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The Plight of Middle East Christians and Israel

by Speranza ( 47 Comments › )
Filed under Egypt, Hamas, Iran, Islamists, Israel, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia at March 11th, 2012 - 10:00 am

It was a huge mistake for Israel to turn over Bethlehem in 1994 to the Arafatians.  While the Christian population in Israel is growing and thriving, it is diminishing in the West Bank, Gaza, Iraq, Lebanon, and  Egypt (and will soon enough in Syria).

by Michael Oren

The church in Bethlehem had survived more than 1,000 years, through wars and conquests, but its future now seemed in jeopardy. Spray-painted all over its ancient stone walls were the Arabic letters for Hamas. The year was 1994 and the city was about to pass from Israeli to Palestinian control. I was meeting with the church’s clergy as an Israeli government adviser on inter-religious affairs. They were despondent but too frightened to file a complaint. The same Hamas thugs who had desecrated their sanctuary were liable to take their lives.

The trauma of those priests is now commonplace among Middle Eastern Christians. Their share of the region’s population has plunged from 20% a century ago to less than 5% today and falling. In Egypt, 200,000 Coptic Christians fled their homes last year after beatings and massacres by Muslim extremist mobs. Since 2003, 70 Iraqi churches have been burned and nearly a thousand Christians killed in Baghdad alone, causing more than half of this million-member community to flee. Conversion to Christianity is a capital offense in Iran, where last month Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death. Saudi Arabia outlaws private Christian prayer.

As 800,000 Jews were once expelled from Arab countries, so are Christians being forced from lands they’ve inhabited for centuries.

The only place in the Middle East where Christians aren’t endangered but flourishing is Israel. Since Israel’s founding in 1948, its Christian communities (including Russian and Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Armenians and Protestants) have expanded more than 1,000%.

Christians are prominent in all aspects of Israeli life, serving in the Knesset, the Foreign Ministry and on the Supreme Court. They are exempt from military service, but thousands have volunteered and been sworn in on special New Testaments printed in Hebrew. Israeli Arab Christians are on average more affluent than Israeli Jews and better-educated, even scoring higher on their SATs.

[......]

When Muslims tried to erect a mosque near the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the Israeli government interceded to preserve the sanctity of the shrine.

Israel abounds with such sites (Capernaum, the Hill of the Beatitudes, the birth place of St. John the Baptist) but the state constitutes only part of the Holy Land. The rest, according to Jewish and Christian tradition, is in Gaza and the West Bank. Christians in those areas suffer the same plight as their co-religionists throughout the region.

Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, half the Christian community has fled. Christmas decorations and public displays of crucifixes are forbidden. In a December 2010 broadcast, Hamas officials exhorted Muslims to slaughter their Christian neighbors. Rami Ayad, owner of Gaza’s only Christian bookstore, was murdered, his store reduced to ash. This is the same Hamas with which the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank recently signed a unity pact.

Little wonder, then, that the West Bank is also hemorrhaging Christians. Once 15% of the population, they now make up less than 2%. Some have attributed the flight to Israeli policies that allegedly deny Christians economic opportunities, stunt demographic growth, and impede access to the holy sites of Jerusalem. In fact, most West Bank Christians live in cities such as Nablus, Jericho and Ramallah, which are under Palestinian Authority control. All those cities have experienced marked economic growth and sharp population increase—among Muslims.

[......]
There must be another reason, then, for the West Bank’s Christian exodus. The answer lies in Bethlehem. Under Israeli auspices, the city’s Christian population grew by 57%. But under the Palestinian Authority since 1995, those numbers have plummeted. Palestinian gunmen seized Christian homes—compelling Israel to build a protective barrier between them and Jewish neighborhoods—and then occupied the Church of the Nativity, looting it and using it as a latrine. Today, Christians comprise a mere one-fifth of their holy city’s population.

The extinction of the Middle East’s Christian communities is an injustice of historic magnitude. Yet Israel provides an example of how this trend can not only be prevented but reversed. With the respect and appreciation that they receive in the Jewish state, the Christians of Muslim countries could not only survive but thrive.

Read the rest – Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians

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47 Responses to “The Plight of Middle East Christians and Israel”
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  1. Speranza
    1 | March 11, 2012 11:08 am

    The left wing Protestant churches (as opposed to their congregations, the vast majority of whom are not at all left-wing) are completely silent on this issue.


  2. 2 | March 11, 2012 11:28 am

    Speranza wrote:

    The left wing Protestant churches (as opposed to their congregations, the vast majority of whom are not at all left-wing) are completely silent on this issue.

