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Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem

CHAPTER FOURTEEN Part 2 of 3

The newspaper Hatsofe supported the appeal by the Grand Rabbinate with an inflammatory racist editorial. It stated: "This action must be carried out with all possible vigor until the impurity is destroyed by fire from the face of the earth."(24)

Large placards were displayed in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities stating: "Do you know that about 2,000 children receive Christian education in Israel? Do you know that 400 preachers and Christian educators sent by 48 Christian missionary institutions were recruited for this purpose and exploit the hard economic conditions of the new immigrants? Like in the days of the Maccabees who cleaned the camp of Israel from foreign influence, we must give today a Jewish education to every Jewish child."

Mr. Amos Eylon published an article in Ha'aretz on March 14, 1954 in which he stated: "Government employees as well as those working in municipalities who send their children to Christian schools were obliged under threat of being fired to transfer their chiidren to Jewish schools."

A special section was established in the Ministry of Religious Affairs forthe object of fighting Christianmissions. This section is sending spies into churches, monasteries, and Christian schools to detect who visit these Christian establishments and to take the names of all those who associate with Christians, or send their children to Christian schools.25

3. PERSECUTION OF MIXED CHRISTIAN-JEWISH FAMILIES

The Jewish Daily Forward of New York published several articles about the persecution of families of mixed Christian- Jewish marriages in Israel. Refemng to immigrants of mixed marriages the publication stated:

Added to many disappointments with the economic conditions, unemployment and housing, the new immigrants encountered a horror they never expected and which shocked them more than anything else. Their children, for whose sake they left Poland, encountered the same, and in many respects, worse discrimination in Israel than in Poland. According to an Orthodox religious law, children of non-Jewish mothers are considered non-Jews, unless they are circumcised and converted to Judaism. Those who do not conform are baited, insulted, discriminated against, and excluded from society with arigidity no longer found in any country in Europe, Not only the children of mixed marriages but also the Christian mothers are insulted, ostracized and isolated because, according to the rabbis, they "break up the unity of the Jewish people and endanger the purity of the Jewish families."(26 )

4. PREVENTING THE MENTION OF JESUS OR CHRISTIANITY

Israeli Authorities censor all films and plays to prevent mentioning the name of Jesus Christ. Zionist fanaticism was exposed before world public opinion when the Evangelist Dr. Billy Graham visited Israel in March 1960. Although the Evangelist was officially "welcomed," he was prohibited from preaching in Israel. The Israel Authorities ordered managers of public halls in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa not to rent them for a Billy Graham rally. Jewish authorities explained to the United Christian Council of Israel, which sponsored Dr. Graham's visit, "that mention of Jesus Christ or Christianity in important cities results in violent demonstrations."

5. PERSECUTION OF JEWS FOR ASSOCIATION WITH CHRISTIANS

Hatsofe newspaper, organ of the National-Religious Party published in its issue of April 10, 1961, that the Rabbinical Court of Tel Aviv decided to deprive a mother of the custody of her four year old son because her husband proved that the wife associated with a Biblical Center with Christian inspirattion.(27)

6. BEATING CHRISTIAN WOMEN AND REMOVAL OF CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS OBJECTS FROM THEIR HOMES

The Jewish Newsletter of December 2, 1957 published the following:

An alarming incident occurred in Israel more shocking than anything that has come from that country since Kfar Kasim. The incident occurred in the village of Dimona in the Negev where a group of Jewish women organized a "secret society'' for the purpose of preventing the Christian wives of recently arrived Jewish immigrants from Poland from displaying cmsses and holy Christian images in their homes and otherwise adhering to their religious practices. While their husbands were at work, the homes of these immigrants were broken into by members of this society, and some of the Christian wives were severely beaten and warned that the attacks would be repeated unless they removed the Christian religious objects from Jewish homes.(28)

The late William Zukerman denounced persecution of Christians by Jews in the Jewish Newsletter of December 15, 1958:

