Christ at the Checkpoint 2014. Bethlehem. March 10-14, 2014
(Source of picture, HERE)
The diversity and vitality of Christians in Palestine and Israel is startling if one takes into account the presence of all Christians from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. These Christians live in one of the more challenging areas of the world working out a dynamic ecumenical vision of which few in the West are aware.
Christians in Israel and Palestine include: 1. Hebrew-speaking Palestinian-Arab Israelis who belong to one of the thirteen traditional Palestinian Churches (see author’s note in the References section), 2. Palestinians who belong to one of the thirteen Churches, 3. Palestinian-Arab Israeli and Palestinian Protestants who belong to newer evangelical denominations, 4. Messianic Jews who do not consider themselves Christians but who are committed to Jesus Christ as their savior, 5. Russian-Israeli Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants, 6. migrant workers—largely from the Philippines and an undetermined number from Latin-America, 7. asylum seekers from Africa, 8. expatriates employed by, or volunteering in, churches, NGOs and foreign governments, and 9. millions of tourists and pilgrims. Continue reading “Paul Parker – The Challenges of Christian Ecumenism in Israel and Palestine”
Palestinians and international activists connect a 700-meter water pipe to Palestinian families’ houses in Fasa’il Al Wusta, Jordan Valley, August 17, 2013. According to Jordan Valley Solidarity, communities in the Jordan Valley survive on 20 liters of water per person a day.
The World Health Organization recommends 100 liters.
In the adjacent illegal Israeli settlements in Jordan Valley, average water consumption is 451 liters per person a day. (Activestills.org)
(source of picture, here)
It is New Years Eve 2013. I am sitting in a bar drinking arak on the rocks. Alone, mostly. Next to me a table of well heeled, mature, Italians are popping bottles of prosecco and passing around photos of themselves in solemn procession with a huge cross on the Via Dolorosa. Since a priest is doing the honors with a couple of large panettone cakes I think its clear they’ve shifted gears. So in a world of mixed sentiments the festival closest in memory stirs them to sing “Silent Night” in Italian. Really? Okay, now they’ve launched into a sentimental Italian quasi operatic pop song (which is actually all Italian pop.) Before long . . . Sure enough they are gathered around the piano player (who paused in his endless series of old broadway show tunes) and they are singing “Que Sera Sera.”
I need another arak on the rocks. Continue reading “Robert Hunt – A New Year in Jerusalem”
Jerusalem tram line (source, here)
Tram L1 is busy. It glides smoothly from its mid-route stop at Damascus Gate, in the shadow of the Old City, west towards Mount Herzl – passing through the European suburbs of West Jerusalem. An armed soldier stands carelessly at the front of the bus, sub-machine gun suspended on his back, disconcertingly casually assertive. Plain clothes security officers, conspicuous in the concealed anti-stab vests, stroll seemingly indifferently between the carriages.
Mount Herzl is the end of the line. Alighting here, the path descends towards a concrete prism-like structure that penetrates the mountain from one side to the other. Entering the structure, with its changing sequence of spaces and shaded and sloping floors, gives the illusion of a descent deep into the mountain. A dramatic sun-filled exit opens to thrilling views of the ever expanding white city of Jerusalem. This is Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum and memorial. Continue reading “James Mercer – Bending the Tram Lines – Vulnerable Seeds of Hope in Israel/Palestine”
Palestinian Christians speak out passionately about the obstacles facing pilgrimage to the Holy Land and discrimination against their community that threatens its very survival.
Read mpre of Stephen Sizer’s blog on this documentary.
When the government tries to silence a history, a light is shed on the nation’s biggest taboo. This is the story of those who fought to erase Palestine and created an Israeli landscape of denial. For more info: naretivproductions.com/
Having grown up in Ariel, Lia Tarachansky speaks about segregation as while situated deep in the West Bank, he settlement is completely isolated from its surroundings and the nearby Palestinian villages. “It was like living on an island suspended from the sky by strings”, she says in an upcoming ground-breaking documentary that looks at Israeli collective identity through the prism of its biggest taboo – what happened in 1948. It was this very history the government attempted to silence when in 2009 a new law proposal suggested a three-year jail term for anyone who looks at the events of that year critically.
Continue reading “On the Side of the Road – Official Trailer”
You may also find HERE the key of this very short and highly symbolic video.
