During the week covered by this review, we received 10 articles on the following subjects:
Christian Zionism / Christian Organizations
Christian Zionism / Christian Organizations
Israel Hayom, May 31, 2020; The Jerusalem Report, June 1, 2020
The first article was an opinion piece by John Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Hagee argued that the real owner of the land of Israel is God, and since Israel was created by a sovereign act of God, the land belongs exclusively and eternally to the Jewish people as a result. Hagee said that Palestinian claim to the land is “one of the big lies of history”. Hagee said he was inspired to send this message to the 8.2 million members of CUFI, and to remind them that “the Palestinians have never been the owners of Judea and Samaria”.
The second article was about the Christian organization, Ten Gentiles, founded by Shirley Burdick, who was born and raised in Shanghai. The organization brings Chinese Christians to Israel in order to equip them to “participate in God’s restoration of Israel alongside the Jewish people”. Ten Gentiles recently shipped 10,000 N-95 masks and 25,000 papers masks for Israel.
Epoch Times, May 31, 2020
This was an article about the history of the notion of love. In the section devoted to Christianity, the author argued that after the death of Jesus, a new definition of love emerged. Christianity turned love into a divine force to be infused into human beings in order to make them godly. Jesus, it was argued, actually spoke very little of love and did not see it as a mysterious power. He did, however, reinforce the law to love one’s neighbor, and commanded also the love of one’s enemy. After the Protestant Reformation especially, Jesus came to be seen, unfairly, as the one who liberated love from the confines of Torah.
Shishi BaGolan, May 28, 2020; Haaretz, June 3, 2020 Israel Hayom, June 3, 2020
The first article was about the higher than average water levels of the Kinneret, and the consequent flooding of the excavation site at Beit Habek. The site might be identified as the birthplace of three disciples, including Simon Peter.
The last two articles reported that with the assistance of genetic testing, researchers have managed to fit together pieces of parchment and papyrus from the Dead Sea Scrolls. There are 25,000 such pieces, which together are estimated to make up 900 or more ancient texts. Under the assumption that pieces made from the same sheep belong to the same scroll, for the last seven years, researchers have been putting the pieces together like a puzzle. The results will help to advance understanding of Jewish spirituality during Second Temple period, though it is not yet clear whether the Qumran scrolls reflect broader Jewish spirituality, or are just representative of one Jewish group, the Essenes. One of the findings thus far is that the scrolls show a Jewish openness to different versions of the Bible, implying that Jews were more concerned with the interpretation of the text than with its precise wording.
HaModia, June 4, 2020; Yedioth Yerushalayim, June 5, 2020
The first article reported that missionary posters were put up in playgrounds in Kiryat Malakhi and Kiryat Gat, despite the fact that it is illegal to proselytize to minors. One missionary was seen giving posters to his children, who then put them up. When the children saw that they were being filmed by Yad L’Achim, they called their father, who emerged from hiding. The father was fined 5,000 shekels.
The second article reported that missionaries distributed materials into mailboxes in Har Nof.
Haaretz, June 4, 2020
This was an opinion piece written by Joshua Shanes, associate professor at the College of Charleston. Shane wrote about the shooting of the 32-year-old autistic Palestinian, Eyad Hallaq, who was unarmed at the time. Hallaq did not understand what the soldiers wanted from him and began to run. He was shot and killed. One prominent Israeli lawyer blamed Hallaq’s parents for letting a special-needs person out on his own. Shanes said he was not normally in favor of comparing Israel’s policies to that of other problem areas around the world, but that he was beginning to see parallels between the conflict in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the problem of race relations in the United States, particularly under President Donald Trump. Shanes went on to list the ways in which the situations run parallel, for example, in victim blaming and total impunity of the group in power. He then wrote: “Israel has the highest support for Trump in the world, by far, and the Evangelical movement (with its right-wing ‘pro-Israel’, pro-Trump Jewish allies), represented by groups like Christians United for Israel and racist preachers and politicians like John Hagee and Mike Huckabee, explicitly view Israel as a white outpost against Muslim barbarism, the proxy frontier of the Western Christian world.”
The Jerusalem Post, June 2, 2020
The Hebrew “Shelanu” cable channel, which comes under the direction of God TV, has been accused of trying to proselytize. It is not illegal to proselytize, except to minors and without parental consent, and except in exchange for material goods. Shelanu has now issued a response saying that if the channel gets suspended it “could constitute blatant discrimination on the basis of religion”. Founder Ward Simpson, president of God TV, further said that the channel is aimed at Messianic Jews, who, he said, continue to live as Jews even while believing in Jesus.