And it so happened that throughout 1957 one of the most intensive and shocking campaigns was carried on in Israel to convert the non-Jewish wives and children to Judaism, a campaign which has already done irreparable harm to Israel's hopes for future immigration from East European countries, and still greater harm to Jews the world over by demonstrating that Jewish anti-Goyim endowed with power and led and sanctified by militant Orthodoxy, can be in every way as vile and vicious an outburst of fanaticism as anti-Semitism has been anywhere in the modem world except in Nazi Germany. The non-Jewish wives of the Polish immigrants were not only not accepted in Israeli society, but they were discriminated against, isolated, insulted and persecuted because they were "Shikses," In many cases they were physically assaulted, their homes were broken into and the images and symbols of their religion removed. The lot of their children was made even more unbearable. They, too, were snubbed at school, jeered at, beaten, called goyim and uncircumcised and treated no differently than in the anti-Semitic schools in Poland, the only difference being that in Poland they were tortured because their fathers were Jewish in Israel because their mothers were non-Jewish. There was a notorious case of a child of five who died of polio and was refised burial by the rabbinate because he was the son of a non-Jewish woman.(29)

The Jewish Newsletter of July 28, 1958 reported the following:

A letter was wrinen by a Christian mother of mixed marriage addressed to the religious deputies in the Knesset, The woman said: "I beg of you, my dear sirs, to answer whether there is a place under the sun for my child. Please tell me where there is a spot in the world for children who have suffered in Diaspora lands as Jews because their father is a Jew, and are being discriminated against in Israel because their mother is a non-Jewess? Why don't you recognize them as Jews, just because their mother is not a religious woman and does not want to be affiliated with any religious body?" The reply of the religious leaders was as follows: "We have come here to live our own life without interference from other people. We understand very well the anguish of Mrs. Hamish as a mother who is afraid for the fate of her child. But she too has to understand us and to understand means not to stand in our way, not to create new complications. No one will force Mrs. Harnish to convert her son to Judaism, but she wants her son to be treated on equal terms with Jews she must make it possible for him to become a real Jew and a son of the Jewish people."(30)

Reverend Philip Wagner, a Catholic priest, who studied the situation of the Catholic Church in Israel, wrote an article in the Catholic Magazine Ava Maria of October 8, 1960 in which he stated:

The Israeli government must do more than proclaim official principles about religious freedom. It must make them effective in the daily lives of those Catholics who suffer severe discrimination in the Israeli homeland. Reverend Wagner described the pitiful condition of the children of mixed marriages, he stated: "The Christian children of mixed marriages are subject to insults, indignities, and ostracism in the Jewish communities to which their parents have brought them to live."(31)

OBLITERATION OF CHRISTIAN SHRINES

In addition to discriminating against Christians, the Zionists relentlessly tried to obliterate Christian shrines throughout occupied Palestine, including the holy places around the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River, as well as in Nazareth.

Lake Tiberias: Lake Tiberias or the Sea of Galilee is truly called the Lake of Jesus because He has sanctified it with His miracles, with His frequent navigations from one shore to the other, by His excursions along its shores where He distributed to the multitudes gathered there from all surrounding countries His divine teaching.

Zionists changed the name of the lake and are changing all its characteristics. They dried the Hula Lake from the North and diverted the water of the Sea of Galilee from the South. With excavations and water works, Jews are doing everything possible to change the serene character of the lake. Zionists engineered a project for digging a canal from the Mediterranean Sea to the lake which will completely alter its holy aspect.

The Jordan River: In memory of the baptism of Jesus, Christians from the earliest ages went in a spirit of piety to bathe in the waters of the Jordan.

This sacred shrine of Christendom has been mutilated in the north, its water diverted and will soon dry up because Israel steals its water and diverts it to the Negev.

Nazareth: Nazareth, the city of Mary and Jesus, is called by Christians the beautiful flower of Galilee. It is an important center of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches, monasteries, institutions, and schools. In 1948, Nazareth had 25,000 inhabitants of whom 14,000 were Christians and 11,000 Muslims. No Jew lived in Nazareth. Since 1952, Jews planned the Judaization of Nazareth with the object of squeezing out its Christian and Muslim inhabitants. Jews seized all lands surrounding the city, confiscated them from Christian and Muslim owners, and built housing projects, settlements and industries employing Jews only. The present population of Nazareth and its suburbs is more than 10,000 Jews and less than 7,000 Christians. The so-called Ministry of Defense is in charge of Judaizing Nazareth. It is altering all its ancient roads and obliterating its historical buildings. Jewish prostitutes have infested the area and the Christian sanctity of Nazareth is being violated.

CHRISTIANITY AND THE STATE OF ISRAEL

The aforementioned crimes committed by the Zionists reflected the deep-felt hatred of everything Christian embedded in the Zionist ideology. Testimony shows that this hatred went so deep that the Zionist authorities removed the international "+" sign fiom mathematics textbooks because of the resemblance of the plus sign to the Christian Cross.