After many years of 2 Bible Colleges operating in the Galilee area, God is leading a group of Godly leaders from these institutions to merge in order to promote unity within the Christian communities who face great challenges due to their status as a small minority swallowed up among two larger majority religions. This future merger will allow the colleges to share faculty, staff and resources and maximize benefits to the students. This step is also a witness for reconciliation and embodies unity for some area churches that have been divided. This unity will be a blessing to many people. While the details are being worked out for an eventual merge, members of the faculties are meeting together in prayer and joint classes are taking place for the BA students within these institutions. A sample of courses being taught is: Christian Ethics, Systematic Theology and the Book of Acts.
(Source, latest newsletter of BBC (Bethlehem Bible College).
Two-State Illusion – NYTimes.com.
The two state solution in Israel/Palestine is already an illusion, entertained only by ignorant or interested manipulators.
Read this article and understand the uncosmetised reality really is.
Dis you really ask yourself how does the territory under the control of the Palestinian Authority REALLY look like. Have a look below, and be ready for a surprise:
Continue reading “Palestine Archipelago”
Watch this if you want to understand the impossible conundrum of the two state solution in Israel/Palestine, which is made impossible by the existence of the Israeli settlements.
Jeff Halper, Coordinating Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions speaks in Ma’alea Adumim about the role of the Israeli Settlements in Judaization process of Occupied Palestinian Territories. He also goes on about the reality on the ground in Israel/Palestine and about the future of the conflict.
UPDATE: This post has attracted a lot of hate reactions. A text signed Walid Shoebat was published on multiple Zionist sites pretending to care about persecuted Christians. They accuse Palestinian Christians involved in the Christ at the Checkpoint and Hope for the Holy Land initiatives of being socialists (these ignorant people, who are using typical neo-conservative brain-washing methods have no idea that socialism was created in the UK by Christians, in support of oppressed workers). They continue their perverse smearing campaign by accusing people involved in these initiatives as being supporters of Hamas.
You may find out HERE more about the Mosad scam called Walid Shoebat.
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Come and hear Lynne Hybels of Willow Creek, Mae Cannon of World Vision, and Sami Awad of Holy Land Trust (Bethlehem, West Bank) share about how the hope of Jesus is transforming the Holy Land!!
Orange County and LA
World Vision Chapel and Pastors Luncheon
Wednesday, May 1st from 11:00am-1:30pm
World Vision International Office
800 W Chestnut Ave, Monrovia 91016
(626) 303-8811 Continue reading “Hope for the Holy Land – The West Coast Tour – UPDATE”
The report attached below, which was published recently on the website of the Church of Scotland, was subsequently removed from the site, most probably at the pressure of the Jewish lobby in Great Britain, and replaced with the following statement:
The Church of Scotland and representatives of the Jewish Community in Scotland and the United Kingdom, held useful discussions facilitated by the Council of Christians and Jews this afternoon (Thursday 8 May). We agreed that the drafting of the report published by the Church and Society Council for discussion at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has given cause for concern and misunderstanding of its position and requires a new introduction to set the context for the report and give clarity about some of the language used. Continue reading “Church of Scotland – The Inheritance of Abraham. A Report on the ‘Promised Land’”
When a Palestinian boy loses half of his home to Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem, he joins his community in a campaign of nonviolent protests. Efforts to put a quick end to the demonstrations are foiled when scores of Israelis choose to stand by the residents’ side.
A Just Vision Film
Directed and Produced by Julia Bacha & Rebekah Wingert-Jabi
Executive Produced by Ronit Avni
Co-Produced by Jessica Devaney, Irene Nasser, Rula Salameh, Vicky Wingert Continue reading “My Neighbourhood – An Eye Opening Documentary”
Rev. Alex Awad, Bethlehem Bible College
The moment we arrived in Mafraq, a city in north Jordan, we began to understand the magnitude of the Syrian tragedy. Pastor Nour Sahawneh came out to meet us and instantly he was surrounded by Syrian refugee women who had recently crossed the border to Jordan and began presenting to him their urgent needs. As we were introducing ourselves to Pastor Sahawneh, other refugees turned to us and they began to share their desperate conditions. The nine of us, staff and students from Bethlehem Bible College, realized that we were at the right place in the right time.
