In and around Bethlehem, Christians have gone from being 80 percent of the population when Israel was founded in 1950, to around 12 percent today.
The Rev. Munther Isaac, right, leads a service in Bethlehem.Dusan Vranic / for NBC News By F. Brinley Bruton, Lawahez Jabari
BETHLEHEM, West Bank — Jesus was arguably the matchmaker for the Rev. Munther Isaac and his wife, Rudaina: The two met when Munther, a theology professor, spoke at a Christian conference Rudaina had organized while attending college.
And it is conviction that keeps the Palestinian couple in the town in the occupied West Bank where Christians believe Jesus was born.
“It is my husband’s belief that it is God’s will for us to be in this country,” Rudaina Isaac, 31, an architect, said as her husband conducted Sunday service at the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem.
But faith may not be enough to keep the family rooted in the Holy Land, where Munther heads Christ at the Checkpoint, a biannual event critical of Israeli policies.
“I don’t know how they will take this mission,” Rudaina says, referring to sons Karam and Zaid, her wide smile fading and her voice breaking. “Most of the Christians here only think of emigrating.”
Rudaina believes that American evangelicals who form a vital base of support for hard-line Israeli policies — and helped propel President Donald Trump to power — have made the local Palestinian Christian community’s suffering more acute.
“If we are sisters and brothers in Christ — they should understand,” she says. “They want Jews to control this land, but Christ came for all the nations.”
“Most of the Christians here only think of emigrating,” said Rudaina Isaac, 31, an architect who lives in Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank.Dusan Vranic / for NBC News
Many evangelical so-called Christian Zionists believe that by “redeeming” or reclaiming land, Israeli Jews are bringing the world a step closer to the second coming of Christ. Evangelicals — a mainly socially conservative group who believe in the importance of being “born again” and the centrality of the Bible — make up about a quarter of the U.S. population. Most evangelical leaders reliably support the policies of Israel’s government.
Religious anxiety is intrinsic to Israel and the Palestinian territories, with their tapestry of competing faiths, sects, ethnicities and land claims. But Christian communities in the birthplace of Jesus are shrinking.
In and around Bethlehem, Christians have gone from around 80 percent of the population just after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1950, to around 12 percent today.
Jewish settlements have eaten up Arab land — some of it originally owned by Christians — in areas that Palestinians hope to be a future state.
In Israel itself, Christians have gone from some 21 percent of the Arab population to around 8 percent today. Overall, they now number just 2 percent of the Israeli population.
“This is a quiet ethnic cleansing,” says the Rev. Drew Christiansen, a Roman Catholic priest and a professor of ethics and global human development at Georgetown and former adviser to the U.S. bishops on Middle East policy. “It’s not large-scale massacres or large-scale deportations, but it is bit by bit over many years with a variety of policies which Christians are not necessarily attacked as Christians but they are marked by being Palestinians.”
By ALAN ROSENBAUM
“We are a government agency with a start-up soul,” says Hagai Dror, managing director of HealthCare Israel, one of the three winners of the 2019 InnoDip Award for innovative diplomacy. The award, established by the Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy at the IDC Herzliya, will be presented at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Thursday, November 21 in Jerusalem.
Healthcare Israel was created by Israel’s Ministry of Health in 2016 to deliver life-saving and cost-saving healthcare innovation, technology and expertise to the world, and promotes cooperation and Israeli health system exports through collaborations between government, the health system and the healthcare industry. It has leveraged Israel’s existing diplomatic ecosystem to reach out and create new kinds of international cooperation projects and business deals specifically in the healthcare space.
By YAAKOV KATZ
U.S. Ambassador Friedman to ‘Post’: New policy advances the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace • PM: Policy rights a historical wrong
In a historic reversal of US policy, the Trump administration announced on Monday that it does not view Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal. The policy change was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington.
“After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees with president Reagan,” Pompeo said in reference to Ronald Reagan’s position that settlements were not inherently illegal. “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.”
Leftist students verbally abused and ransacked tables belong to conservative students
Binghamton University’s downtown campus in New York.
