Globe Briefs December 17
Jews for Jesus denounces Vatican’s no-converting-Jews policy
The Jews for Jesus organization has denounced the Vatican for saying the Catholic Church must not try to convert Jews to Christianity.
David Brickner, executive director of Jews for Jesus, said in a statement issued last Friday that his organization finds the position “egregious, especially coming from an institution which seeks to represent a significant number of Christians in the world.”
The pronouncement against converting Jews came in a major document released a day earlier by the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. It was issued to mark the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, a declaration promulgated in 1965 by the Second Vatican Council that opened the door to formal Catholic-Jewish dialogue.
Brickner accused the Vatican of pandering to Jewish leaders.
“How can the Vatican ignore the fact that the Great Commission of Jesus Christ mandates that his followers are to bring the gospel to all people?” he asked. “Are they merely pandering to some leaders in the Jewish community who applaud being off the radar for evangelization by Catholics? If so, they need to be reminded that they first received that gospel message from the lips of Jews who were for Jesus.”
Jews for Jesus, which calls itself the “largest Jewish mission agency in the world,” has branches in 13 countries and 25 cities, according to the statement.
The new Vatican document, titled “The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable,” discussed at length how Christianity is rooted in Judaism. Because of this, it said, the Church is “obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views.”
It added, “In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews.”
Bibi: Israel ‘will do its part’ to help slow global warming
Israel “will do its part” to help slow global warming under the climate agreement signed in Paris, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
“Like the other countries, we have an interest in ensuring that global warming, if it will not be halted, will at least be slowed down — and Israel will do its part,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the weekly Cabinet meeting of the agreement signed by 196 countries on Saturday night in Paris after nearly two weeks of negotiations.
The agreement seeks to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, which are blamed for global warming.
“This is a complex international mission. It is built on the premise that large and small countries alike will not deviate from it,” Netanyahu said. “This demands international discipline, which is not easy, but for the good of humanity, I hope that it will be found. It will certainly be found in the State of Israel.”
The prime minister cited the fact that Israel is a leader in wastewater purification technologies, recycling and water desalination, and has a national plan for alternatives to oil.
“We will reduce greenhouse gas emissions on behalf of future generations,” Netanyahu pledged.
Israel was represented at the talks by Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay and other Knesset members. The Israeli government presented a target of reducing the country’s growth in greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030, according to Haaretz.
“History will remember this day,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said after the agreement was passed. “The Paris agreement on climate change is a monumental success for the planet and its people.”
Trump: ‘Inappropriate’ of Netanyahu to slam Muslim plan
Donald Trump said it was “inappropriate” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to condemn his plan to bar Muslims from entering the United States.
“He modestly condemned them, and I thought it was sort of inappropriate that he condemned them, but that’s okay,” Trump, the front-runner in polls among Republican presidential candidates, said Sunday morning during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. “He wanted to condemn them, that’s what he does. OK? But we have a problem.”
Despite the condemnation from Netanyahu, Trump said, the Israeli prime minister and other world leaders are not distancing themselves from him.
“I had a meeting with Netanyahu. I could be at the meeting right now,” Trump said.
Netanyahu and Trump had a meeting scheduled for Dec. 28 in Jerusalem, but Trump canceled it last Thursday, saying on Twitter the two would meet “at a later date, after I become president of the U.S.” The meeting was arranged about two weeks before he made his statements earlier this month about barring Muslims temporarily.
In condemning Trump’s proposed ban, Netanyahu said, “The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world.”