30.3.2023: Die „Times of Israel“ über die kritische Situation der Kirchen in Jerusalem

Zionsfriedhof, zerstörtes Grabmal 2023

Die „Times of Israel“


»The picture of safe coexistence painted by Israeli officials is starkly at odds with the experiences Jerusalem’s Christian leaders themselves describe. While they readily acknowledge that there is no organized or governmental effort against them, Christian clergy in the Old City tell of a deteriorating atmosphere of harassment, apathy from authorities, and a growing fear that incidents of spitting and vandalism could turn into something far darker.«

(Lazar Berman, The Times of Israel, 30.3.2023)

Hier geht es zum ganzen Artikel:


Kritische Anmerkungen
(Don Binder, anglikanischer Dean und Chaplain des Erzbischofs):

I have mixed feelings about this article in today’s Times of Israel.

On the one hand, it does present in a more holistic way the dramatic increase in attacks that the Christian community has faced since the rise of this radical right-wing government late last year.

On the other hand, it accepts too uncritically police and government claims that they are responding proactively to the situation. For example, police did not immediately arrive last week to stop the attacker from doing harm at Gethsemane, as the article asserts. In fact, bystanders had to subdue the man and then hold him down for more than half-an-hour before police even arrived.

Similarly, the article blithely accepts the government’s assertion that the Churches are handmaidens of the Palestinian Authority when making their criticisms against the Israeli government. This is absurd. As someone at the center of these internal discussions, I can say that NO consideration is given to the PA in expressing our concerns. Indeed, if the police and government were doing their jobs, we would happily praise them for it, as we have done in the past.

Finally, the article accepts without question the government’s claim that it is preserving the religious Status Quo. This ignores the fact that last year border police prevented local worshippers (with permits) from attending the annual Palm Sunday procession in Jerusalem. Likewise, two weeks later, police severely limited the attendance of worshipers at the Holy Fire ceremony on Orthodox Easter Eve — a service that has been in existence for 1600 years as the pinnacle of Jerusalem’s celebration of Christ’s resurrection. What’s more, they are set to do the same again this year, despite our strong protestations.

This clearly is not the maintenance of the religious Status Quo, but a redefining of it. The goverment has now restricted the religious freedom of local Christians to a degree that they would never begin to contemplate for the Jewish or even the Muslim religious communities during their concurrent feasts of Passover and Ramadan (the latter for fear of rockets flying from Gaza). And so, no, this is not just a perception problem for the Israeli government. This is an real problem that needs to be addressed with real commitment and real action, not just denials and empty platitudes.

Anmerkung (Propst):

Don Binder hat Recht. Und noch eins:
Im Artikel wird der überdurchschnittlich hohe Bildungsgrad palästinensischer christlicher Frauen als Beleg dafür genannt, dass es den Christinnen und Christen in Israel politisch doch gut gehe. Tatsächlich ist das nur ein Beleg dafür, dass die christlichen Schulen im Heiligen Land sehr gute Arbeit tun und dass z.B. die ELCJHL die Gleichberechtigung von Frauen gezielt fördert.