Jerusalem churches protest attempts to drive Christians out — Analysis

Church leaders in Jerusalem have complained that “fringe radical” settler groups are mounting a violent “systematic attempt” to drive Christians from the city. Israel has criticized their statement as “baseless” and “infuriating.”

Last week, the Patriarchs and Heads of Local Churches of Jerusalem – a collection of various Christian denominations – launched a campaign to protest “frequent and sustained”Radical violence “strategic property” acquisition. The tactic was aimed at “diminishing the Christian presence.”

The Diocese of Jerusalem issued a statement in which the church leaders referred to “countless incidents”Priests may be subjected to verbal or physical attacks. “intimidation”of the local Christians and “desecration”of churches and holy places. They called the “failure of local politicians, officials and law enforcement agencies”To stop violence. They date back to 2012.

The joint statement was signed by the leadership of all the city’s major churches, including the Custody of the Holy Land representing the Vatican, the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the head of the Anglican Church.

The campaign was amplified by the UK’s Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who tweeted the joint declaration last Tuesday and termed it a “heart-cry”An “unprecedented statement … about the future of Christians in the Holy Land.”Support was also provided by the World Council of Churches as well as other organizations.

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Also, the heads of churches are requested “urgent dialogue”Contact political officials “Israel, Palestine and Jordan,”These were bound by the aforementioned “declared commitment”To protect religious freedom. Other than dealing with “challenges presented by radical groups,”The talks will discuss the possibility of creating a unified system. “special Christian cultural and heritage zone to safeguard the integrity of the Christian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem.”

Media attention was drawn to allegations of Christians being discriminated in Jerusalem by the Israeli government, who finally responded to these claims this week.

On Monday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry stated that the concerns were “unfounded.” “baseless” “infuriating”And claimed that they “distort the reality of the Christian community”The country.

“Religious leaders have a critical role to play in education for tolerance and coexistence, and Church leaders should be expected to understand their responsibility and the consequences of what they have published, which could lead to violence and bring harm to innocent people,”The ministry said.



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