October 24 – 2022

During the week covered by this review, we received 10 articles on the following subjects:

Christian Tourism
Israeli/Jewish Attitudes concerning Christians/Christianity
Political Issues

Christian Tourism

Various articles

The annual Feast of Tabernacles event of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), the largest Christian-Zionist organization in the world according to Ma’ariv newspaper, is an indicator of the state of Christian tourism in Israel. After two years of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and travel restrictions during which the event could not take place and Christian tourism dropped to almost zero, it is finally starting to recover. About 2,000 Zionist Christians from seventy countries arrived in Israel during the holiday for the week-long event. Prior to the pandemic, this event attracted about 5,000 Zionist Christians to Israel yearly, and at its peak, reached 6,000 participants. “After a two-year hiatus, we are thrilled that Christian-Zionist tourism has returned to Israel,” said David Parsons, ICEJ Vice President, expressing hope that the number of participants will increase again next year. Several articles also expressed hope that the Feast of Tabernacles pilgrimage would provide a great boost to Israel’s economy, given that before the pandemic, Christian tourists accounted for about 55% of all tourists entering Israel.

Haaretz, October 13, 2022

This article recommended a trip to the Biblical Garden in Moshav Yad Hashmona, in the Judean Mountains near Jerusalem: “The wonderfully pleasant place is a reconstruction of an ancient village, which according to its founders, invites visitors to enjoy biblical experiences, learn and experience the lifestyles and culture of our ancestors, with the help of authentic archaeological findings and reconstructions, from the times of the Bible, the Second Temple, the Mishnah and the Talmud.” During a visit to the garden, one can learn how our ancestors prepared wine, bread and olive oil thousands of years ago, sewed clothes and where they got their water from. In the center of the village stands a reconstruction of a 1,500-year-old Galilean synagogue, made of black basalt stones. The garden also includes an ancient wine press, an olive oil press, a Mikveh, a burial cave, and an agricultural watchtower. Moshav Yad Hashmona was established in 1971 by Christians from Finland, who wanted to commemorate the eight Jewish refugees who fled to Finland during the Holocaust, but were handed over to the Nazis.

ITN, September 30, 2022

A new and unique tourism package, offered by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism in partnership with the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, allows American Christian tourists an opportunity to experience the Holy Land in a “down to earth way.”  “Unearth the Land of the Bible” is a 10-day tour of archaeological digs at heritage sites around Israel. According to the announcement, “through archaeologist-led excavations, tours and expert lectures, Bible enthusiasts will have the opportunity to take an active part in the story of the Jewish people and the conservation of their material culture in the Land of Israel.”

Israeli/Jewish Attitudes concerning Christians/Christianity

Achshav, September 30, 2022

When the Pope visited the Holy Land in 1963 – an unofficial visit, because at that time the Vatican refused to recognize the existence of the State of Israel, according to this article – he encountered something unexpected, namely, that places that were supposed to be “cursed” according to biblical prophecies were instead covered in orchards and Jewish settlements. This article argued that it served as a proof to the Pope that God’s covenant with the Jewish people is eternal, and indeed, about fifty years later, in 2015, the Vatican published a document signed by the Pope, admitting that the Catholic Church had been wrong to suggest that God had broken this eternal covenant. In recent years, stated the article, we are witnessing the growing support of Christians who view the existence of the State of Israel as the fulfillment of biblical prophecies.

Haaretz, October 14, 2022

According to this article, in the early 2000s, a revolution took place in the study of Islam and the Koran, when some researchers began to apply methods used in biblical criticism to the text of the Koran, which led to a reconsideration of the conventionally regarded origin of Islam and the process of its formation.  The Koran does not provide us with any information regarding the life of Muhammad, argued the article. He is not credited with preforming any miracles, and does not give speeches nor spreads words of wisdom. Rather, Jesus and Mary are the main heroes in the Koran, along with Abraham and Moses, and the attitude toward them is extremely positive. All of the above, caused researchers to question the landscape of the birth of Islam, and the very existence of the city of Mecca in the early days of Islam has been questioned. Some researchers have even concluded that an initial version of the Koran was compiled as a prayer book by a Christian sect of Armenian-Syrian origin that opposed Christian orthodoxy during the Councils of Nicaea (AD 325) and Constantinople (AD 381).

Political Issues

Maariv, October 18, 2022

The American-Jewish community is extremely upset with Donald Trump, even accusing him of anti-Semitism, after the former US president criticized them on social media for not appreciating his work for Israel. “No president has done more for Israel than I have… The Jews in the US need to come to their senses and appreciate what they have in Israel, before it is too late,” Trump wrote in his post. “Somewhat surprisingly, however, our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the U.S,” he added.