We served among both Muslim and Christian Syrian refugees in Amman and in Mafraq. Although the church in Mafraq is a small congregation, its pastor and leaders are doing a tremendous job in welcoming and caring for fleeing refugees regardless of their religious or political affiliations. The church’s ministry to the refugees is so transparent and honest that in addition to Christian humanitarian NGOs, several secular agencies are also supplying the church with emergency items to distribute. Continue reading “Alex Awad – Standing with Syrian Refugees”
A soccer game may not necessarily lead to peace in the Middle East, but…you have to start somewhere, so why not with soccer? National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah is a cultural educator and a specialist in conflict resolution. His core aim is to create opportunities for dialogue among people that are on opposing sides of a conflict. The hope is that if each side sees the other as human beings, they are less likely to support one another’s destruction. Could a soccer game among mixed teams of Israeli and Palestinian boys help?
Throughout the West Bank, Israeli settlements and Palestinian villages coexist in close proximity. Conflict over resources ensue, and can turn deadly. National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah takes a look at one such conflict, between the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh and Israeli settlement of Halamish. In this report, he embeds with Palestinian protesters as they clash with Israeli soldiers.
For most Israelis, military service is mandatory. National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah meets with some of the young people who form the backbone of the Israel Defense Forces, and rides along as they encounter protesters from the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh.
This is the first in a series of short documentaries of my friend Aziz Abu Sarah, a Palestinian Christian, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
For Israelis and Palestinians trying to lead an ordinary life, the complications of living in a conflict zone can be extraordinary. Aziz Abu Sarah meets with people from both sides to understand how this conflict impacts their daily lives. He is a cultural educator, a native of Jerusalem, and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer who works in international conflict resolution.
For more information about Aziz and his work, please go to http://www.nationalgeographic.com/conflictzone
American President Barak Obama is planning to visit Bethlehem and the Nativity Church as part of his visit to Palestine/Israel. The church of the Nativity, of course, is not the only thing to see in Bethlehem. There are other important things to see. I suggest that as the President enters the town, from Jerusalem I presume, that he takes a look to his right, and he will see the Separation Wall. It is hard to miss. It is that ugly concrete structure that gives you the impression that you are inside a big prison. I am sure the President will notice how the Wall is killing life in Bethlehem, cutting deep into our neighborhoods.
American evangelicals need to realize that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no battle between good and evil. The more Christian view, far from blind loyalty to Israel, is recognizing the Palestinians’ humanity, says Kirsten Powers.
“Blessed are the peacemakers.”
Illegal Israeli settlement, built on stolen Palestinian land, overlooking Bethlehem
I’ve been to Israel a number of times, most often leading tour groups. Each time, leaving Bethlehem I would insist our Israeli driver stop by Bethlehem Bible College so I could visit its president, Bishara Awad. I tried to keep myself abreast of the goings on within Israel and the occupied areas of the West Bank and Gaza, the strip on the Mediterranean. But never had I taken time to actually stay with my Palestinian friends. They would periodically visit Tyndale and students loved to hear their story. But I admit, too frequently Yasir Arafat and his cronies angered me by their seeming endless whining and refusal to admit Israel had legitimacy as a state with the right to defend itself. I assumed the Palestinians had had sufficient opportunity to find a deal with Israel, especially when Arafat turned down the Camp David offer.
So, as my friends know, I have and do support the establishing of the State of Israel. Finding a place for Jews in the 20th Century was the right thing to do. As well, God’s covenant with the Jews stands and their place in the eschaton (the days of Christ’s return) is assured. There is no equivocation in my mind of their critical place in the economy and agenda of the Lord.
This winter I decided I needed to go and live there, only for a few days, to see it through the eyes of my Palestinian brethren. Since this role as global ambassador, I’ve learned nothing can compare with walking in the steps of those you wish to understand. There is no substitute for sitting in their homes, listening to their stories, asking questions of their children, driving their streets, sitting in worship services, praying before and after meals. It was in this recent visit that I faced conflicting messages I could no longer ignore. Continue reading “Brian Stiller – Dispatch from the West Bank. A Confession”
The Impact of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on Ministry to Muslims | The Lausanne Global Conversation.
This is a topic worth considering, but it is often avoided because of the aggressive Zionist that dominates much of evangelicalism.