Such an insanity can only be called pathological, and Palestinian Christians cannot understand Christians in other lands who support Zionism despite this insane hatred of the Christian faith. American Jewish organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai Brith, raise a tremendous clamor whenever there is a desecration of Jewish synagogues or a perceived slur against Judaism. But their deafening silence at similar Zionist crimes against Christianity in Israel sorrowfully indicates that the ADL is more self-righteous than righteous and more hypocritical than principled. Even more shameful is the attitude of the Christian televangalists who mislead their followers into supporting the persecution of their fellow Christians.

Prominent Israeli human rights advocate, Israel Shahak, has written about the deep-rooted Zionist hatred of Christianity and the manifestations of that hatred in Israel:

Dishonouring Christian religious symbols is an old religious duty in Judaism. Spitting on the cross, and especially on the Cmcifix, and spitting when a Jew passes a church, have been obligatory from around AD 200 for pious Jews. In the past, when the danger of anti-Semitic hostility was a real one, the pious Jews were commanded by their rabbis either to spit so that the reason for doing so would be unknown, or to spit onto their chests, not actually on the cross or openly before the church. The increasing strength of the Jewish state has caused these customs to become more open again but there should be no mistake: The spitting on the cross for conserts from Christianiv to Judaism, organized in Kibbutz Sa'ad and financed by the Israeli govemment is an act of traditional Jewish piety. It does not cease to be barbaric, horrifying and wicked because of this! On the contrary, it is worse because it is so traditional, and much more dangerous as well, just as the renewed anti-Semitism of the Nazis was dangerous, because in part, it played on the traditional anti-Semitic past

This barbarous attitude of contempt and hate for Christian symbols has grown in Israel. In the 1950s Israel issued a series of stamps representing pictures of Israeli cities. In the picture of Nazareth, there was a church and on its top a cross - almost invisible, perhaps the size of a millimeter. Nevertheless, the religious parties, supported by many on the Zionist "left" made a scandal and the stamps were quickly withdrawn and replaced by an almost identical series from which the microscopic cross was withdrawn.

Then there was the long-drawn-out battle about Christian influence in elementary arithmetic. Pious Jews object to the international plus sign for it is a cross, and it may in their opinion, influence litue children to convert to Christianity. Another "explanation" holds: it would then be difficult to "educate" them to spit on the cross, if they become used to it in their arithmetic exercises. Until the early 1970s two different sets of arithmetic books were used in Israel. One for the secular schools, employing an inverted "T" sign. In the early '70's the ~ligious fanatics bbconverted" the Labour Party to the great danger of the cross in m me tic, and from that time, in all Hebrew elementary schools (and now many high schools as well) the intemationd plus sign has been forbidden.

Similar development is visible in other areas of education. Teaching the New Testament was always forbidden, but in the old times conscientious teachers of history used to circumvent the prohibition, by organising seminars or sending the students to libraries (not the school libraries, of course}. About 10 years ago there was a wave of denouncing such teachers. One in Jemsalem was almost sacked, for advising her history pupils, who were studying the history of Jews in Palestine around 30-40 AD, that it would be a good thing if they would read a few chapters of the New Testament as a historical aid. She retained her post only after humbly promising not to do this again.

However, in recent years, anti-Christian feelings are literally exploding in Israel (and among the Israel-worshipping Jews in Diaspora too) together with the increase of the Jewish fanaticism in all other areas.

The worst enemies of the truth here, as in many other aspects of the Israel reality, are the socialists, "liberals," "radicals," etc. in the USA. Imagine the reaction of the US Liberals, and of such papers as The Nation and New York Setjiew of Books, not to spe& of theNew York Times if in any state whatsoever, the government financed spitting on a Star of David? But when here in Israel, the government finances the spitting on a cross, they are and will continue to be, quite silent. More than this, they help to finance it. United States taxpayers, who are of course mostly Christians, are financing at least half the Israeli budget, one way or another, and therefore the spitting on the cross too.(32)

BITTERNESS IN BETHLEHEM

The Zionist hatred of Chistianity, despite the criminal complicity of certain American fundamentalist leaders in supporting and subsidizing the Zionist persecution of Christians, extends to the birthplace of Christ, Bethlehem, and the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. On this ground so sacred to all Christians the Israelis have placed soldiers with machine guns. The shops serving the Christian pilgrims are harassed. Canadian Magazine, Maclean's, reports from the Holy Land on January 20, 1985:(33)

In almost 20 years of Israeli military rule, relations between the local people and the occupation authorities have never been worse - nor has business been poorer. The souvenir shops lining the square, with their olive-wood and mother-of-pearl religious trinkets, were almost deserted.

