Numerous media and activists have accused the new right-wing government in Israel of stoking hatred and violence against Christians – in reality, Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians are welcomed and the Christian population is growing.
While online videos claimed to show “attacks on Christians” by Israeli police, an eye-witness told Gateway Pundit what really happened.
On Orthodox Easter weekend, “Israeli occupation soldiers” attacked “Palestinian Christians and visiting pilgrims trying to get to the Church of Holy Sepulcher for the Holy Light ceremony”, PLO activist Nour Odeh claimed on Twitter. In Orthodox Christianity, the Holy Fire is a miracle that is said to occur every year at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on Great Saturday, the day before Orthodox Easter.
More scenes from today in Jerusalem. To clear a few things: 1) Churches did NOT ask Israel to limit the number of worshippers. They issued statements condemning them. 2) Attacks by Israeli soldiers on worshippers (Christian & Muslim) during Easter & Ramadan are tragically regular https://t.co/Knkaqvuaoo pic.twitter.com/PHP5ELjqVy
— Nour Odeh #NojusticeNopeace (@nour_odeh) April 15, 2023
In previous years, up to 10,000 worshippers had crowded the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, thought to be the site where Our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and resurrected. After the stampede at Mount Meron 2021, where 45 people died, Israeli security experts have tried to limit the size of such religious gatherings to manageable levels. Therefore, this year, attendance at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was limited to 1800 worshippers inside and 1200 outside.
As Luke Hilton of The Israel Guys explains, the church, which is run by a committee of Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches, refused to accept this guidance. The Greek Orthodox church called the limits “heavy-handed”, as Times of Israel reports. This led to a run on the Church by “Palestinian Christians” without tickets. Israeli police had to try and restrain the crowd, which broke past barriers to try and storm the Holy site.
Elias Zarina, Greek Orthodox co-founder of the Jerusalemite Initiative, which seeks to empower Arabic-speaking Israeli Christians, told Gateway Pundit “this year was much easier than last year,“ because “the Old City and the Christian Quarter were open for Christians. The only issue was inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It was limited to 1800 people. There was agreement between church leaders, the police and the private security officers of the church.”
“There were two or three issues between believers and police officers at the check points, as believers without tickets tried to force their way past the officers at the check points”, Zarina told the Gateway Pundit. The Jerusalemite Initiative helped organize a volunteer security staff to assist the Israeli police on the holiest weekends of the Christian faith. Local volunteers from the Christian quarter worked together with the police to keep order and safety of the public under the Greek-Orthodox church.
At the same time, 100.000 Muslims were allowed to pray on the Temple Mount in honor of Ramadan. Jewish worshippers were not allowed on the Temple Mount, the holiest site of the Jewish faith, for fear of upsetting Muslims, who routinely riot at Ramadan.
Mainstream media, who usually ignore the widespread persecution of Christians in the Muslim world, have now discovered the alleged “attacks on Christians” as another way to undermine the patriotic new government in Israel. In fact, Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population is increasing, as Open Doors reports, while ever more Christians are fleeing Gaza, Judea and Samaria. The Christian population in Gaza has fallen by more than half since Muslim terror group Hamas took over 2007, from 3000 to 1400.
“In the Middle East today, there is one country where Christianity is not only not persecuted, but affectionately granted freedom of expression, freedom of worship and security. It is Israel, the Jewish State. Israel is the only place where Christians in the Middle East are safe,” according to Greek Orthodox priest Father Gabriel Nadaf.
US evangelical Christians like HaYovel, who support Israel in the Biblical homeland of Judea and Samaria, are welcomed with open arms by Jews in Israel. Young people age 18 to 35 can volunteer for the HaYovel Summer Special Ops Trip now, to plant 10,000 new trees across Israel’s heartland. “That means spending early mornings and long days in Israel’s dry, summer climate. We also may serve in other ways such as firefighting or doing night watches on farms and in Jewish communities”, according to ServeIsrael.com.
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