During the week covered by this review, we received 10 articles on the following subjects:
Christians and the Holocaust
Christians and the Holocaust
Four articles reported that Yad L’Achim had sent a letter to Pope Francis and to the king of the Netherlands, requesting to assist in exposing the identities of Jewish children who were taken into adoption by Christian families during the Holocaust. The Netherlands, it is reported, kept a record of such adoptions, but refused to share it after the war, for fear of Jews trying to come and take back children. After the war, Pope Pius XII also did not permit the return of Jewish children who were hidden in monasteries or adopted into Christian families. Yad L’Achim is now requesting that the identities of these children be made public.
One article included the remarks made by the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center to Pope Francis on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Pope Francis, as the “leader of the Christian world”, was asked to help combat anti-Semitism, which is on the rise. The Pope was also thanked for the plan to release the Vatican Archives to do with the Catholic Church’s dealings during the Holocaust. The article quoted Simon Wiesenthal, saying: “Freedom is not a gift from heaven, it is something we have to fight for each and every day.”
One article reported that Pope Francis asked 1.3 billion Catholics to reflect and pray and say “never again” regarding the Holocaust. According to the Pope, “Indifference is inadmissible before this enormous tragedy, this atrocity, and memory is a duty.”
A final article expressed anger over a local Catholic parish that meets in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The author was concerned that the presence of the church there would skew the historical data – making it appear as though Christians did more than they really did to prevent Jewish persecution. The location of the church is also an affront to Jewish memory, and a violation of UNESCO’s heritage site protection standards. The author wrote that “a church does not belong at the largest Jewish cemetery in the world”.
Shofar, January 17, 2020
This was an article about Yad L’Achim’s 450-page report which claimed that over 4 billion shekels have been invested in missionary activities in Israel over the last five years. Yad L’Achim said of itself that by contrast, it has a humble budget, and yet still has managed to save thousands of souls from the missionaries each year.
Maariv, January 29, 2020
Religious leaders from across the country met in Haifa to sign an interfaith statement to fight sexual violence in their communities. Leaders agreed to take more responsibility to protect and support victims and survivors of sexual violence, to avoid victim blaming, to educate their communities, and to report rather than conceal misdeeds.
Haaretz, January 30, 2020
President Putin of Russia agreed to pardon Naama Issachar and allow her to return to Israel. However, officials clarified that Naama was not “traded” in exchange for expediting the transfer of the Alexander Courtyard from one Russian church to another, but that this was a “friendly gesture” made for Putin by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Likewise, the pardoning of Naama was also only a “gesture” and not a trade.