On the roof of the police station overlooking Holy Manger Square, authorities had erected a tent to provide shelter for troops who would spend Christmas Eve on watch. Many more soldiers were deployed in the vicinity. But another Canadian visitor, Harold Dick from Winnipeg, complained, "The Christian Arabs want to celebrate Christmas without soldiers and without all this security apparatus." And in the narrow streets away from the town center, that view was echoed. Said Beni Nasser, a Christian Arab doctor: "This celebration is not for us, the local Christian people. It is for the foreigners, the Israelis and the invited guests. We cannot even get into the church for midnight mass on Christmas Eve, And very few of us go to Manger Square beforehand. It's surrounded by Israeli soldiers whose presence simply reminds us of the occupation." Added a friend of the doctor: "What you don't see is our humiliation."

The mood was equally gloomy in the narrow streets of old Jerusalem. There, the recent murder of a young Jewish religious student by three Arabs led to rioting by angry Israelis. The Arab merchants, shopkeepers and hotel owners who rely heavily on the Christmas trade said that customers were now afraid to enter the old city. Said shopkeeper Mazin Shaika: "This is not just quiet. This is dead." On the nearby Via Dolorosa, the path believed to have been followed by Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion, antique dealer George Awaideh complained: "It is hard for us Palestinians. Politically it is bad and now it is economically bad."

CHRISTIAN PILGRIMS AND TOUR GUIDES IN THE HOLY LAND

The Israeli authorities daily infringe upon the religious rights of Christians through their interference with the tourist guides in the Holy Land.

In 1978, the Israeli govemment required all tour groups to be accompanied by a guide licensed by the Tourism Ministry. Since 1967, the Ministry has granted guide licenses only to Jewish Israelis. The effect of this regulation is that the movement and experiences of Christian pilgrims are closely controlled and regulated by Jewish Israeli guides.

Christian clergy who have participated in these tours report that the guides use the occasion for propagandising and disseminating politically motivated information. The pilgrims, many of whom have saved money their whole lives to visit the Holy Land, have had their religious sensibilities offended by the subordination of Christian history to Jewish history (i.e. Bethlehem is the "City of David," not the birthplace of Christ). The Jewish guides help ensure that the pilgrims remain unaware of the native Christian community and actively discourage fellowship between the native and foreign Christians: the tour groups stay in Jewish West Jerusalem and are told to stay away from East Jerusalem because the Christian Palestinians there are "terrorists".

When pilgrim groups come who are in touch with their denominations in Jerusalem they attempt to foster fellowship with the local Christians and use their own clergy there as guides rather than the expensive Ministry-licensed guides. As a result, the guide-priests are harassed and intimidated by the Israeli police because they lack a license. Pilgrim groups are also denied tour buses by the Israeli car rental firms. The Christian Pilgrimage Commission in the Holy Land complained of these practices to the Israeli government in a two page memorandum dated March 13, 1984. The Memorandum charges that the Ministry is violating the freedom of pilgrimage which Christians have enjoyed for 2000 years.

Another motivation for denying guide licenses to Christian Palestinians is to deny them their livelihood. This is clearly part of the intentional destabilisation of the Palestinian economy ... for guiding pilgrims is, and has been, a traditional occupation among the native Christians in the Holy Land for centuries.(34)

PHYSICAL THREAT TO CHRISTIAN HOLY PLACES

Physical threat to the Holy Shrines of Christianity is a constant reality in the occupied territories. Jewish fanatics, such as the Gush Emunim movement, in collusion with the Zionist authorities, wage a campaign of threats to violence, often culminating in violence, towards Christian holy places. Al Fajr, a Jerusalem weekly, of April 30-May 6, 1982, reported on page six: "Two to three hundred Muslims and Christian high school students demonstrated in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, May 3, to protest recent threats to Holy Places in the West Bank. Two days earlier a letter was received from the Gush Emunim, threatening to bomb the church."(35)

That the threats presented by the Gush Emunim fanatics are real, and backed by the highest Zionist political and military authorities, is shown in the following excerpt from an article by Amnon Rubenstein in Al Fajr of May 21-27, 1982.

