutes in exchange for his assistance.
The Jerusalem Post, August 6, 2019
This was a piece by Shmuley Boteach, the author of Kosher Jesus, who wrote the piece in preparation for a debate with Mike Brown in New York. Brown, according to this article, supports evangelism to the Jews. Boteach argued that the New Testament is rife with anti-Semitic judgments of Jews, who are consistently depicted as villains. Boteach goes on to argue that while these passages undergird historic anti-Semitism, modern Christians largely “reject any demonization of the Jewish people”, and increasingly ally themselves with the Jews. Ultimately, he said, “it’s a game of interpretation” whether the New Testament is to be considered anti-Semitic, and Christians have a responsibility to recognize those dangerous passages, and to disarm them through re-interpretation. The Catholic Church did this in 1985, and it’s now “high time Christian leaders outside the Catholic camp begin to do the same.” Brown’s pro-conversion views, he argued, are increasingly outdated.
Iton Shacharit, August 6, 2019; Menorah, August 1, 2019; Hamodia, August 8, 2019
The first article reported that a large group, which included Jews, were set to be baptized in the Sea of Galilee. Missionaries from the “Church of Life” in Tel Aviv, who primarily work with Russian-speakers, were responsible for the event. Fifteen Yeshiva students gathered at the departure site to protest. They convinced some Jews to stay behind. Once the group arrived at the Sea of Galilee, protestors had gathered there as well, and ultimately the mass baptism was canceled.
The second article revisited the story from last week about the free trip scheme offered by missionaries to Jews, considered a “missionary trap”. The free trip included a stopover at a prayer center. The “missionary” Shlomi Abramov, from Rishon LeZion, is said to have distributed free New Testaments to participants.
The final article announced a conference by Yad L’Achim in Jerusalem, aimed at exposing missionary tactics in response to increased missionary activity in Jerusalem. The event is not only meant to educate, but also to recruit new activists and volunteers for Yad L’Achim.