During the week covered by this review, we received 5 articles on the following subjects:
The Jerusalem Post, April 8, 2020
This was a piece about the relationship between pandemics and anti-Semitism. The article detailed the anti-Semitic attitudes that accompanied the Black Plague of the early fourteenth century. European Christians did not know the source of the sickness, and believed they were being poisoned by undercover agents. Jews became a target, as they were believed to be behind the poisonings. Forty Jews were slaughtered by their Christian neighbors in France, and from there, attacks, called “Black Death Pogroms”, spread across Europe. The author warns that conspiracy theories abound today, and that already there are many who believe the novel coronavirus was engineered and spread intentionally. The author went on to argue that it is a matter of time before Jews will be blamed and the coronavirus will be the cause of a resurgence of anti-Semitism. Israel and Jewish communities must be prepared to handle this resurgence.
HaMevasser, April 21, 2020; HaMevasser, April 21, 2020
The first of these articles detailed how Haredi residents have reported an increase in missionary activity. Or L’Achim said that missionaries have been taking advantage of the fact that people are on lockdown at home and have been disseminating missionary materials.
The second was Yad L’Achim’s report that a “Messianic Jewish missionary church” in Ashdod has continued to run a prayer house and has broadcast religious services with the participation of people from the church. In one instance, as many as 13 people were seen gathering. Yad L’Achim has reported the activity to the authorities, but said that the authorities have yet to respond.
Kehala Kadisha, April 16, 2020
Yad L’Achim said it is taking advantage of the lockdown to reach out to Jews who have converted to Christianity. Yad L’Achim has contacted hundreds of such converts asking them to take stock of their lives, and invited any who had questions about faith or theology to have a conversation over the phone with full discretion guaranteed. Yad L’Achim said that a few have already responded, and that they expect this number to grow.
The Jerusalem Post, April 23, 2020
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has recruited 800 new volunteers to assist in helping the elderly community feel attended to during the current lockdown. The Fellowship said that social distancing is difficult for the elderly who often live alone and are dependent upon the help of others. Volunteers including college students, laid-off workers, and retirees, are given a list of people to call and a list of topics to discuss. Multilingual volunteers are matched with older people who speak other languages, including Russia, Amharic, Spanish, French, Georgian, and Arabic.