During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the following subjects:
The Pope and the Vatican
Maariv, September 12, 2021
This article was about Patriarch Rai, the head of Lebanon’s Maronite church who has been very outspoken lately, making it clear that he believes his country is on the brink of collapse and that the key to rescuing it involves disarming Hezbollah. Rai also called to make Lebanon a constitutionally “neutral” country, like Switzerland. Rai visited Israel a few years ago at the invitation of the Pope, and although many accused him of working for the Israeli government, he ignored those accusations and continued to spread his message. In a recent sermon, he called on the local army to stop Hezbollah from attacking Israel. According to the article, Patriarch Rai’s actions are sowing the seeds for a new front against Hezbollah in Lebanon
The Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2021
This article was about Joel Rosenberg – Evangelical Christian author, Jerusalem resident and New York Times bestselling author – who convened faith leaders to meet with top Middle Eastern governmental officials for critical conversations about faith and peace in the Middle East. Rosenberg included quotes from the meeting in his new book, “Enemies and Allies: An Unforgettable Journey Inside the Fast-Moving & Immensely Turbulent Modern Middle East”.
“Christians were given a front row seat for history in the making, which I believe is part of a tectonic change in Arab-Muslim thinking, in which they have concluded that their enemy is not Jews or Christians, but radical Islamists,” he stated. “Israel realizes that… the backbone of political support in the US for Israel comes from the 60 million Evangelical Christians who at times have much more passion and unconditional love for Israel than some segments of the American Jewish community.”
Rosenberg said that the Arab world has woken up to this strategy, too, and is now realizing that it needs such ties. Arab-Muslim leaders have decided that Christian communities in the US and around the world believe in peace. “The Arab world does not have anything to fear from the Christian world.” He believes that through his actions, more Arab leaders will move toward Israel as they “fundamentally re-assess who are our allies and who are our enemies”.
The Pope and the Vatican
Haaretz, September, 13, 2021
Pope Francis arrived in Hungary for an unusually short stay, during which time he underlined the differences with nationalist and anti-immigrant Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The Pope spent only seven hours in Budapest to close an international Roman Catholic meeting, before moving on to Slovakia. The Pope has often denounced what he sees as a resurgence of nationalist and populist movements. During this trip, he called for European unity and criticized countries, such as Hungary, that try to solve the migration crisis with unilateral or isolationist actions. During his visit, he also warned about the threat of anti-Semitism in Europe. “This is a fuse that must not be allowed to burn. And the best way to defuse it is to work together, positively, and to promote fraternity,” he stated.
The Jerusalem Post, September 13, 2021
The Vatican has rejected criticism from senior Israeli rabbis over remarks by Pope Francis about Jewish books of sacred law, saying he was not questioning their continuing validity for Jews today. The Vatican’s official response by Cardinal Kurt Koch, whose Vatican department covers religious relations with Jews, stated that the Pope’s comments in a homily on the writings of St. Paul should not be extrapolated from their context of ancient times and had no bearings on today’s Jews. “In his catechesis, the Holy Father does not make any mention of modern Judaism; the address is a reflection on St. Paul’s theology within the historical context of a given era,” Koch wrote. “The fact that the Torah is crucial for modern Judaism is not questioned in any way.”
Hamodia, September 14, 2021; Kol Ha’ir Bnei Brak, September 13, 2021
As reported last week, Or L’Achim claimed that a few hours before the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, missionaries distributed booklets and flyers to apartments in Uman. The organization collected all the material.
Jewish / Christian Relations
Yediot Carmiel, September 15, 2021
As mentioned in the Media Review from two weeks ago, this was another article which reported on the two ancient olive trees that were carefully moved to another location in order to make way for improving highway 85. These two olive trees are of significant importance to the Catholic community in Rameh in the Galilee. The Israeli authorities, together with the local community and the Vatican, ensured the success of the delicate operation.