Newsletter : 3fax0812.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
Ukrainian Skinheads Beat Israeli Teenager
Recently in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, six skinheads attacked an 18-year-old Israeli
originally from the former Soviet Union. Anton Miromanov was wearing a T-shirt with Hebrew
letters printed on it when he and his friends were approached on Independence Square by
the skinheads who asked him if he was Jewish. When he said that he was a Jew and proud of
it, the skinheads knocked him to the ground and started kicking him. His friends were able
to save him. A police source said that the authorities were actively looking for the
Israel Warns Syria on Lebanon Border Security
By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel has warned Syria it will not permit a further deterioration of the situation
along its northern border with Lebanon and has called on the United States to stress that
point to the Damascus government. On Sunday night, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon convened a
special meeting of senior military officials on the situation.
Senior Sharon advisor Raanan Gissen said afterward that Israel had no intention of
escalating the situation, but added that the country would not tolerate further attacks.
He said Syria bore responsibility for not fulfilling a United Nations resolution following
the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon three years ago.
"It was Syria's responsibility to ensure that Lebanese troops deploy along the border
and that Hizbullah be removed form there and, as a matter of fact, expelled from Lebanon
as well as Syria, and that did not happen," Gissen said.
Israeli warplanes bombed Hizbullah positions in southern Lebanon Sunday, after
cross-border artillery fire from the terrorist group killed an Israeli teenager and
wounded four others in the Israeli town of Shlomi.
Hizbullah said it fired anti-aircraft shells at Israeli warplanes that had intruded
into Lebanese airspace and was not targeting the town. Israeli military officials said
there were no Israeli aircraft in the area when the shelling began.
The Israeli air raid followed artillery exchanges Friday between Israel and Hizbullah
in the disputed Shebaa Farms border region. Shebaa Farms is occupied by Israel and claimed
by both Syria and Lebanon. The United Nations says the area belongs to Syria and that
Syria and Israel should negotiate its future. Israel withdrew its forces from southern
Lebanon in May 2000 following a 22-year occupation.
The Passion: New Mel Gibson Movie Prompts Controversy Long Before Release
By Maura Farrelly (VOA-Washington)
Academy award-winning actor and filmmaker Mel Gibson is accustomed to attracting
people's attention by this point in his career. But the star of such films as "Braveheart"
and "Lethal Weapon" may not be used to the kind of attention he's been attracting lately.
A number of prominent Jewish and Catholic leaders are concerned about a film Gibson
recently directed, which is scheduled for release some time next year.
The film is entitled The Passion, and it's about the last hours of Jesus' life.
Christians believe the central figure in their religion suffered great physical and
emotional torment before being crucified, and dramatizations of this torment have a long
tradition in the Christian faith. Gibson's film will join a list of so-called "Passion
Plays" that can be traced back to the 13th century, a time when Christians began to take a
particular interest in the human qualities of their savior. The 13th century was also a
time of rising anti-Semitism, and for hundreds of years, this antipathy toward Jews was
reflected in the various adaptations of Christian scripture that became Passion Plays.
That's one of the reasons the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group, was
concerned about Gibson's film when they first learned of it. And according to Ken
Jacobson, associate director of the ADL, when group members got hold of a preliminary
script that was leaked to the public without Gibson's permission, they didn't like what
they saw. "They seemed to feel that there was much too much of an emphasis on the role of
the Jews, as opposed to the role of the Romans," he said.
The role of the Jews, that is, not only in the Christian messiah's execution, but also
in the injury and humiliation he suffered before his death. For many centuries, the
Catholic Church taught that Jews were partly responsible for the crucifixion. In fact, it
wasn't until the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s that that interpretation of
Scripture was renounced. Jacobson said since that time, great strides toward
reconciliation have been made between Jews and Catholics.
But not all Catholics embrace the dictates of the Second Vatican Council. There's a
splinter group known as "Traditionalist Catholics" that rejects most of the intended
reforms of what came to be called Vatican II, and this group counts one very prominent
film actor among its members. "Gibson himself calls himself a "traditionalist Catholic,"
and involved in that position are some very strong criticisms of the modern Church,
including what we would call the revolution in attitudes toward Jews within the Church
which has taken place over the last 35 years," said Jacobson.
It's been estimated there are about 100,000 traditionalist Catholics in the United
States. That's not even one percent of the entire American Catholic population. One of the
most vocal and radical traditionalist voices, however, is that of Hutton Gibson, Mel
Gibson's father. Hutton Gibson lives in Texas and has published a book that characterizes
every pope since Vatican II as an "enemy" of Catholicism. In a recent interview with The
New York Times Magazine, Hutton Gibson also denied that six million Jews could have been
killed in the Holocaust.
It's statements like that that prompted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to ask
a group of scholars to review the preliminary script to Mel Gibson's film. Those scholars
expressed concern that the script may be drawing upon an 18th-century adaptation of
Scripture that exaggerates the role of the Jews in Christ's death and violates current
Catholic teachings on the subject. Gibson's publicist did not return any of VOA's phone
calls, but in a published statement, the actor and director insisted his film is not
anti-Semitic, saying that anti-Semitism is "contrary to the core message of my movie."
Gibson said the film is meant to "inspire, not to offend."
Father Kevin Ashe is director of the oldest, continuous Passion Play in the United
States. The Park Theater in Union City, New Jersey, every Easter since 1915 has produced
it. Ashe said it is possible to do a Passion Play that doesn't offend Jews. He suggests
the script should emphasis that Jesus himself was a Jew, something Ashe said his own
theater's version didn't always reflect. "We missed that entirely. We would point out that
people who were against him were Jewish, but what happened was no one pointed out that
Jesus was Jewish, and that his disciples were. So it gave a very lop-sided thing, and when
you'd walk away from it, you'd say, 'Oh, those people are against Jesus. The Jews are
Ashe said in the 1960s, people involved with the Park Theater Passion Play voluntarily
removed a lot of the dialogue from the nineteen-teens and twenties that depicted Jews as
bloodthirsty. But it wasn't until the 1980s, when theater officials asked members of the
Anti-Defamation League to review the script, that Christians working on the play realized
the need to emphasize Christ's Jewish identity.
The Anti-Defamation League has asked to view Mel Gibson's film, to see whether they
think the final version is as problematic as they believe the preliminary script to be.
Meanwhile, The Passion continues to attract both supporters and critics, long before its
Jewish Visits to Temple Mount are Likely to Resume in Week
Public Security Minister Tzachi Hanegbi told the Knesset House Committee on Monday that
he might order the Temple Mount reopened to visits by Jews within a week, even if the Waqf
(Muslim religious trust) objects, Israel Radio reported Monday.
Hanegbi said Israel would wait another week for the agreement of the Waqf to visits by
Jews. If consent was not forthcoming, he said he might anyway order the resumption of
visits by Jews to the disputed site, which is Judaism's holiest. But Infrastructure
Minister Yosef Paritzky said that he has asked the government to rule on visits by
non-Muslims, Israel Radio reported Monday, citing the Shinui minister as saying that a
decision on the matter should not be taken by Hangebi alone.
Visits by groups of Jews and tourists to the compound, which contains the Al-Aqsa
mosque and the Dome of the Rock and is Islam's third holiest site, resumed several weeks
ago, after they stopped with the outbreak of the intifada almost three years ago. Fearing
violence, police again barred the trips up to the Mount after Arab leaders, including
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat, warned that the renewal of visits would have
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)