Anti-Christian Prejudice in Israel

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Palestinian Christians: Mourning the crucified Christ while awaiting the miracle of resurrection, worshippers at Saint Savior Catholic Church attend Holy Saturday services in the Old City of Jerusalem.

While America’s most Christian of Christians – Evangelical Christians – are so passionate in their Christian Zionism, their brethren in the land where Jesus walked suffer at the hands of Jewish extremists.

The Orthodox and ultra-nationalists who increasingly make up Israeli society harbor prejudice not just for Muslims and Arabs (of which Christians are included), but against all non-Jews. They seem themselves as the Chosen People and view all gentiles with distrust, at best, and vulgar hatred, at worst. Their bigotry is blanket against any non-Jews.

Palestinian Christians have long been a prominent segment of the Palestinian community, and have suffered great prosecution at the hands of Israel.

The Palestinian resistance against Zionism was born in the writings of prominent Palestinian Christians, such as Isa al-Isa and Khalil Beidas (both editors of papers and the latter was also a pioneering Arab poet).

With the exception of Yasser ‘Arafat, the most recognized face of the Palestinian armed resistance is George Habash; founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. A majority of Palestinian Christians count Muslim friends, and vise-verse (And Israel has sought, unsuccessfully, to divide Palestinian Muslims and Christians in a game of divide-and-conquer, but they remain united).

But while in the past, Christians were attacked for being Arab and Palestinian, they are not attacked simply for being Christian by Orthodox Jews taught in their religious schools to hate all non-Jews.

This was an actually headline in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz: “Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them.”

In a phrase: This is Israel.

Thuggish Orthodox Jewish students routinely spit on Christians in Jerusalem. The right-wing Israeli paper The Jerusalem Post (previously The Palestine Post) reports:

News stories about young Jewish bigots in the Old City spitting on Christian clergy – who make conspicuous targets in their long dark robes and crucifix symbols around their necks – surface in the media every few years or so. It’s natural, then, to conclude that such incidents are rare, but in fact they are habitual. Anti-Christian Orthodox Jews, overwhelmingly boys and young men, have been spitting with regularity on priests and nuns in the Old City for about 20 years, and the problem is only getting worse.

“My impression is that Christian clergymen are being spat at in the Old City virtually every day. This has been constantly increasing over the last decade,” said Daniel Rossing. An observant, kippa-wearing Jew, Rossing heads the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations and was liaison to Israel’s Christian communities for the Ministry of Religious Affairs in the ’70s and ’80s.

For Christian clergy in the Old City, being spat at by Jewish fanatics “is a part of life,” said the American Jewish Committee’s Rabbi David Rosen, Israel’s most prominent Jewish interfaith activist…

There was a time when priests and nuns in the capital went virtually unmolested. In the first 20 years or so after Israel conquered the Old City in the 1967 Six Day War, spitting incidents did occur, but only once in a very long while. Old City police would lock the offender up for the night, which proved an effective deterrent, said Hintlian. “Whatever problem we had, we could call [mayor] Teddy Kollek’s office, we could call people in the Foreign Ministry, the Interior Ministry, we could call Israeli ambassadors. In those days, Christians inJerusalem were ‘overprivileged,’” he said.

That era of good feelings came about as a result of two circumstances, continued Hintlian, the leading chronicler of Jerusalem’s Armenian history. For one, he says, Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular were much more liberal in those days, and secondly, Israeli authorities were out to convince the Christian world that they could be trusted with their newly acquired stewardship over the Old City’s holy places.

“Now Israel doesn’t need the world’s approval anymore for its sovereignty over Jerusalem, so our role is finished,” said Hintlian. “Now we don’t have anyone in authority to turn to.”…

Rosen, [Daniel] Rossing and [George] Hintlian say the most frustrating thing is that there’s no longer anyone in authority who’s ready to try to solve this problem, and the reason is that theChristian community in Israel is too small and powerless to rate high-level attention anymore.

This is not some aberration. It is the logical result of a society built on racism, exclusiveness, and a constant propaganda drumbeat that the Jewish are the superior people and are to maintain supremacy in the Holy Land over Muslims and Christians. In short: This is Zionism.

And Israeli society has of course long attacked all non-Jews in the land. They know do so with added reason in their hateful minds and with even more petty, gross attacks.

Does a nation like this deserve your support?

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