Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Palestinians Play Fast & Loose with Christmas
Abbas Rewriting History: Jesus Was Not a Palestinian
- Raphael Ahren
PA President Mahmoud Abbas published a lengthy Christmas greeting, calling Jesus "a Palestinian" and accusing Israel of being responsible for the exodus of Christians from the Holy Land.
Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor called Abbas' statement an "outrageous rewriting of Christian history."
An Israeli government official added: "The exodus of Christians from Bethlehem turned into a flood the moment the PA took control."
(Times of Israel)
Christians Abandoning Bethlehem - Anne-Marie O'Connor
There's been something missing in the birthplace of Christianity: Christians. For years, Palestinian Christians have been quietly abandoning the place where Jesus is said to have been born, packing their bags for Latin America, Europe and the U.S.
During the Ottoman era, a century ago, Bethlehem was 90% Christian. Today the city of 22,000 is more than two-thirds Muslim.
Israel's Christian Awakening - Adi Schwartz
This year has seen the rise of an independent voice for Israel's Christian community, which is increasingly trying to assert its separate identity. An informal grass-roots movement, prompted in part by the persecution of Christians elsewhere in the region since the Arab Spring, wants to cooperate more closely with Israeli Jewish society - which could mean a historic change in attitude toward the Jewish state. "Israel is my country, and I want to defend it," says Henry Zaher, an 18-year-old Christian from the village of Reineh. "The Jewish state is good for us."
Of Israel's 8 million citizens, about 130,000 are Arabic-speaking Christians (mostly Greek Catholic and Greek Orthodox), and 1.3 million are Arab Muslims. Fear of being considered traitors often drove Christians in Israel to proclaim their full support for the Palestinian cause. [I]n mixed Muslim-Christian cities such as Nazareth, many Christians say they feel outnumbered and insecure.
Rev. Gabriel Naddaf, 40, a former spokesman of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem, backs greater Christian integration into the Jewish state and increasing the number of Christians joining the Israel Defense Forces. "Israel takes care of us, and if not Israel, who will defend us? We love this country, and we see the army as a first step in becoming more integrated with the state."
(Wall Street Journal)