Abraham Zemel (Avidan) who was, in the past, the Chief Rabbi of the Central (Army) Command ... in anotorious article established it is a Jewish Religious Law that there is a justification for murder of non-Jewish civilians, including women and children, during a war: "About this they said: 'Kill even the best among the Gentiles (Goyim) and a Gentile should never be trusted that he may not bring harm to our own forces. '"36

To men like Rabbi Abraham Zemel the existence of any non-Jew on Zionist controlled land is potentially a casus bellum. Just as the Nazis considered the lives of the people under their racist occupation to be as nothing, and the deaths of those innocent people to be justified by their insane ideology, so the Zionists are following the same path.

ALL CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS ATTACKED

Following is a chronology illustrating Zionist terrorism and harassment of Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians:

December 23, 1982:
The Israeli news agency ITIM said that unknown persons tried to set fires and drew swastikas on the entrances of two churches in Ein Karem neighbourhood of West Jerusalem. Israeli police discovered burnt paper pushed through one of the small windows in the Greek Church there. The swastikas were drawn on the entrance of the Notre Dame Church in Ein Karem and the word "OUT" was painted on the entrance. The Israeli news agency said that a week before similar things were painted in French at the entrance of the church.(37)

May 22, 1983:

Jerusalem. Unidentified vandals paid a visit to a convent run by German nuns in Jerusalem. Police said the vandals attacked and heavily damaged a statue set up in the courtyard of the convent. This is the latest in a series of anti-Christian incidents in Jerusalem.(38)

June 16, 1983:
Jerusalem. The Russian Orthodox nuns in Ain Karem, site of the birthplace of John the Baptist, are being subjected to further harassment, only weeks after the fatal stabbing of their Mother Superior and another nun.

The nuns complained to the police that two men entered the church earlier this week, and proceeded to pester and frighten them'.

Elsewhere, unidentified vandals daubed the swastika in the main entrance to the Russian Orthodox church in West Jerusalem, directly in front of the Moscobiyya detention centre, Jerusalem's main police centre.(39)

November 4, 1983:
The Israeli authorities have been holding a Roman Catholic priest without charge since November 4, it was learned this week. The priest, Father Fawzi Khoury, 36, from the Fassouta Roman Catholic Church, was arrested at Lydda airport while on his way to Paris to continue his advanced theological studies. Bishop of Haifa and the Galilee Maxim Salloom sent protest telegrams, November 21, to the Israeli Prime Minister and the interior and defence ministers. Bishop Salloom pointed out that Khoury's health has deteriorated in prison and that he has been held for more than 18 days without charge.

Allttihad wrote, November 23, that released prisoners say Father Khoury's health is poor "as a result of the psychological pressure that is being exercised against him by Israeli interrogators."(40)

December 27, 1983:
Tiberias. Police are holding two residents on suspicion of setting fire to the Hotel Nitzan on Sunday night.

One man was arrested late Sunday night and the other was arrested yesterday morning.

Although neither is ultra-Orthodox, police are checking whether they might have been acting on behalf of ultra-Orthodox elements angry over alleged missionary activities at the hotel.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews yesterday said missionary activity is on the increase. Various Christian sects are offering money, clothes, jewelry and tennis shoes to Jews who will listen to missionary lectures, they charged.

The Christmas burning of the hotel is the latest in a series of actions harassing the group, a member told the Jerusalem Post yesterday.

Kenneth Crowell said in a telephone interview that until now the members of his group had not gone to the press because they did not want to cause bad publicity for Israel. "But now it's getting out of hand," he said.

The hotel had been criticized by Jewish anti-missionary groups who claimed it is the focus of missionary activity. As a result, the owners closed the hotel and asked the group to leave.

Another group member, Reuben Berger, said the harassment included breaking into prayer meetings and photographing those present. One photograph of the children of the community was published in a leaflet which said that the group was taking children off the streets, he said.

Berger, who said he is a Jew from the U.S. who believes in Jesus, described the 50-member group as an unaffiliated gathering of Jews from Israel and abroad together with gentiles who love Israel. All share a belief in Jesus as the messiah and hold their meetings in Hebrew with a translation in English.

