Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Saturday 5 October 2013

Israel's Thriving Christians Affirm Their Closeness To The Jewish People

"In terms of the sheer scale of the hatreds and sectarian rivalries, we are witnessing something on the scale of horror of the European Thirty Years War.  It is the climax of a process grinding its way through the twentieth century – the effective extinction of Christianity from its birthplace."
Thus says historian Tom Holland.

"Copts are the new Jews," argues Lela Gilbert regarding the persecution of "the Sunday People" after "the Saturday People" in Egypt.

 "The global persecution of Christians is the unreported catastrophe of our time," asserts John L. Allen in a powerful new article in The Spectator (hat tip: reader and blogger Ian G)

And although Allen, who describes the horror facing Christians not only in the Middle East but in North Korea, for example, is no doubt right to point out that "anti-Christian violence is hardly limited to a ‘clash of civilisations’ between Christianity and Islam" it is undeniable that most of the persecution of and violence against Christians is perpetrated in the name of Islam.

Israel's enemies, of course, insist on laying the blame for the steady decline in Palestinian Christian numbers on the Israelis, and not on the true culprit, the intimidatory tactics of Islamic supremacists.

(See, for instance, here)

In Israel, by contrast, Christian numbers are rising, up from 154,000 in 2011 to 158,000 lat year. 

It's encouraging to learn from this report that at a conference in Jerusalem entitled “Israeli Christians: Breaking Free? The advent of an independent Christian voice in Israel” prominent Israeli Christians voiced support affirmed "their own identity apart from Arab Muslims, and their support for Israel, described themselves as "not Arabs" but "Christians who speak Arabic," and explained that "their history, culture, and heritage have been hijacked by Muslim Arabs in the region. They said they feel a closer affinity to Israel and the Jewish people, which their culture and religion originally derived from."
The report continues:

'“The Christian public wants to integrate into Israeli society, against the wishes of its old leadership. There are those who keep pushing us to the margins, keeping us the victims nationalism that is not our own, and of a conflict that has nothing to do with us,” said Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox Priest and advocate for Christian enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces through the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum, Israel Hayom reported.
Another theme at the conference was a reassertion of Christian identity in the region. Speakers blamed the Arab Invasions of the 7th century for gradually erasing their identity. A former Israeli Christian paratrooper, Lt. (ret) Shaadi Khalloul, said he has lobbied the Israeli government to recognize his community as Aramaic Christians, referring to the majority language spoken by Christians and Jews prior to the 7th century Arab invasion. Aramaic is still spoken by isolated communities today. Khalloul calls his group “B’nei Keyama,” which means “allies” in Aramaic.
“The typical Christian student thinks that he belongs to the Arab people and the Islamic nation, instead of speaking to the people with whom he truly shares his roots—the Jewish people, whose origins are in the Land of Israel,” Khalloul said.'
Amen to that.

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