    That’s because Marxism infiltrated those “Denominations leadership” and as we all know, everywhere Marxism goes, so also does religious persecution and antisemitism.


  3. Philip_Daniel
    3 | March 11, 2012 11:31 am

    Speranza wrote:

    The left wing Protestant churches (as opposed to their congregations, the vast majority of whom are not at all left-wing) are completely silent on this issue.

    The “Progressive” Protestant churches are Godless “Social Justice” institutions stricken with Islamophilia, and the more traditional Protestant congregations are kneejerk anti-Catholic and anti-Orthodox.


  4. 4 | March 11, 2012 11:45 am

    Philip_Daniel wrote:

    Speranza wrote:
    The left wing Protestant churches (as opposed to their congregations, the vast majority of whom are not at all left-wing) are completely silent on this issue.

    The “Progressive” Protestant churches are Godless “Social Justice” institutions stricken with Islamophilia, and the more traditional Protestant congregations are kneejerk anti-Catholic and anti-Orthodox.

    Sorry but this just isn’t true Philip. Speranza was extremely accurate in pointing out that the problem isn’t in the lay people of the congregations, but in the leadership of certain denominations.

    While it is true that some hostility remains between some members of the mainstream protestant denominations and Catholics and Orthodox it has for the most part faded into history. For the most part all that remains of that hostility are bitter memories.


  5. Speranza
    5 | March 11, 2012 11:55 am

    doriangrey wrote:

    That’s because Marxism infiltrated those “Denominations leadership” and as we all know, everywhere Marxism goes, so also does religious persecution and antisemitism.

    I’ll bet most of the leadership is atheist or agnostic.


  6. Speranza
    6 | March 11, 2012 11:57 am

    The ancient Copts who go back to the pre-Islamic Egypt, will all probably be extinct thorough emigration and foreed conversion within 10 years.


  7. 7 | March 11, 2012 12:14 pm

    @ Philip_Daniel:

    Hey did you see my Malta posts?


  8. 8 | March 11, 2012 12:24 pm

    Speranza wrote:

    doriangrey wrote:
    That’s because Marxism infiltrated those “Denominations leadership” and as we all know, everywhere Marxism goes, so also does religious persecution and antisemitism.
    I’ll bet most of the leadership is atheist or agnostic.

    When several years ago I heard a Methodist Minister refer to Karl Marx’s “From each according to their abilities to each according to their needs” as a philosophy that Jesus Christ would have approved of I knew that something was drastically wrong.

    If you read what Jesus Christ actually taught you know that that simple isn’t true. Jesus Christ was actually an advocate of both contract law (i.e. you enter into a contract with someone and abide by the terms of that contract) and of paying a worker a fair wage.

    He believed in providing for the legitimately poor, but not those who refused to support themselves when the opportunity to do so was available.


  9. RIX
    9 | March 11, 2012 12:42 pm

    Good morning. Somewhat along the same lines,
    Cardinal Dolan of New York sent a letter to
    all dioceses and it was published at our Church.
    I have never seen anything like this before.
    In so many words Dolan claims that the Government
    (Obama) is at war with the Church.
    He did not sound accepting at all, but he sounded
    ready for battle & pointed out that all Faiths are
    at risk


  10. huckfunn
    10 | March 11, 2012 12:44 pm

    As if to add emphasis to this thread, the Religion of Pieces ™ performs another act of mass murder against a Catholic church in Nigeria.
    At Least 10 Killed as Suicide Bomber Attacks Catholic Church During Mass


  11. Speranza
    11 | March 11, 2012 12:44 pm

    @ doriangrey:
    IMHO the problem is that the sayings of Jesus were reported at the earliest around 40 years after the crucifixion and the Gospels were not a biography.


  12. Speranza
    12 | March 11, 2012 12:45 pm

    @ RIX:
    They only like religion when religion gives them cover for their left-wing agenda.


  13. huckfunn
    13 | March 11, 2012 12:48 pm

    RIX wrote:

    Good morning. Somewhat along the same lines,
    Cardinal Dolan of New York sent a letter to
    all dioceses and it was published at our Church.
    I have never seen anything like this before.
    In so many words Dolan claims that the Government
    (Obama) is at war with the Church.
    He did not sound accepting at all, but he sounded
    ready for battle & pointed out that all Faiths are
    at risk

    Here is a link to the text of that letter.