The impetus for the action against the group had come from Yad Le'Achim, the anti-missionary group, and from a local yeshiva, Kolel Yad Rambam, he said. Berger denied that the group engaged in any missionary activity and said that on one occasion, members had even asked outsiders who were distributing a tract to stop.

In their attacks on the group, its opponents had smashed windows, inone case hitting a woman in the head with a stone, and broken into homes of members. One Jewish family from the U.S. had left the country under the pressure, he said, although their son, an officer in the IDF, had remained.

According to the latest information, Berger said, members of the Tiberias underworld are being offered money to attack the group.(41)

January 5, 1984:
Unidentified individuals arsoned a church in West Jerusalem, January 5, in another in a series of bombings and arsons against Christian and Muslim targets.

Elias Sharikas, an elder in the Messianic Assemblies Church, said that they had heard a rumor the day before that the church might be burned but could take no protective action. The fire destroyed the church's piano and a number of books.

According to church officials, the burning is a result of an I "anti-missionary mood" now prevalent in Israeli circles. Church sources said that a recent visitor placed the address of the church on copies of Biblical literature later distributed in I I Orthodox Jewish circles. The 120-member church said it had nothing to do with the material. More than a year ago, the i Baptist church in West Jerusalem was completely burned by I Meir Kahane's Kach group. More recently, explosives have been placed outside Christian and Muslim religious institutions, in the last month, injuring several people. Plans to build a Christian hotel in the mammoth Gilo settlement, near Bethlehem, were scrapped last week by the Jewish municipality, which refused to issue a building permit. A number of newly converted Christian families in Tiberias have reported harassment by Jewish neighbors.(42)

January 15, 1984:
A Russian Orthodox nun "miraculously" escaped injury, January 15, when a booby-trapped Israeli army-issue hand grenade exploded as she opened the door of her flat at the Ain Karem convent. The explosion, which resembles nearly a dozen other attacks against Christian and Muslim religious institutions, was attributed by the Israeli police to the Israeli "Terror Against Terror" group (TNT).

The bomb went off at 9.00 a.m. The nun said she heard a sound like a stone dropping as she opened her door, followed by a hissing. She immediately ran around a corner before the grenade exploded. The force of the explosion blew the door to pieces.

The grenade, the same type issued by the Israeli army, was apparently booby-trapped in the same way as bombs in TNT attacks -the safety pin was removed and the handle fastened under a stone. An Israeli officer later told reporters that the nun had "miraculously escaped injury."

West Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek attacked Israeli officials saying "not everybody is taking this matter seriously."

Last spring, two Russian Orthodox nuns were stabbed to death by an American. The man is said to be undergoing psychiatric tests in Israeli custody.

Israeli police sources say they suspect the as yet unfound Israeli TNT terrorist group, but no responsibility has been claimed. The group has been held responsible for at least 14 bomb attacks in various parts of the West Bank, including the bombing of Christian and Muslim institutions in Jerusalem, Azariya and Hebron. One nun and three mosque imams have been injured in TNT attacks.(43)

April 13, 1985:
Four Assyrian youths were injured April 13 in an attack on an Easter procession by an Orthodox Jewish family living near the Assyrian Convent.

On the occasion of Holy Fire, April 13, members of the Assyrian community led by the archbishop were proceeding to their quarter of the Old City. Members of a Jewish family living in a nearby apartment bombarded the procession with hot water and rocks from an apartment window. In an attempt to thwart the attackers, several Assyrian youths stormed the building looking for the family's apartment. According to some of the injured youths, Jewish residents of the building confronted them with submachine guns poised to fire. A policemen walking with the procession fired several shots in the air in an attempt to prevent possible shooting of the Assyrian youths.

The archbishop of the Assyrian Church - the oldest Christian community in the Holy Land - warned the Israeli government and Jerusalem municipality on April 15 to take immediate action against the fundamentalist Jewish tenants or he and members of his congregation would remove them by force, if necessary. Archbishop Dionisious Behnan Jijawi said Jewish tenants of the same building were involved in four previous attacks on the Assyrian community, all four occurring during Christian holidays. The archbishop said he complained to the police about the previous attacks but no action was taken.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the attackers are newly converted Orthodox Jews of American origin. Police, who refuse to identify the attackers or even to state if the attack was perpetrated by a lone individual or a group, told Archbishop Jijawi that the tenant is "crazy". Jijawi was not satisfied with that explanation and resolved to take action. "If he (or the family) is crazy, then he should be moved to an asylum," he told At Fajr.

