Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS on January 03, 2018
It is rare for a Jewish celebration to be disrupted in Israel, but then again, a candle-lighting ceremony last month at Jerusalem’s First Station compound was far from typical: The event was sponsored by Yaakov Hatzadik, a small Catholic community of Hebrew speakers based in the downtown area of the capital, and marked both the Chanukah and Christmas holidays.
While many people viewed the lighting as a significant victory for interfaith relations in the Holy City, others took a contrary view: The ceremony was disrupted members of Lahava, a far-right wing group that began by discouraging romantic relations between Jews and Christians and now seeks to marginalize non-Jews in many aspects of Israeli society under the guise of opposing “assimilation.”
“Our dialogue is not always seen positively by the Jewish society,” said one member of Kehilat Zion who would only agree to have her first name, Ilana, published. “But I haven’t missed a meeting for the last two years. We host the [Christian] community for the Jewish holidays; they came to our houses for Passover and the Jewish New Year. We go to their church for Christmas and the New Years Eve.”
The candle-lighting ceremony highlights the challenges faced by the Hebrew-speaking Christian community. The community of about 1000 people was born at the tail end of the 1950s, when interfaith couples arrived in Israel, as did Christians who moved to Israel, integrated into the secular life of Israel and spoke Hebrew, all the while retaining their Catholicism.
Father Rafic Nahra, the newly-appointed Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel, told Tazpit Press Service that he wasn’t surprised by the Lahava disruption.
“As a Christian who was born in the Middle East, when I first arrived in Israel I didn’t know what anti-Judaism was,” says “I didn’t know about the negative relations between Jews and Christians rooted in Europe, but I was impressed by the political tension between Jews and Christians in Israel, and I wanted to do something about it.”
Speaking to Tazpit Press Service (TPS) on Thursday , a day before terrorists killed 11 people in a church in Cairo, Father Nahra says he is not surprised about the ongoing difficulties of the Christian communities in the Middle East. After nearly 15 years in Jerusalem, he has long witnessed the tensions of the region and the politics that make creating real interfaith dialogue between the three monotheistic religions difficult.
“I know the Middle East and the Arab world very well. I am part of it, there are no surprises,” he says.
Still, the meeting point between Christianity, Judaism and the Hebrew language forms a central theme of Nahra’s ministry. After being born in Ismailia, Egypt in 1959 , Nahra grew up in Lebanon, studied in seminaries in France and Italy before relocating to Jerusalem in 2003. His community counts not more than 1000 faithful spread over six cities, many of whom face unique challenges as Christians trying to fit into a Jewish majority culture. Although most members of the community are fully integrated into Israeli society, there is a lot of ignorance about Christians in Israel.
Read more at https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/100555/hebrew-speaking-catholics-navigate-challenges-foster-interfaith-dialogue/#sC5AaRuLGIvCCKUx.99
Members of Students for Justice in Palestine speak at the “Palestine Without Borders” session at the 2018 United We Dream National Congress. Photo: Youth Empowerment Alliance.
A pro-Israel group on Thursday denounced an “antisemitic” session recently hosted by an immigrant youth organization, which compared Israel with Nazi Germany and equated the movement for Jewish self-determination with white supremacy and genocide.
69% of progressives are ashamed to be Americans, but 63% are proud of their political ideology instead. The majority don’t attend religious services, but 73% list politics as their preoccupation.
Numbers from one poll showed that, “religiously unaffiliated Democrats were more than twice as likely to have attended a rally within the past 12 months compared with their religious peers” and were “significantly more likely to have contacted an elected official or to have donated to a candidate or cause” or “bought or boycotted a product for political reasons or posted political opinions online”.
Campus Week: A guide for Jewish students and their elders
Anti-Zionism ghettoizes Jews from the rest of the justice movement, putting a wall around us that separates us from other marginalized people. It cannot be reconciled with any movement striving for inclusivity. It denies us access to solidarity-based movements which should be fighting for equality, for historically oppressed peoples. As American Jewish students return to campus, they should prepare to be challenged academically and intellectually, and should also prepare to challenge movements that don’t respect Zionism and their Jewish heritage.
The Jerusalem Post reviewed a video showing two speakers who called for the “liberation of all of Palestine 48” and “we must take a stand and boycott Israel. BDS.” The slogan to “liberate all of Palestine” reverts to the founding of the Jewish state in 1948 and is widely considered a euphemism to cleanse Israel of Jews.
The German Middle East expert Thomas von der Osten-Sacken wrote an article on the website of the Austrian-based think tank Mena-Watch, with the headline “Speaker at indivisible demonstration calls for Israel’s destruction.” The protest was called #unteilbar (indivisible) by its organizers.
From 1998 to 2008, 5.4 million Congolese died as a result of civil war. Most of the Congolese asylum seekers in Israel came during this period.
It is now the turn of hundreds of asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to be deported back to their country. The Foreign Ministry has implied that the conditions that justified collective protection to Congolese asylum seekers no longer prevail and that there is nothing to prevent them from returning home safely. The Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) has given them 90 days to leave the country.
With its decades-old track record of murder and mayhem, Hamas has already secured itself a place in the annals of infamy.
From bus bombings to underground terror tunnels to the indiscriminate firing of thousands of rockets and projectiles at Israeli towns and cities, the Islamic extremist group has repeatedly found new ways to sow widespread death and destruction.
Since Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza in 2005, the standard of living for the Palestinian people in Gaza has steadily declined, even though Israel gifted the Palestinians with thriving agricultural lands, productive greenhouses and beautiful beachfront communities.
Every once in a while, I come across a book that I can say changed the way I understand the world I live in. Raymond Ibrahim’s new book, Sword and Scimitar, altered the way I understand the development of our civilization – I mean the one that America inherited from Europe and made our own. It drove home to me how little I knew about the way Islam – in the form of attempted and often successful conquest – really changed the way our civilization evolved and the way it grew to understand itself.
American Thinker: “How War with Islam Shaped and Defined Us”
“In the Hadith, the Day of Judgment will never happen until you fight the Jews,” Hatem Bazian reportedly declared, “until the trees and stones will say, oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him!”
That was in 1999.
Two years later, Bazian had co-founded Students for Justice in Palestine. Three years later, 79 members of his new SJP hate group were busted for disrupting a Holocaust Remembrance Day event.
Iran is a formidable enemy. A large country of more than 80 million people, endowed with energy riches, it has always been a regional power. Having an imperial past and revolutionary zeal (since the 1979 Iranian Revolution), Iran nourishes ambitions to rule over the Middle East and beyond. Furthermore, theologically there is no place in Iranian thinking for a Jewish state.