A New York State assemblyman has slammed Binghamton University for the way it has handled a group of leftist students who verbally abused and ransacked tables belonging to the campus College Republicans group.
The conservative students were handing out flyers for an upcoming talk by well-known economist Dr. Arthur Laffer when the incident occurred on Thursday.
A view of the Yehudit Bridge and the Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv, Feb. 17, 2019. Photo
CTech – Tel Aviv will officially launch its free weekend transportation service this Friday, the city announced Tuesday. In collaboration with neighboring towns Givatayim, Ramat Hasharon, and Kiryat Ono, Tel Aviv will operate six routes covering over 300 kilometers. Minivans will pick up and drop off passengers at over 500 stops across the metropolitan area at a frequency of once every 30 minutes between 6 pm on Friday and 2 am on Saturday, and between 9 am and 5 pm on Saturday.
Tel Aviv has long awaited a solution for transportation during Shabbat and other Jewish holidays. The principle of the “status quo”—a guideline which dictates maintaining the common practice when it comes to the fundamentals of Jewish Orthodoxy, especially Shabbat observance—effectively prevents the state from offering public transportation services on Shabbat, but since Tel Aviv’s service is free, it does not currently fall under the legal definition of public transportation.
A police car in the German capital of
An elderly man has been viciously beaten up in broad daylight on a Berlin street by a youth who showered him with antisemitic abuse.
According to the BZ online news outlet, the 76-year-old pensioner was walking along the Berliner Strasse in the Pankow district of the German capital at 9 a.m. on Monday when his passage was blocked by a 16-year-old youth and four of his friends.
Oct 25, 2019 0People arrive at a polling station to vote in the federal election in Beauce, Quebec, Canada, Oct. 21, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mathieu Belanger. A top Jewish advocacy group said on Friday it...
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What good is the flourishing of a nation if it is constantly at political, partisan war?
‘WITHOUT PEACE, life becomes unlivable. We’re all unnaturally nervous because there is hardly any downtime.’
When I first arrived to serve as rabbi at Oxford in late 1988, I had no office help. Therefore, in addition to my rabbinical and organizational responsibilities, I had to do all the office work myself. I wrote the checks, copied the fliers, typed the letters and licked the envelopes. In terms of communications, in those days I had to deal only with the telephone and snail mail.
Israel’s control over Judea and Samaria is not “occupation,” at least not according to international law.
The American tourist was staring at me with “deer in the headlights” eyes. She did not comprehend what I had just said to her. I had said that Palestinians are not Israelis.
A minute earlier she had revealed to us – a group of about 15 of her peers, plus me, all gathered in my Efrat living room – the root cause of Palestinian terrorism. It was due, she announced, to Israel “treating Palestinians like second-class citizens and denying them the right to come to Jerusalem.” By this she was inferring that Palestinians are citizens of the State of Israel who are discriminated against and denied numerous right
Mass emigration of Israel’s most tech-savvy individuals starves start-ups of talented hires and puts a ceiling on their growth.
A ROBOT tries to make a heart. Who is behind those online profiles?
The Start-Up Nation is suffering from a brain drain that threatens its growth.
For every Israeli citizen with a university degree who returned from abroad in 2017, a corresponding 4.5 Israelis with degrees left the country that same year, a newly released report by the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research found. The trend has been under way for years and shows no signs of slowing down.
Supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah ride in a vehicle decorated with Hezbollah and Lebanese flags and a picture of him, as part of a convoy in the southern village of Kfar Kila, Lebanon October 25, 2019
Could uprisings in Iraq and Lebanon, coupled with US sanctions, permanently impair Iran’s influence in the region?
In the past few weeks, frustrated and fed-up demonstrators have taken to the streets of Lebanon and Iraq to voice grievances against their governments. The perception of Iranian infiltration and influence certainly continues to impact this political shake-up in both regions.
Hamas is aware of the deep crisis but still sticks to its guns, literally, by insisting on holding and upgrading its arsenal instead of helping its own people
The recent clash in the Gaza Strip was not like earlier ones there because it was only between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and Hamas was not really involved. This could be a model for the future in which Israel might strike the PIJ while Hamas again stays out of the fight.