Amy Goodman interviews Shulamit Aloni, former Israeli education minister, and gets a shockingly honest, full and frank admission from the the former MK that the zionists (as a matter of policy) use the holocaust and the suffering of the Jewish people as emotional blackmail to “justify whatever we do to the Palestinians” (sic) and deliberately use accusations (and the threat of prosecution under race-hate laws therein) of anti-Semitism to silence any opposition to Israel’s racist apartheid, collective punishment of civilians, land theft (directly against current UN resolutions), murders, and the creation of the Gaza Ghetto.
Prominent Episcopalians ask church leaders to enact resolution passed by General Convention
New York, January 18, 2013 – Prominent members of The Episcopal Church have written a letter to the church’s Executive Council to be delivered on the day honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., asking that they implement policies already approved by the church’s General Convention. These policies call for an accounting of Israel’s use of foreign aid from the U.S. government, and require that the church’s financial resources not be used to support the infrastructure of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. The letter calls for “justice” and “truth,” not only seeking a just outcome for the Palestinian people, but asking “why is it that Congress and the White House are unable to see the injustice of the occupation, where Israel is the oppressor, and the Palestinians the oppressed?”
The signers point out that fifteen of The Episcopal Church’s ecumenical partners have already asked the Congress “for accountability of Israel’s use of foreign aid from the U.S. government, including the leadership of the Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, and United Church of Christ.”
The Episcopal Church has a long history of supporting causes of social import, and has been seeking justice for the Palestinian people for more than three decades. The signers of the letter are an ethnically diverse group of women and men that include laity, priests, and bishops. They are some of the church’s most recognized and seasoned advocates for justice. The letter is supported by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and its signers include a former Presiding Bishop and a former President of the House of Deputies, the dean of the National Cathedral, and several other nationally and internationally known Episcopalians.
The full text of the letter and background information can be downloaded at http://epfnational.org/PIN/a-prophetic-challenge-to-the-executive-council/ Continue reading “Episcopalians to church leaders: “Hold Israel accountable””
“We are doing this mass to pray [to] God, because nobody is hearing us. Just God can hear our prayers and He can change the mind of all the people who are putting injustice on the Palestinian people. We are losing our land, Americans are doing nothing for us, Europe is doing nothing for us, just God can help us change the mind of everybody to give us back our own land”.
It may surprise you, but these are not the words of some Islamist fanatic, looking to sweep the Jewish people into the sea and create a medieval Islamic caliphate in Palestine. These are the words of Father Ibrahim Shomali, the Catholic priest of Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, as he celebrates an open-air mass in the beautiful Cremisan valley. His mass takes place every Friday, as a sign of protest against a planned extension of Israel’s separation barrier which will lead to the confiscation of yet more Palestinian Christian land.
In October 2012, the Foreign Secretary William Hague, a politician not known for his activism on behalf of the Palestinians (as his ill-judged statement on Palestine’s application for non-member observer status at the UN demonstrated), formed an improbable alliance with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, to protest against Israeli plans to extend its separation barrier near Bethlehem. The extended barrier will run between Cremisan’s famous wine-making monastery and convent, separating the two establishments and cutting off the monks from the local Christian community in Beit Jala. It will also separate the convent and more than 50 families from land they own. Continue reading “Palestinian Christians: the forgotten faithful”
(Source of picture, HERE)
Two recent articles in Der Spiegel discuss the debated issue of the correct definition of anti-Semitism. The background of this discussion is the fact that Der Spiegel journalist Ronen Bergman was labeled as being anti-Semitic because of his criticism of the attitude of the Israeli government towards Palestinians in the occupied territories..
In fact, as Bergman rightly points out, quite deliberately, and as an insidious means of guilt manipulation, ‘in recent years, Israeli Jews have often confused anti-Israel rhetoric with anti-Semitism. One cannot legitimately criticise the abuses of the Israeli government towards the Palestinians without being accused of being anti-Semitic and becoming the target of hate speech. It happened to me countless times in the last years. So, what is really anti-Semitism?
Here is a fragment from a polemic between Spiegel columnist Jakob Augstein, himself accused of anti-Semitism by the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center because of his criticism to the Israeli government, and Dieter Graumann, leader of the Jewish community in Germany: Continue reading “What Is Anti-Semitism?”