Bill O’Reilly eat your heart out, because while “the War on Christmas” rages in America, secular Israelis –on a government level – have no problem stepping on Jewish sensitivities in the Jewish State. Official declarations of “Merry Christmas”, “Season’s Greetings”, and “Happy New Year “ are ringing forth from Jerusalem, and all of the state’s apparatchiks seem to be getting into the act this season…

Christmas Blessing by President Shimon Peres (video)
He stumbles on his words a bit, but the President of the State of Israel comes across loud and clear:
“From the eternal city of Jerusalem, I want to wish each of you and all of us a happy, merry Christmas” He then goes on to pray and wish that the next year will be a year of peace, brotherhood, tolerance, affluence, etc… ”This is the call of heaven. This is the wish of our Lord…Let’s celebrate and hope and do accordingly”.

Season’s Greetings from the IDF” (video)
“This holiday season” Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitch, Head of the Foreign Press Branch of the IDF, takes a moment to recognize the diversity of people – a virtual “melting pot” - serving in the IDF. She concludes by wishing whoever may be listening ,“a joyous new season and a hopeful new year. Season’s greetings”

COGAT Meets with Patriarchs and Church Leaders in Commemoration of ...(Press Release)
Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, and the Head of the Civil Administration in Judea, Brig. Gen.
Yoav (Poly) Mordechai, met Tuesday with Christian leaders, including
church heads and Patriarchs, in commemoration of the upcoming Christmas
holiday, and offered them best wishes for the new calendar year. According to the press release, they “wished the religious leaders a merry Christmas and a happy new year on behalf of the Defense Minister and Chief of the General Staff.”

Jerusalem Municipality: Free Trees and “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” (Flyer)
“On the occasion of the Christmas holiday season, the Municipality of Jerusalem and the Jewish National Fund will be distributing free Christmas trees…Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

Rabbi Benny Elon attends ICEJ’s Hannukah-Christmas bash
As a general rule Orthodox rabbis tend to avoid Christmas parties. But according to the Jerusalem Post, Benny Elon “was happy to accept the invitation of Malcolm Hedding, director of the International Christian Embassy, to join in the embassy's joint Hanukka-Christmas celebrations. Elon was not the only Orthodox Jew present. “

David Nekrutman, Rabbi Riskin’s executive director of Ohr Torah Stone's Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation put in an appearance. Nekrutman who is on record for welcoming Jesus into shul has also been a participant in Jewish-sponsored efforts to rehabilitate Pope Pius XII.

Rabbi Riskin, “Rabbi” Jesus, and messianism
It appears Rabbi Riskin who promotes ICEJ and was the featured speaker at the Christian Embassy’s Succot Feast reception, was not present at the ICEJ Christmas event.
However Jewish Israel has picked-up another rather “christmassy” video of Rabbi Riskin which was uploaded to You Tube by “a follower of the Nazarene, Yeshua Ha'Mashiach [Jesus Christ].” A lot of us remain puzzled as to where Rabbi Riskin is coming from and to where he is going.

Christmas dinner is not kosher
Tovia Singer tells the a JPost reporter why the Chief Rabbinate has a conflict with restaurant owners who make a public spectacle of Christmas , and why pastors should deem Christmas treif

Mike Evans and the Jerusalem Prayer Team’s “Merry Christmas message”
According to an Ephramite cult site, Mike Evans of the Jerusalem Prayer Team sent out an email with the subject “Merry Christmas from Israel“.
(Excerpt):
“I am writing you this Christmas message from Israel. I flew here to declare a word from the Lord… There is no doubt that 2010 will be a year of unspeakable living hell for the Jewish people if God’s people do not stand in the gap NOW.”

Where is the Grinch when you need him?

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmasat Aish
(Screen shot of Aish.com hompage)

Honestly, our first reaction was that Santa’s elves had hacked Aish.com, or that someone had spiked the eggnog at the annual Aish Christmas party. Whoa, wait a minute…Aish doesn’t have a Christmas bash (at least not yet). Our guess is that the profound Torah message behind the recent Aish homepage was something along the lines of, “How does a Jew find meaning in Christmas?”

At any rate, Jewish Israel feels that Aish takes the fruitcake award for the most stunning Christmas homepage design of any online Torah publication.