The police summoned to the scene demanded the names of the Assyrian youths who broke in and ransacked the fortified Jewish residence, said the archbishop, instead of attempting to punish the tenants for the attack. The archbishop refused to give names, however, and asserted that the youths had acted in self defense.

Youths from the Assyrian community told At Fajr that Jewish fanatics who live in the nearby Jewish quarter have tried to provoke them regularly. They said the Assyrian scout troop stopped practising on Fridays and Saturdays out of respect for the Jewish sabbath but this was apparently not enough to satisfy them. The Jewish neighborhood in the vicinity of the Assyrian convent is all Assyrian property confiscated after 1967 to build the Jewish quarter.

Archbishop Jijawi said he has received a verbal apology from Israeli officials for the incident, the fifth in recent history. Yet no action has been taken against those responsible. Assyrian youths said some of the fanatic Jews living nearby threatened that if the youths bother Jewish residents of the neighborhood, the Jews will kill the Assyrian archbishop and destroy the church.(44)

April 12, 1987:
Unidentified arsonists, believed to be Jewish extremists, set St. Savior's Episcopal Church in Akka on fire, April 12. The arsonists also painted racist slogans on the church walls.

According to a statement issued April 14 by Bishop Samir Kafity of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem, the vandals entered the church building through a small window in the vestry, gathered the benches and furniture into one place, poured petrol on them, and set them on fire. The arsonists also wrote racist slogans in Hebrew on the church's interior walls behind the altar. Some of the slogans read "Kahane the Great," "Get Out Christians and Muslims," and "Death to the Pope."

Reverend Shehadeh, who visited the church afterwards, said burned remnants of the Bible and other church books were scattered on the church floor.

The church statement described the arson as "an act of aggression."

"No doubt, this event, tragic and painful for all of us, took place in the absence of a deterring force to stop such racial and undesirable acts," the statement said. "This aggression is an aggression against spiritual values, against freedom of worship, against democracy."

Akka municipal council member, Ramzi Khoury, from the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, described the incident as "a criminal act which touches on the feeling of Arabs of all religions in the city." Khoury sent letters to Akka Mayor Elie de Castro, and to the police commander in Akka, demanding a speedy investigation of the incident and apprehension of the perpetrators.

Khoury also said that the incident was similar to two other racist incidents, the first in August, 1986, when a grenade was thrown at an Arab family house; and the second in October 1986, when an Arab school was broken into and racist slogans painted on a wall. Khoury said the pattern of incidents suggests that there is a racist gang operating in the city.(45)

CONTINUING PERSECUTION OF BAPTISTS: ARSON DESTROYS WEST JERUSALEM BAPTIST CHURCH

Jerry Falwell and his disbanded so-called "Moral Majority," which was actually an "Immoral Minority" in its pro-Zionist fanaticism, brainwashed and misguided millions of fundamentalist American Christians. Falwell is actually an accomplice of the Zionists in their crimes against humanity. That the Zionists wage war against Christians in the Holy Land does not deter Falwell and other fundamentalist fanatics from lending support to Zionist crimes, making them accessories to these crimes. Many of these crimes are directed against Baptists, but the facts are hidden from American Baptists who are being knowingly led by these false prophets to support the ruthless Zionist clique misruling the Holy Land.

On October 8, 1982 the Baptist Church building in West Jerusalem was destroyed by a fire which the police, the Jerusalem fire brigade and the church guards believe was set by arsonists.

The fire was discovered by followers of the congregation around 12.30 a.m. They called in the fire brigade who eventually extinguished the blaze. When flames died down the chapel building had been completely destroyed. The fire also caused some damage to the adjacent church library. The Zionist arsonists poured gasoline inside the church and over the church furniture which explained why the building was razed.

The Baptist church was built in 1933 and served members of the congregation who resided in the area. Currently, the church serves tourists, foreign students who are studying in Israel, and other Baptist residents in Jerusalem.

The church has come under attack several times from ultra-religious Jewish groups during the past 10 years. In addition to an arson incident 10 years ago which destroyed the church's bookstore, there have been several windowbreaking campaigns.

