The series of twenty chapters about the history of the Land of Israel on Israeli television was a great success. Chapter 8, “Between Independence and Ruin”, dealt with the period from 63 BC to 70 AD and in it there was a discussion of the figure of Jesus.

tv tohu

In chapter 8, the discussion focused on the period from the Roman conquest until the destruction of the Second Temple. After a fascinating discussion about the figure of Herod, the chapter turned to the figure of Jesus. It is worthwhile noting that the narrator referred to Jesus as “Yeshu’a” (his proper name) and not to “Yeshu” (as Jesus is often called in Hebrew, a name that took on derogatory meaning over the centuries). The discussion is balanced and scientific. The main commentator in the chapter is Yisca Harani, a noted teacher of Christianity and a good friend of our kehillot and the Church at large.

A very moving moment in the chapter is the meeting between Yisca and the Israeli novelist Yochi Brandes in the Synagogue Church in Nazareth. The two of them sit down in the church and talk about the renowned man from Nazareth. We decided to quote here the words of Brandes in full (and they can be heard in the film from minute 26:06 to 26:57). Brandes says:

“Were it not that Christianity was taken up at some point by the Gentiles and became a religion that hated the Jewish people, an anti-Semitic religion, were it not for that, there is a big chance that in our view, that of the Jews, Jesus would really be considered as one of our great prophets throughout all the generations. What happened is that Christianity took Jesus from us. And by the way, I personally went through this process as I grew up over the years full of disgust, hatred for him. I called him “Yeshu”. I despised him, I felt that he was like the father of anti-Semitism. Only as an adult I discovered who he is, who he really was, how he lived as a Jew and how he died as a Jew. Since then I respect him, even admire him. And I do not call him “Yeshu”. Since then I call him “Yeshu’a”. And in my eyes he is a great prophet.”

See the film here