During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the following subjects:
Christians and the Holocaust
Conversion to Judaism
Haaretz, May 16, 2022
The death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akala, on which we reported last week, continues to resonate around the world. The circumstances of her tragic death, as well as the well-publicized funeral drew a lot of attention. Viewers around the world saw how “the Israeli police desecrated the funeral and the coffin, and… showed disrespect to her family who wanted to mourn her and say goodbye to her properly”. The US condemned the police violence at the funeral and President Biden said that the issue needed to be investigated. However, according to this opinion piece, this was irrelevant to Israeli journalists, who “treated Abu Akala in the exact same manner that the police treated her coffin”, and particularly to Channel 13’s military commentator, who seemed to concentrate on the fact that she was a Christian, and as such, did not represent the Palestinian narrative. According to this article, Christians have always been a part of the Palestinian narrative. Several names of cultural and political figures, who were “in the frontline of the Palestinian struggle, each in his or her own way”, were mentioned as examples of this.
Hamevaser, May 16, 2022
New Israeli archeological research, led by Professor Guy Bar-Oz at the University of Haifa, sheds light on the ancient Incense Trade Route that connected Arabia to the Mediterranean, by analyzing refuse that had accumulated at rest stations along the route. The findings showed that the transports included local goods as well, such as fish, attesting to the sophisticated trade network that facilitated the transport of perishable products to distant provinces. According to Professor Bar-Oz, “The findings reflect the beginning of globalization processes in the ancient world, and especially the unique importance of the Middle East and desert region.”
Christians and the Holocaust
The Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2022
Pope Francis declared ten people saints of the Roman Catholic Church, in a ceremony that was attended by more than 50,000 people, in St Peter’s Square. One of the saints is Titus Brandsma, a Dutch priest who was a member of the Carmelite religious order, and served as president of the Catholic university at Nijmegen. He began speaking out against Nazi ideology even before the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940. During the Nazi occupation, he spoke out against anti-Jewish laws and urged Dutch Catholic newspapers not to print Nazi propaganda. He was arrested in 1942, at the age of 61, and held in Dutch jails before being taken to Dachau, where he was subjected to biological experimentation and killed by lethal injection. He is considered a martyr, having died because of “hatred of the faith”.
Conversion to Judaism
Yahadut BeAhava, May 16, 2022
This article was an interview with two proselytes, a married couple who spoke of their path that began as “gentiles in atheist Latvia, through Christianity, to the bosom of Judaism”. Both of them grew up in extreme poverty, finding solace in the Church, where they both found the Hebraic roots of Christianity, each in their own way. The couple converted to Judaism, and immigrated to Israel, where despite initial difficulties, mostly financial, they have managed to make a home.
Segula, May 13, 2022
This article dealt with the Jaffa Gate, in Jerusalem’s Old City, and particularly, the wide gap in the city wall, which today allows cars to access the Old City. According to popular belief, the gap was created in 1898 by the Ottoman authorities, in order to allow German emperor Wilhelm II to enter the city triumphantly. However, according to this article, the claim is not entirely accurate. It dealt extensively with the details of the story, pointing to some discrepancies. It also discussed the fact that Wilhelm II, wanting to maintain a good relationship with the Ottoman authorities, humorously mentioned an ancient Jerusalem tradition, according to which the leader of a Christian country who would enter the city through the Jaffa Gate, would be the one to eventually conquer it from the Muslims. The article concluded by mentioning “the interesting fact that less than twenty years later… English General, Edmund Allenby, ignored the new road and insisted on walking through the historical Jaffa Gate… to the front of the Tower of David, and announced that the land was conquered from the Turks. So, who says that Jerusalem traditions aren’t true?”
Ashdod Bakotarot, May 13, 2022
According to this article, the last few weeks saw an alarming increase of missionary activity in Ashdod. Rabbi Yechiel Weingarten, Deputy Mayor of Ashdod, said that he received requests from Ukrainian Rabbis, who asked him to help ”the innocent immigrants escape the clutches of the Mission”. The Yad L’Achim anti-missionary organization is working in cooperation with Rabbi Weingarten to expose the missionaries, and to involve the immigrants in the Jewish community life.
The Jerusalem Post, May 17, 2022
American Rabbi Michael Harvey, who built a reputation for himself as a Jewish spiritual leader who talks freely and openly to Christians, deactivated his Twitter account following criticism over anti-Christian posts. Harvey, who delivers talks on Judaism across the Midwest and co-hosts a podcast and event series with a local Episcopal priest entitled “A Priest and a Rabbi Walk Into a Bar”, posted a series of very controversial posts on his Twitter account. One of them announced: “Time to go to war for our mothers, sisters and daughters. We will not stand idly by and allow a group of white Christians to turn America into the Dark Ages again. Not this time.” Harvey apologized for his “rage filled tweets”, saying they were “inappropriate”, while also telling his followers that he had been hacked. Apart from deactivating his account, Harvey also quit his job as chaplain at Indiana University Health.