During the week covered by this review, we received 9 articles on the following subjects:
Christians and the Holocaust
Christians and the Holocaust
Yated Ne’eman, November 29, 2019
Lebanese Christian Abdallah Chatila, who immigrated to Switzerland as a child, and who recently purchased Adolf Hitler’s belongings at auction in order to transfer them into Jewish hands, was recently recognized by a large gathering of European rabbis. The group awarded him with a shofar. Chatila made it clear that he didn’t take this action in order to be a hero. He further stated that he’d first considered burning the items, and then concluded that he should not be the one to decide their fate. “I am a Christian, I am Lebanese, my family did not go through the Holocaust, and it would be a mistake to burn them. Only the Jews who suffered under the Nazis should decide what to do with them.”
Haaretz, December 1, 2019
A small wooden piece from Jesus’ traditional manger has been returned to Bethlehem, after 1,400 years in Rome. Crowds gathered around the relic, and Palestinian scouts played the bagpipes, after which it was brought into the Church of St. Catherine. It was reported that President Mahmoud Abbas had initially asked to borrow the whole manger, but Pope Francis decided to permanently return a small portion of it.
Kochav HaTzafon, November 22, 2019; Meida 8, November 29, 2019; Shavua Israeli, November 20, 2019
The first two articles reported about “Israel-loving” Evangelical tourist groups that were hosted in Israel. The first was a group from El Salvador, and was hosted by Kibbutz Ein Gev near the Sea of Galilee. The second group hailed from the Netherlands, and has reportedly been returning to Israel annually for the last twenty years. The latter group brought colorful flowers to be planted in the Galilee.
The third article was an opinion piece. The author argued that it is time for Christians and Jews to recognize that they have a shared fate, which consists of standing together in opposition to Islamism. The author further argued that Israel has to improve its relations with Evangelical Christians, which is what the director of the Government Press Office, Nitzan Chen, attempted to do when he invited representatives from the global Christian media to gather for a conference in Israel, three years ago. The conference has taken place annually since, sending the message that Israel loves and recognizes its Christian allies.
The Jerusalem Report, December 12, 2019
This was a piece about the Middle East bureau chief of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Chris Mitchell, who has been reporting from Jerusalem for a number of decades. Mitchell noted that he has seen a positive shift in relations between Evangelicals and Jews – a relationship that has its foundation in their common biblical history. Mitchell said that CBN recognizes that Jerusalem is the “epicenter of what is happening in the world”, and furthermore, that it is “part of CBN’s DNA to stand by the Jewish people and Israel in whatever Israel is going through”.
The Jerusalem Post, December 1, 2019; JPost Zone, December 2, 2019
The first article reported about Jerusalem’s Christian population in honor of the Christmas season. There are 16,000 Christians living in Jerusalem, 12,600 of them Arab Christians. Only 8% of Israel’s non-Arab Christian population lives in Jerusalem. The total Christian population of Jerusalem has increased by only 1% since 2018. 96% of Christian Arabs live in Eastern Jerusalem, while amongst non-Arab Christians, 51% live in Eastern Jerusalem, and 49% live in the Western part of the city. Neighborhoods with the highest number of non-Arab Christians include Talpiot and Pisgat Ze’ev.
The second article had a list of Christmas trivia, including the following facts: that “Jingle Bells” was originally intended as a Thanksgiving song, and that Christians hang up Christmas lights to symbolize Jesus being the light of the world.
Haaretz, December 6, 2019
This was an opinion piece exploring the Evangelical relationship to President Donald Trump. Former secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, who is also a devout Evangelical Christian, said that Donald Trump is God’s chosen one: “God has a plan for rulers and judges on earth. You didn’t get here without the blessing of God, so know that you are here, in this time, because God chose you.” Donald Trump himself had joked about being the chosen one a few months back. This is a narrative that has been adopted by Evangelicals, who have justified their support for Trump based on a particular interpretation of the bible. Trump has been divorced twice, has cheated on his wives, has had an affair with a porn star, and was caught boasting about sexual assault. Nevertheless, in the 2016 election, 80% of Evangelicals voted for him. In a recent poll, 99% of Republican Evangelicals opposed the ongoing impeachment proceedings – the greatest amount of support from any Republican group. During previous presidencies, Evangelicals claimed to care about morals. But with Donald Trump’s presidency, there has been a shift, wherein Trump’s moral failings are compared to the failings of King David or to Cyrus. God is said to choose imperfect people to accomplish his will. One pastor said of Trump: “Do I enjoy his tweets? No. But if Donald Trump saves a few million babies, that’s a good thing. My voice has to align with the will of God – and that is to care for the baby in the womb.” The “big issues” for Evangelicals include Supreme Court nominations, Israel, and abortion. A small contingency of Republican Evangelicals have opposed Trump, however. Ben Howe wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal, arguing that Evangelicals have chosen political power over Christian values, and that: “Evangelicals who stand at the forefront of the culture wars try to save corrupt America, but are being led by a corrupt hand.”