  14. 14 | March 11, 2012 12:48 pm

    @ huckfunn:

    If Catholics fought back, it would be called genocide!


  15. RIX
    15 | March 11, 2012 12:49 pm

    Speranza wrote:

    @ RIX:
    They only like religion when religion gives them cover for their left-wing agenda.

    They do have a preferred religion though, & it
    has nothing to do with Christians & Jews.
    It seems obvious to me that BHO still has a lot
    of sympathies from his Jakarta Muslim days.


  16. RIX
    16 | March 11, 2012 12:52 pm

    @ huckfunn:
    It is quite a letter isn’t it. Our Monsignor pulished
    as well urging Catholics to fight back.He didn’t say it,
    but everybody got that he was saying “vote against Obama.”


  17. huckfunn
    17 | March 11, 2012 12:53 pm

    Rodan wrote:

    @ huckfunn:

    If Catholics fought back, it would be called genocide!

    That’s a fact. Any non-muzz need to exit before it’s too late. They are swimming against the tide. In fact, any non-muzz seeking religious asylum in the U.S. should go to the front of the line, and displace by a factor of 100, any muzz seeking U.S. citizenship.


  18. Speranza
    18 | March 11, 2012 12:54 pm

    RIX wrote:

    They do have a preferred religion though, & it
    has nothing to do with Christians & Jews.
    It seems obvious to me that BHO still has a lot
    of sympathies from his Jakarta Muslim days.

    In his eyes it is anti-colonialist, anti-Western – so what’s not to like?


  19. huckfunn
    19 | March 11, 2012 12:56 pm

    RIX wrote:

    @ huckfunn:
    It is quite a letter isn’t it. Our Monsignor pulished
    as well urging Catholics to fight back.He didn’t say it,
    but everybody got that he was saying “vote against Obama.”

    Yes it is. I’m thinking that the effect of BO’s war on the Church can be seen in the latest BO disapproval ratings of -19 for 2 days in a row.


  20. RIX
    20 | March 11, 2012 12:57 pm

    @ Speranza:

    In his eyes it is anti-colonialist, anti-Western – so what’s not to like?

    Exactly, “Dreams From My Father.”
    BHO Senior was a Marxist Economist who hated
    England & the US.


  21. huckfunn
    21 | March 11, 2012 12:59 pm

    How do you spell karma? Troglydite Alan Grayson runs red light in Orlando and crashes into bus.


  22. 22 | March 11, 2012 1:01 pm

    @ huckfunn:

    Actually Nigeria is 52% Christians and they have the numbers in the south. They should not run. They should stand and fight.


  23. RIX
    23 | March 11, 2012 1:02 pm

    @ huckfunn:

    Yes it is. I’m thinking that the effect of BO’s war on the Church can be seen in the latest BO disapproval ratings of -19 for 2 days in a row.

    They have taken on the largest Christian Denomination,
    accounting for 25% of the U.S population.
    This is no accidednt & they must think that they
    can win.
    Maybe they didn’t plan on this push back, or they know
    something.


  24. RIX
    24 | March 11, 2012 1:05 pm

    huckfunn wrote:
    <

    blockquote>How do you spell karma? Troglydite Alan Grayson runs red light in Orlando and crashes into bus.

    Grayson is a profoundly disturbed mmoonbat.
    On the bright side, I heard that Scott Brown
    is looking pretty safe in Masachusetts.


  25. huckfunn
    25 | March 11, 2012 1:09 pm

    Rodan wrote:

    @ huckfunn:

    Actually Nigeria is 52% Christians and they have the numbers in the south. They should not run. They should stand and fight.

    I didn’t know that. Nigeria has the largest population in Africa. You’re right, they do need to stand and fight. Where the non-muzz are a small minority, they should get out because they will only be persecuted and ultimately murdered.


  26. 26 | March 11, 2012 1:14 pm

    huckfunn wrote:

    How do you spell karma? Troglydite Alan Grayson runs red light in Orlando and crashes into bus.

    Well, on the positive side, this at least ought to keep Grayson quiet for a couple of days. :twisted:


  27. 27 | March 11, 2012 1:17 pm

    @ huckfunn:

    Or NATO would bomb the Non Muzz to help the Muzz.


  28. 28 | March 11, 2012 1:17 pm

    Hey big thread at 3:00 PM EST!


  29. huckfunn
    29 | March 11, 2012 1:19 pm

    @ doriangrey:
    One would think. He probably stands a pretty good chance of having a few ambulance chasing shysters knocking on his door Monday morning.