Mrs. Lindsay, the wife of the church's chaplain, told Al Fajr that a member of the ultra-right Kach movement was detained recently on charges of vandalising the chapel. A spokesman for the church said that it will cost nearly US $2 million to rebuild.(46)

The Foreign Mission News of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention on October 8, 1982, stated: "Vandalism is nothing new at the church and at Baptist House. A few years ago Baptist House was damaged by firebombing and a few windows are broken each year."(47)

The Washington Post of October 9, 1982 gave an account of the arson against the Baptist Church of Jerusalem:

The Baptist Church of Jerusalem, one of the city's largest Protestant churches and repeatedly a target of Jewish antimissionary attacks, was burned to the ground by arsonists early today, the authorities said.

Police and fire department officers said traces of kerosene were found in the wooden chapel in the residential Nahlaot quarter in Jerusalem's Jewish sector.

Dr. Robert Lindsay, the Oklahoma-born pastor of the church, said it would cost $1 million to rebuild the chapel, a gathering place for pilgrims and Jerusalem Christians since 1933.

In 1978, Israel toughened its laws against missionaries, making it a criminal offense to offer money or other inducements to anyone for changing his religion. No religion was specified in the law.

The fire was among the worst case in memory of anti- Christian activity. In the past decade there have been frequent incidents of window smashing and paint daubing at Christian institutions, and the Baptist center's bookstore was firebombed a few years ago.

Firefighters were able to save the church's bookstore in an adjoining building which Jewish extremists claim sells missionary material. The bookstore has been vandalized a dozen times in recent years.

Lindsay won international attention about 20 years ago when he crossed the former dividing line into east Jerusalem to bring back an Arab boy to his orphanage. The minister lost a leg in a landmine explosion during the rescue effort. One of Jerusalem's most popular Christian leaders, Lindsey, 65, was asked to preach the sermon at services attended by former president Jimmy Carter on a 1979 visit to Jerusalem.(48 )

The Zionist terrorists who set fire to the Baptist Church are not operating in a vacuum. Before its takeover by the Zionists, the oldest Jewish organization in America, B'nai B'rith and its Anti-Defamation League, rightly claimed that violent anti- Semitic acts were created by a climate of violence and hatred. Today they are silent when it is Jewish extremists in the Holy Land who are breeding a climate of violence and hatred which produces terrorism directed against Christians. Intolerance and hatred, with concomitant violence, is built into the Zionist ideology itself. Thoughtful Jews know that Zionism is damaging real spiritual values. Silenced by fear of Zionist propagandists, one can understand their situation. But there are no excuses for the Jerry Falwells.

Rev. Robert Lindsay confirmed to the Jerusalem Post that there was a long history of tolerance towards criminal violence inZionist Upper circles. "He recalled that eight years before, two American Jewish girls had tried to set fire to the church bookshop next door. 'Adults incite these youngsters and then they (the adults) are allowed to go scot-free,' he said."(49)

The attacks by Zionist fanatics against the West Jerusalem Baptist Church continue. Christianity Today reports:

The Narkis Street Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in west Jerusalem, has been the target of ongoing extremist opposition in Israel.

A grenade explosion damaged the church seven years ago. In 1982, a fire that authorities suspect was set intentionally destroyed the church's meeting place. Since then, the congregation has been worshiping in a tentlike structure. Windows in the church office frequently are broken, and slogans have been spraypainted on the property several times.

Earlier this year, aconservative Jewish organization called Yad Lachim organized a protest against the Narkis Street Church. The demonstration was prompted by the church's plans to rebuild its meeting place; a regional planning and development council is considering final approval of the plans. The rebuilding plans prompted one unnamed ultraconservative Orthodox Jewish leder to tell the Jerusalem Post that his political party will withdraw from the municipal coalition if approval is granted.

Extremist activity against Christians in Israel "seems to be increasing" said Isham Ballenger, Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board Director for Europe and the Middle East. "And their influence over others in Israel may be increasing, and this is alarming."

Ballenger said the recent demonstration against the Narkis Street Church was promoted throughout Jerusalem with posters that misrepresented the church's pastor, Robert Lindsay, a Southern Baptist representative in Israel since 1944. Approximately 100 people, including women and children, participated in this protest.

One demonstrator was quoted as declaring over a loudspeaker, "This is just the beginning of making trouble in this area." Among the slogans on the protesters' signs were "Get out, Get out," and "There is no room in this neighborhood for a congregational church and center which is missionary."(50)

The Foreign Mission News of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention of January 29, 1985 stated:

Ballenger believes Yad Lachim also was involved in generating negative press accounts last fall against Baptist

 

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Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem
By Issa Nakhleh

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