During the week covered by this review, we received 4 articles on the following subjects:
Iton Shacharit, January 10, 2021; HaMevasser, January 11, 2021
Both articles reported that the Israeli digital bookstore Ivrit, owned by Yedioth Ahronoth, is selling a missionary book “disguised as a history book”. The missionary who wrote the book has reportedly asked for donations from Christians abroad, saying that “lockdown is a good time to preach to Israelis”, as people are stuck at home and bored. Yad L’Achim has asked the bookstore to remove the book from its website, but the CEO of Ivrit has said that removing the book is not justified, and that doing so would endanger the freedom of expression and religion. The article countered by stating that, on the contrary, the freedom of expression and religion is harmed by Christians who disguise themselves as Jews in order to trick innocent Jews.
Yedioth Ahronoth, January 11, 2021
For the first time since 1967, a Catholic Mass was conducted at Qasr al-Yahud, the site traditionally associated with the baptism of Jesus. The area was only recently cleared of mines and made available again to pilgrims. Because of the pandemic, few were in attendance for this first Mass, but Christians worldwide are said to be excited about the opening of the site. President Reuven Rivlin stated: “I hope that this year Christian communities in Israel will continue to grow and thrive.”
Haaretz, January 13, 2021
Israeli archaeologist, Rafael Y. Lewis, of the Ashkelon Academic College, published a paper about an ancient embarkment found near the city of Ashkelon. The embarkment was built sometime between the 11th and 13th centuries, during the period of the Crusades, and was used at the time to lay siege to Ashkelon. However, in a twist of irony, Lewis believes that in the millennium since it was built, the artificial barrier has served a very positive purpose – protecting Ashkelon from desertification by blocking the movement of sand. It has also protected the surrounding fields.