During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the following subjects:
Yedioth Haifa, December 11, 2020; Yedioth Tel Aviv, December 18, 2020
The first article reported that Christians in Haifa have objected to the municipality’s decision to scale back Christmas decorations in the city. Normally, the municipality of Haifa puts up a Christmas tree and Christmas lights in the German Colony. Because of the pandemic, however, the municipality decided that only churches could decorate in order to avoid gatherings. Christians in the city expressed frustration, noting that other cities still allowed Christmas decorations to be put up. One resident said that Christians have faced a tough year and should be allowed to enjoy the Christmas season.
The second article described the meeting between a masked Santa Claus and masked Christian children in Tel Aviv.
Haaretz, December 14, 2020
The Machaerus Fortress in Jordan has been the site of an excavation since 1980, and recently a Hungarian Franciscan team uncovered there the throne room and foundations of the throne of King Herod Antipas. According to Josephus, this was the place where Princess Salome danced for King Herod Antipas, and according to the New Testament, in exchange for the dance Princess Salome asked for John the Baptist’s head. Church historian Eusebius also recounts this story, and excavators say the account harmonizes with the archeological dig. John the Baptist would have been brought to Machaerus to be beheaded, but his grave has since been lost. The Fortress was destroyed by the Romans in 71 C.E.
Maariv, December 16, 2020
This was an opinion piece, with the author asking President Trump for forgiveness on behalf of the American Jews who hadn’t voted for him. He noted that Israelis, by contrast, largely supported the reelection of Trump, and that American Evangelicals were more aligned with Israeli interests. The author said that Israel has better friends in Evangelicals than in American Jews.
Hidabrut, December 11, 2020
This piece described Yad L’Achim’s work, recounting the story of a man who was a part of a Messianic Jewish congregation in Tel Aviv for fifteen years, but who was then rehabilitated by Yad L’Achim. The man recently got married in a Haredi wedding. The article noted that missionaries often host events to draw in vulnerable communities, often through funding from churches abroad. Messianic Jews call churches “congregations” in order to draw in outsiders, and tend to appeal to non-practicing, but searching, Jews. The article noted that it is a question of who meets such a person first – the missionary or the Jewish organizations trying to help secular Jews return to the fold?
HaShavua BeBeit Shemesh, December 10, 2020
This piece reported again that empty mezuzot had been installed on doors, having the Messianic Jewish symbol of the menorah, Star of David and fish on them. This has been taken as evidence that Messianic Jewish missionaries are attempting to “distance Jews from the God of Israel.”
Yad Vashem Yerushalayim, December 16, 2020
The Feast of Tabernacles, hosted by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, was broadcasted virtually this year to 7,500 participants from 100 different countries. This piece reported that Yad Vashem also participated in the event, bringing in Holocaust survivors and hosting an online Holocaust memorial.