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Comment by ellen on January 3, 2010 at 9:45am
Before the launch of Jewishisrael.com I personally checked with my Rav about using such terms in my postings. He gave his approval because we are using these terms for educational purposes and to alert the Jewish community. JI wants to reach the largest possible range of Jews - and these are the terms most of our people are familiar with.

And, of course, when searching for information, most people (including Jews) will google "christmas" and" jesus" rather than "Xmas" and "Yeshu"
Comment by Captain Q. on January 3, 2010 at 7:08am
David, for this post, I take off my Jewish Israel staff hat and speak for myself as a private Jew.

I have no problem with either the original or nick names of idolatrous holidays and figures. The Torah itself has no problems with spelling out such similar names, either.

I will confess that I prefer to use "Yeshu" rather than "Jesus" in my conversations because of Yeshu's value as an acronym: ימח שמו וזכרו.

Otherwise, I have no problem calling a spade a spade.
Comment by David Ziants on January 2, 2010 at 11:43pm
With this blog, I am a bit uncomfortable that JewishIsrael themselves chose to spell out in full the name of their festival as part of the title. In polite Jewish circles, "Xmas" seems to be preferred rendering as this sort of makes it more distant.
Comment by David Ziants on January 2, 2010 at 10:50pm
The following was written as a side remark in another posting on the mail-jewish Torah discussion group. It was written by Rabbi Meir Wise who is currently visiting Israel from London, UK .
He gave me permission to repost the relevant section on Jewish Israel blog.

========================================================
................ Snipped ................ , but that leads me to a disturbing incident on the radio last night.

I am enjoying israel no end but having had a sleep during the daytime of fast of tevet I couldn't sleep at 2am this morning. Usually I listen to the radio - kol chai or kol berama for content and music. But the reception was poor and fuzzy and so I started to adjust the tuner. I got to Galei Zahal (which one hears on many buses and in taxis) which is the main army channel. I thought I would give it a try.

You can only imagine my shock and outrage when the Jewish broadcaster suddenly announced (it was already 28th December) that the next two hours would be devoted to Xmas songs old and new! After all Xmas is celebrated in Haifa and Jaffa and why not here on the radio. Xmas is such a beautiful festival that we all want a part of it! It is so colourful it is a pity that the Jewish festivals are not as nice. They have large stockings into which they put sweet things (sic) and they exchange presents.

I immediately wrote a strong email in ivrit protesting in which I said that one of the reasons I visit israel at this time of year is to get away from all that! besides asking if they knew how many Jews had been killed throughout history in the name of that persons birthday whose birthday we were invited to celebrate! So far haven't even had an acknowledgement.
................. Snipped ....
Rabbi Meir Wise
========================================================
Comment by Jewish Israel on December 27, 2009 at 1:15pm
As of this morning December 27th, the Aish homepage graphics have been changed. The Christmas graphics have been removed. Much of the content remains the same. Jewish Israel notes that an article, "Why Jews Don't Believe In Jesus" is also being featured.
Whether the graphics were changed due to pressure or as part of a regular schedule is not known. A screen shot of the homepage as it appeared on December 24 - 25th can be seen at
http://jewishisrael.ning.com/page/aishcom-christmas-homepage-as/
Comment by Jewish Israel on December 27, 2009 at 12:22am
C'mon Stefan,
You have to agree that the Aish homepage is indeed the most stunning Christmas homepage design of any online Torah publication.
Let's look at the other kiruv organizations:
Ohr Somayach features the 10th of Tevet
and Chabad has a very dynamic page with a number of feature stories and none of feature Christmas.
Aish has no less than four feature Christmas or Christian stories in their first homepage frame - which is full of Christmas theme graphics. Overkill, wouldn't you say?

Many of the Jews Aish targets may be unaffiliated or from non-Observant backgrounds, but it's doubtful that most of these Jews actually celebrated Christmas.
Comment by Stefan on December 26, 2009 at 11:47pm
Surely your comments about Aish are off the mark? It's a kiruv organisation for goodness sake! It is marketing Torah to Jews in America (and elsewhere) who probably have been 'celebrating' Xmas in one form or another for years. It can not realistically ignore that and hope to make a connection with the very Jews who need to hear an authentic Jewish message.

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