During the week covered by this review, we received 13 articles on the following subjects:
Christians and the Holocaust
Christians and the Holocaust
Yeted Ne’eman, May 10, 2020
This was a piece about the Vatican World War II archives that were recently made available to researchers from Germany. Newly uncovered documents revealed that Pope Pius XII had information about the mass murder of Jews but was suspicious of reports and wanted further proof. The reputation of Pius XII has been the subject of controversy, as he has also been praised for saving thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.
God TV is under investigation by the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council for violating the terms of its license. God TV recently signed a seven-year deal with cable company HOT to broadcast a Christian channel called “Shelanu”. CEO Ward Simpson said that the channel’s goal was to “take the gospel of Jesus into the homes and lives and hearts of the Jewish people”, a statement which led to accusations that the channel’s goal is to proselytize. It is against the law to broadcast missionary content. Simpson, however, has defended the channel by saying that he had no intention of converting Jews to Christianity, but to “persuade Jews in Israel to embrace Jesus as the messiah without renouncing their Judaism”. He further said that “we just teach and preach and share Christian content, and let the Lord do the rest. Our Messianic Jewish brothers and sisters don’t convert. They continue to live the lives of Jews. They just believe Yeshua is the messiah, and they follow him.”
One former missionary is quoted as saying that Christian supporters of Israel often deny that they want to convert Jews, but “if you see these same Christians speaking in churches around America you’d hear something completely different. Among themselves, they are free to take their masks off. When they’re seeking support from fellow Christians, they will share with the world what they are doing in the Holy Land, describe their tactics, and give many success stories about bringing Jews to believe in Jesus.” Another commentator defended evangelicals, saying they have a deep respect for Jewish identity. The new channel, however, “undermines the sensitive balance within a growing positive relationship between communities of faith”. Finally, one commentator said that after watching the channel, he did not think there was any threat of mass conversion, as the quality is clumsy and the content elementary and boring. This commentator said it was not worth damaging freedom of speech by curtailing a channel that in any case has no chance of mass appeal.
HaMevasser, May 13, 2020
Yad L’Achim has received hundreds of calls to its emergency hotline with reports of missionary activity across the country. Missionaries are said to have taken advantage of the pandemic, and of the fact that people have more time to think about life and its purpose. Missionary materials have been distributed to mailboxes, and nursing homes have in particular been targeted. Yad L’Achim expects the activity to continue.
Mebit, May 8, 2020; The Jerusalem Post, May 14, 2020
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has approved grants totaling 2 million USD for hospitals around Israel. The money is particularly intended to help purchase respirators and other equipment needed to fight the pandemic. The Fellowship raises tens of millions of dollars each year from hundreds of thousands of Israel-loving Christian and Jewish donors.
The Fellowship, together with the Jewish Agency, has also recently worked to bring new Jewish immigrants to Israel – 53 from the Ukraine, and 44 from Uzbekistan and Georgia.
Haaretz, May 12, 2020; The Jerusalem Post, May 14, 2020
Both articles were about President Donald Trump’s dependence upon the support of Evangelical Christians in the upcoming American elections. In order to secure the Evangelical vote, both articles argued, Trump will support Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank. To offset the damage done to his administration by a mismanaged pandemic and a struggling economy, Trump will look to Netanyahu, who is loved by Evangelical Christians, to help him get reelected.
The Jerusalem Post, May 14, 2020
The current pandemic has negatively impacted archeology in Israel in three ways. First, archeological sites in Judea and Samaria have been ransacked due to limited surveillance during the lockdown. Second, one of the biggest biblical archeology programs at a Protestant institution (Southwestern Baptism Theological Seminary) has been disbanded, after five professors were laid off due to the economic situation. Finally, nearly every volunteer-based excavation scheduled for the summer of 2020 has been canceled.