During the week covered by this review, we received 11 articles on the following subjects:
Christians and the Holocaust
Christians and the Holocaust
These articles reported that the Vatican has now opened its Holocaust archives, and researchers have begun to comb through millions of letters, telegrams and documents from World War II. The archive research is expected to take years. One year ago, Pope Francis announced that the archives would be made available to researchers in order to finally ascertain Pope Pius XII’s relationship to the Nazis during the war. Pope Francis stated that the Church is “not afraid of history”. The decision was welcomed by Yad Vashem and other Jewish groups, who have sent researchers to the archives. Normally, the Vatican waits for a period of 70 years after the death of a pope before opening archives associated with that pope. Pope Francis decided to open these archives ten years early. Pope Pius XII has been accused of keeping silent even while he knew what the Nazis were doing. Some, however, argue that Pius in fact helped to save Jews.
HaMevasser, March 5, 2020
This was a piece about Daniel Attia, a Jew who in his younger years encountered missionaries, was converted, and considered himself a Christian. He worked alongside someone else who had been persuaded by missionaries for a time, but then returned to Judaism after having understood it was a lie, through the assistance of Yad L’Achim. Attia decided to meet with rabbis from Yad L’Achim, and spoke with them for six hours, returning home shocked. He said the rabbis were able to answer all his questions. After three days of pondering their conversation, he said he’d lost his Christian faith, subsequently joining a yeshiva.
The Jerusalem Report, February 28, 2020; Israel Hayom, March 6, 2020; Kol Ha’Ir, March 6, 2020
This first piece was an interview with Texas pastor, Larry Huch. He and his wife, pastor Tiz, and their grandson, Lion, all claim to have been miraculously healed from an incurable disease. Larry believes they were healed on account of their support for Israel and the promises in Genesis 12 that God would bless those who bless Israel. Larry and Tiz have dedicated their lives to supporting Israel and building bridges with Jews. Larry recently received a lifetime achievement award from the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus. In the interview, he said his mission was twofold: first, to bring the church back to the bible, that is, back to its Jewish context and roots; and second, to bring the church back to being in love with Israel and the Jewish people. He said his goal is not to convert Jews, but to convert the church. He also added, “I think we all agree that President Trump being elected is a miracle from God, not only for America, not only for Israel, but for the world.” Larry and Tiz’s ministry has led volunteer missions to Israel, donated six ambulances, and built 18 bomb shelters. It also supports hundreds of Holocaust survivors and has built a soup kitchen in Jerusalem.
The other two articles were about the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. The first was an interview with current CEO Yael Eckstein, daughter of former CEO, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who passed away last year. Yael said she did not initially intend to work for the organization, but ended up falling in love with the Evangelical donors over their love for Israel and knowledge of the bible. She said Evangelicals study the Old Testament in order to better understand the New Testament, and this is the source of their love for Israel. She said their donors do not have the goal of converting Jews, and that the Fellowship is opposed to any conversion attempts. Yael talked about the challenges of having lost her father and stepping into her new leadership role. She said her goal was to reach a new generation of Evangelicals.
The second article about the Fellowship, covered the recent decision to halt the construction of a new building on Hebron Road, in Jerusalem. The intention had been to build new headquarters that would function as a visitors’ center for Evangelicals. However, after Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein passed away, the organization has run into financial difficulty. They have therefore decided to sell the asset and focus on their humanitarian work. Yechiel’s death sent shockwaves through the organization, but they hope to survive the crisis and begin to grow again by next year.