During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the following subjects:
Christians in Israel
Israel Hayom, November 11, 2019; Matzav Ruach, November 8, 2019
The first article was an opinion piece about the new media center opened by the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem, under the direction of Mike Evans. The author wrote that Evangelicals are allies, and the “most devoted ambassadors for Israel”. Israelis do not always know how to handle Evangelical support, and are sometimes suspicious that such support is a cover for an agenda to convert Jews. However, “Evangelicals are not just talk”, and the new media center will work to oppose the BDS movement, and to encourage more national embassies to move their headquarters to Jerusalem. Israelis do not understand the power of Christian media in the US, wrote the author.
The second article noted that the 150 journalists from 30 different countries who came to Jerusalem to celebrate the new media center were taken on tours in Jerusalem and around the country. They met with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and also visited a new town in the Golan Heights named after Donald Trump.
Iton Shacharit, November 11, 2019; HaDerech, October 10, 2019
The first article was another report about the failure of Rabbi Pliner’s missionary synagogue in the South of Israel. Jews who do not attend synagogue regularly were easily deceived into believing it was a Jewish rather than Christian establishment. The article noted, again, that Pliner’s center failed, and that now in its stead a real synagogue is opening up.
The second article reported that a car of four missionaries was found driving around the city of Or Akiva, attempting to distribute missionary books to pedestrians. The missionaries spoke Hebrew.
Christians in Israel
New Tech Magazine, October 31, 2019; Haaretz, November 15, 2019
Both articles were promoting Christian settlements/establishments as visitor destinations. The first article was about two monasteries: the Latrun Monastery and the Emmaus Nicopolis Monastery, situated close together between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The monks of the Latrun monastery planted a vineyard in the area over 100 years ago, and to this day make wine which can be tasted and purchased at the visitors’ center. An ancient wine press was found nearby, dating back to the Roman period, indicating that wine was being made in the area even in ancient times. Visitors can also go to a small museum in one of the monasteries, which tells the history of the area, and includes byzantine mosaic remains.
The second article was about the town of Beit El in the North of Israel, which was established by German Christians in 1963. The town includes a factory for baked goods and other types of foods, made in traditional Northern European way. Visitors can eat Germanic pretzels, strudels, and other desserts. Certain foods are distributed to stores around Israel, and are also exported abroad. The community in Beit El believes in the New Testament, is committed to Zionism, and their sons enlist in the military. There is no private property, and all workers are share owners in the bakery. Teachers and farmers alike earn the same salary. The author wrote that while it is hard to relate to the residents’ apocalyptic beliefs about Armageddon, even secular skeptics today “struggle not to think that ancient prophecies about the end of humanity are related to the climate crisis and the industrialized global food industry”. The author applauded Beit El’s commitment to traditional and ethical food production.
Mazker, October 31, 2019
This was an article about the “new anti-Semitism,” which was discussed recently in a large conference devoted to the topic. One section of the article was about the origins of anti-Semitism, citing the New Testament as launching the trope of the powerful, cunning, and financially manipulative Jew. Whether the New Testament is properly anti-Semitic, however, can be debated given that all the characters in the story of Jesus were themselves all Jewish, including Jesus. Nevertheless, that is where the stereotypes have come from. Today, far right activists still push the conspiracy theory that Jews own everything, and want to take away the livelihoods of “white Christians”. Thus, in the now infamous far right demonstration in Charlottesville, marchers chanted “the Jews won’t replace us”, and fretted over the “destruction of the nation of white Christians”.