  30. huckfunn
    30 | March 11, 2012 1:21 pm

    Rodan wrote:

    @ huckfunn:

    Or NATO would bomb the Non Muzz to help the Muzz.

    Yup; as long as the P-I-C is in charge.


  31. 31 | March 11, 2012 1:22 pm

    huckfunn wrote:

    @ doriangrey:
    One would think. He probably stands a pretty good chance of having a few ambulance chasing shysters knocking on his door Monday morning.

    I’m betting that there is a extremely high degree of probability that alcohol was involved, but that it will not be reported on.


  32. RIX
    32 | March 11, 2012 1:23 pm

    Rodan wrote:

    @ huckfunn:
    Or NATO would bomb the Non Muzz to help the Muzz.

    They have done it before. As I recall a certain husky
    blogger from Culver City banned people for mentioning it.


  33. huckfunn
    33 | March 11, 2012 1:29 pm

    doriangrey wrote:

    I’m betting that there is a extremely high degree of probability that alcohol was involved, but that it will not be reported on.

    It was like this, Your Honor. I went through the communion line 6 times too many. :roll:


  34. huckfunn
    34 | March 11, 2012 1:31 pm

    After 2 and a half straight days of rain, it is a glorious sunshiny day in the Texas hill country. I need to get out there.

    Later…..


  35. 35 | March 11, 2012 1:37 pm

    @ RIX:

    I have something for the Husky Blogger at 3:00 PM EST here.


  36. 36 | March 11, 2012 2:02 pm

    RIX wrote:

    Rodan wrote:

    @ huckfunn:
    Or NATO would bomb the Non Muzz to help the Muzz.
    They have done it before. As I recall a certain husky
    blogger from Culver City banned people for mentioning it.

    Speaking of that guy in Culver City, Rodan…did you get my e-mail with my Tweet to him?


  37. Alberta Oil Peon
    37 | March 11, 2012 2:08 pm

    @ Rodan:
    The Christians in Nigeria should give the muzz a choice: convert, leave, or die. And give them 30 days to decide, before commencing to kill those who chose option 3.


  38. 38 | March 11, 2012 2:16 pm

    Alberta Oil Peon wrote:

    @ Rodan:
    The Christians in Nigeria should give the muzz a choice: convert, leave, or die. And give them 30 days to decide, before commencing to kill those who chose options 1 or 3.

    Fix’s that for ya, Muslims commit Taqiyya, they don’t convert.


  39. 39 | March 11, 2012 2:18 pm

    Rodan wrote:

    @ RIX:

    I have something for the Husky Blogger at 3:00 PM EST here.

    Except we’re on daylight savings time.


  40. 40 | March 11, 2012 2:21 pm

    Carolina Girl wrote:

    Rodan wrote:

    @ RIX:
    I have something for the Husky Blogger at 3:00 PM EST here.

    Except we’re on daylight savings time.

    Damn it, forgot about that, no wonder it’s so late already but still seems early… :sad:


  41. 41 | March 11, 2012 2:23 pm

    @ doriangrey:

    The “fall back” I like; the “spring forward” not so much.


  42. 42 | March 11, 2012 2:25 pm

    Carolina Girl wrote:

    @ doriangrey:
    The “fall back” I like; the “spring forward” not so much.

    Fortunately all of my “Time Keeping devices” self update, but yea, I’m not thrilled with springing forward either.


  43. 43 | March 11, 2012 2:27 pm

    Carolina Girl wrote:

    @ doriangrey:

    The “fall back” I like; the “spring forward” not so much.

    Here in AZ since we’re always on MST, we “Spring Back” and “Fall Forward.” Chew on that one for a while….


  44. 44 | March 11, 2012 2:28 pm

    Macker wrote:

    Carolina Girl wrote:
    @ doriangrey:
    The “fall back” I like; the “spring forward” not so much.

    Here in AZ since we’re always on MST, we “Spring Back” and “Fall Forward.” Chew on that one for a while….

    ROTFLMAO… there is a reason you guys are called Zonies… :razz:


  45. 45 | March 11, 2012 2:49 pm

    @ Carolina Girl:

    Its scheduled correctly.


  46. 46 | March 11, 2012 2:58 pm

    @ Macker:

    I can’t even figure out why we’re still using DST anyway.


  47. Speranza
    47 | March 11, 2012 10:23 pm

    Carolina Girl wrote:

    @ doriangrey:
    The “fall back” I like; the “spring forward” not so much.

    At my age I can use the extra hour of sleep.


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