During the week covered by this review, we received 11 articles on the following subjects:
Israeli/Jewish Attitudes Concerning Christians/Christianity
Conversion to Judaism
Christians in Israel
Teva Hadvarim, April 7, 2022
This was an interview with Danjal Poulsen [who passed away shortly after this], an Evangelical Christian and the chairman of the Faroes-Israel Friendship Association in the Faroe Islands, “The distant archipelago where there are more sheep (70,000) than people (50,000), where they are strict about ancient traditions, including a traditional chain dance, wonderful singing on any occasion, and even whale hunting, which arouses much rage against the inhabitants of the pastoral islands.”
The islands have an official State Church, and an independent Evangelical church called Ebenezer, of which Poulsen was a member. The church supports Israel and organizes fundraising events on behalf of Israel. When asked how he became a supporter of Israel, Poulsen replied, “My grandfather knew the bible well, and understood the words of the prophets. He was also very interested in Israel, especially regarding 1948… He listened to Ben-Gurion’s declaration of independence and was very moved. This is the first thought I have of my family… I visited Israel… more than ten times… I felt that it was a unique place, and the Jews that I met were open to accept us as Christians. They were very smart and pleasant. I was very happy, and I created friendships for life.”
Yated Ne’eman. May 5, 2022
Hundreds of Jewish soldiers, who fought in the US army in WWII and died while fighting the Nazis, were buried as Christians, according to “Operation Benjamin” — a non-profit dedicated to ensuring that Jewish soldiers who are buried overseas have grave markers that reflect their faith. The reason for this is that many Jewish soldiers hid their Jewish identity out of fear of what the Nazi soldiers would do to them if they were captured. The organization is replacing the crosses on the graves with the Star of David, in coordination with the US Army and the families.
Matzav Haruach, May 4, 2022
A group of 28 Christians from all over the world, who are participating in a week-long seminar at the Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies (ISHS), attended a Friday night service at a synagogue in Elkana. During the service, the Rabbi preached in English, honoring the guests, and quoted a Halachic ruling that allows Gentiles to pray in a synagogue, based on the verse, “For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations”. After the service, the group was invited to a festive meal, where they received explanations about the Sabbath meal and other related issues.
Teva Hadvarim, April 7, 2022
This article described an excursion to “the Land of the Monasteries”, a group of monasteries that were constructed during the British Mandate, on the border between Israel and Jordan, near the Dead Sea, and “preserve the Christian tradition according to which Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist”. The monasteries have been deserted for over fifty years, and the area is now a closed military zone.
Yedioth Ahronoth, May 2, 2022
This was an interview with four soldiers – a Bedouin officer whose family member was the ISIS-affiliated terrorist who carried out the attack in Beer Sheva; a Christian-Arab officer who lives next door to the family of Amir Houry, the policeman who died in a terror attack, defending the residents of Bnei Brak; an Orthodox-Jewish officer who lost his cousin, a policeman, in a terror attack; and a Muslim officer – who all serve together in a Bedouin patrol unit. They talked about “the conflicts of combat service in a time when the mixed cities are burning”. “We are all a part of one nation despite all the complexities here… Stop generalizing!… Stop dividing!” they said.
Israeli/Jewish attitudes concerning Christians/Christianity
Sihat Ha’ir, April 29, 2022
This article was a tribute to the Jewish community in Thessaloniki. Before WWII, 56,000 Jews lived in Thessaloniki. By the end of the war, almost nothing was left of this large, glorious and well-established community. 96% of the Jewish community, almost 50,000 people, perished in the Holocaust. The synagogue in the city Veria was mentioned in the article. The synagogue is closed, and is being cared for by a local Christian woman, who noted: “Paul the Apostle preached in the synagogue, in order to convert the religion of the Jews, but was thrown out in shame.”
Haaretz, May 4, 2022
This article was an opinion piece on the Israeli education system, and specifically, on the way in which history is taught with the explicit purpose of “forming an identity based on Jewish and Zionist values”. One example mentioned is the official textbook that deals with the 2nd Temple period. “The book ignores the most prominent Jew of that time – Jesus. The man and his disciples started here, in the Galilee and Jerusalem, the most important and successful spiritual movement in Human history… Ancient Christianity is not mentioned”. According to the article, the Ministry of Education is not about education but about public relations.
Conversion to Judaism
Shavua Israeli, April 27, 2022
This article was about Nissim Black, an American-Israeli rapper and record producer. He was born in Seattle, raised as a Muslim, and converted to Christianity at the age of 14. He became famous under the stage name D. Black. At some point in his life, he began to doubt his Christian faith, and converted to Messianic Judaism. He later severed all the ties created during his musical career, and concentrated on his conversion into Judaism. Black now performs as a Hassidic rapper, and a new series about his life is currently being produced by HBO.
Hidabrut, April 29, 2022
This article told the story of Shannon Nuszen, a woman who grew up as a Christian, and had been a missionary for a few years, until she converted to Judaism. According to the article, her conversations with Jews, and especially Orthodox Jews, while trying to persuade them to convert, lead her to reject the Christian faith. Shannon is the founder and director of Beyneynu, an organization that monitors missionary activity in Israel and abroad.
Zman Mevaseret, May 3, 2022
Rabbi Shlomo Ben-Ezra, the Chief Rabbi of Mevaseret Zion, a suburb of Jerusalem, published a letter warning the residents about missionary activity in the neighborhood.
Christians in Israel
Israel Hayom, May 6, 2022
This article was about Stephane Legar, who was born in Bat-Yam to Christian parents from Togo. Legar is considered an influencer in Paris, and was elected as one of the ten most successful TikTok stars in France in 2021. Legar, a Christian, observes both Jewish and Christian holidays. “I feel like an ambassador for Israel, and it’s authentic,” he said “… I explain about Israel and about our military, and I open people’s mind. I bring friends all the time to visit Israel, including Muslims, and recently, the Foreign Ministry of Israel elected me as an ambassador on Social Media”.