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The Media Review is an English-language synopsis of articles that were originally published in the Israeli press. The articles, most of which were written in Hebrew, focus on Messianic Jews and Christianity. This synoptic translation is a Caspari Center exclusive. The Media Review reports what was said in the press irrespective of its accuracy, and the information does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Caspari Center. On occasion the editor includes explanatory matter in brackets, preceeded by the words [Editorís note:].

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December 14, 2011 Media Review
During the week covered by this review, we received 11 articles on the following subjects:

  • Attitudes towards Christianity
  • Anti-missionary activities
  • Christian tourism
  • Christians in Israel
  • Jewish-Christian relations
  • Archaeology

    This week's review was a sparse miscellanea.


  • Attitudes towards Christianity
    Galileo Tza'ir, December 1, 2011

    As part of a long feature article in honor of Hanukkah examining different "festivals of light," Galileo Tza'ir included the "Saturday of light" ceremony conducted in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher at Easter.

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    Anti-missionary Activities
    Yediot HaMifratz, December 9, 2011

    Noting the distribution of copies of the New Testament in Kiryat Motzkin, the author of this report quoted the town's chief rabbi as stating: "'The truth is that, according to Jewish law they [the books of the New Testament] must be burned. But I asked that they be thrown in the trash immediately for fear that people might keep them in their homes until they could burn them.'"

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    Christian Tourism
    Merkaz Ha'Inyanim, December 5; Uvda, December 2; Index HaGalil - Tverya, December 2; Kokhav HaTzafon, December 2; Index HaEmek ve-ha-Galil, December 2, 2011

    Uvda, Kokhav HaTzafon, Index HaGalil - Tiberias, and Index HaEmek ve-ha-Galil all carried the recent story of the opening of the "Gospel trail" - while Merkaz Ha'Inyanim (December 5) somewhat gleefully reported the fact, also noted last week, that "Merely a month before the festival of the missionaries [i.e., Christmas] who baptize Jews at the Yardenit where 'that man' was baptized, in order to convert them, their 'joy' was tainted. It transpires that for all these years they have not been baptizing in the waters of the Jordan but ... in sewage water from the Israel Police: the most recent version of 'Baal-pe'or' [idolatry]."

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    Christians in Israel
    Yediot Ahronot, December 12; Jerusalem Post, December 12, 2011

    As part of Jewish attempts to better their relations with their Christian neighbors, "Jerusalem City Council members from the Meretz party met on Thursday with the Armenian patriarch, to apologize for the increase in ultra-Orthodox spitting at priests as they walk in the Old City. ... 'We went to ask forgiveness in the name of the Jewish nation and the citizens of Jerusalem,' [Meir] Margalit said on Friday. ... Margalit said that both meetings with the church leaders had been positive, and that [Archbishop Torkom] Manoogian had said that he believed that the problem stemmed from a lack of education in the haredi community. Margalit said he would appeal to the haredi city councilors to ask rabbis to denounce the practice" (Jerusalem Post).

    Yediot Ahronot carried a lengthy feature about "life behind the robe" - the lives of nuns living in Israel: where to go and what to see. "What attracts so many Israelis to visit churches, monasteries, and attend Christian masses? What's so fascinating about the image of monks and nuns dressed in robes and habits? Perhaps the feeling of mystery, perhaps the pull of the unfamiliar, perhaps the peace and tranquility they radiate. One thing's for sure: you don't have to go abroad to enjoy the experience. In Israel there are abundant monasteries inhabited by nuns and monks with different customs, types of clothes, and specific vocations. ... According to estimates, there are over 30 male and around 70 female orders operating in Israel in around 300 monasteries and chapels, and around 1,200 Catholic monks and nuns (not including the Orthodox)." Most produce olive oil and/or honey and give a warm welcome to visitors. Numerous guided tours are available to many places.

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    Jewish-Christian Relations
    Jerusalem Post, December 8, 2011

    According to this report, "Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger signed a historic declaration on Tuesday in Nicosia, Cyprus, with Archbishop Chrysostomos, primate of the Church of Cyprus, in which the two men promised to deepen relations between the Church and the Jewish people. The declaration affirms the illegitimacy of the doctrine of collective Jewish guilt for the deicide of Jesus. This is the first time an Orthodox church has explicitly repudiated this doctrine, which was one of the most important factors in the development of religious anti-Semitism in Europe. 'We, the chief rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, and the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos, give thanks to God for the blessed increase of this mutual respect and affirm our commitment to advancing excellent relations between Cyprus and Israel,' the declaration says. ... The declaration explicitly states ... that the Church of Cyprus was never party to accusations of collective guilt or to the 'systematic negation' of Jewry. 'We accordingly affirm the repudiation of such prejudice as incompatible with the teaching of the Holy Scriptures,' reads the declaration. ... The other major provision of Tuesday's pronouncement declares that proselytizing among the respective communities 'undermines the religious identity of the other' and is 'incompatible with mutual respect.' 'We have signed today a historic declaration about the Jewish relationship with the Orthodox Church,' Metzger told The Jerusalem Post. 'Until now, the Orthodox churches have been reluctant to take this kind of step, but the Church of Cyprus has taken on this responsibility with today's brave declaration. We hope that now, step by step, we will be able to enter into similar relationships with the other major Orthodox churches, such as the Greek and the Russian churches,' he said. ... With an eye on the recent diplomatic strife with Turkey as well as general conflict with other parts of the Islamic world, Metzger called the rapprochement between Judaism and the Orthodox Church a 'revolutionary' change, years in the making, which is important in light of a new common 'enemy.' The declaration also affirmed the teachings of both Judaism and Christianity regarding the sanctity of life and stated that 'accordingly, we condemn all acts that desecrate this sanctity, in particular violence and terror against innocents and especially when this involves the abuse of the name of God and religion.' Rabbi David Rosen, the international director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee and honorary adviser to the Chief Rabbinate on interfaith matters, welcomed the declaration, but said that it was only the beginning of the process. 'It is significant in that the head of the Church of Cyprus is making this declaration,' he said. 'But the main importance is the potential to expand the content of this declaration to the greater part of the Orthodox world.'"

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    Archaeology
    Masa Echad, December 1, 2011

    This brief report noted that the Dead Sea Scrolls, "which shed light on the formation of Christianity and on the mutual relations between Jewish and Christians during this period," have now become available on-line.

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