Message From Israel Shamir On An Orthodox Christian Church Desecrated In Israel
A Church Desecrated in Israel.
The Orthodox Christian Church in the predominantly Jewish town Migdal Ha’emek (a former Palestinian village of Majdal near Nazareth) was attacked, its icons vandalised and the tombs of priests desecrated. The church was built in 19th century but lost its worshippers in 1948, when the Jews expelled the Christian population of the Palestinian village Majdal and repopulated it with new immigrants. However, last year the church was repaired and the services recommenced as many of new Russian immigrants increasingly turn to Christ. The church priest and worshippers received many threats from the local Jewish community led by Rabbi Grossman. The church was attacked a few times in the past, and Israeli media reported on it, but the recent pogrom is a new step on the scale of anti-Christian violence.
While every graffiti on a wall of a synagogue anywhere in the world receives full (and justified) coverage and condemnation of the US President and of the UN Secretary General, the desecration of an Orthodox Church in the Jewish state attracted little publicity, and was not condemned by the Jewish leaders, said Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna, a leading Palestinian cleric of the Orthodox Church, in a statement condemning the attack. Archbishop Atallah called upon the Jewish religious and civil leaders to dissociate themselves from the pogrom and bring the vandals to justice. The worshippers have little doubt that anti-Christian instigations of Rabbi Grossman are connected to the assault, as he was on record of demanding the church to cease its services “in the land of Jews” as he put it. The church is not connected to electric grid and has no running water, the city did not even allow to put up a fence or guard. The Israeli authorities are too lenient to desecrators of Christian shrines, said the Archbishop.
Characteristically, the Haaretz newspaper carried recently an article Jews for Jesus are Evil, containing threats towards the immigrants who converted to the Christian faith.
More about the pogrom: http://newsru.co.il/israel/09jun2006/temple.html and http://cursorinfo.co.il/novosti/2006/06/09/pogrom/
In this weekend edition of the Haaretz newspaper, there is a long feature by Meron Rapoport (see below) which provides a clear evidence that the State of Israel abuses its responsibilities in respect of the Orthodox Church of the Holy Land. The feature offers an insider’s proof that the State allowed the manager of Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva, the most anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-Christian body in the country, to decide whether a patriarch will receive an approval of the State of Israel.
The feature quotes an official of the Yeshiva saying: “Matti [Matti Dan, the head of the Yeshiva] will decide if the patriarch will be patriarch… The previous patriarch (Irineos) - four years he wasn't patriarch. Why? Because Matti hadn't given his agreement.” The article exposed the long-established policy of state-authorised extortion by the Yeshiva and its high-placed protectors against the Church; apparently the State collaborated with the Yeshiva in order to force the Church officials to “sell” the lands and the properties to the Jews.
Ateret Cohanim is an extremist Jewish body with proclaimed purpose to destroy the mosques of Jerusalem and install a Jewish temple in their stead. The article refutes the usual Jewish claim that their extremists are but a tiny and unimportant section of population: to the contrary, these antichrists are the guiding light of Jewish nationalist right.
In view of this revelation, there can be only one answer: the Church must cease immediately the practice of applying for recognition of the State of Israel. This application of approval is a relic of the Ottoman days, and this is not based on the law of the state of Israel. Indeed, no other church in the Holy Land applies for such an approval, neither the Orthodox Churches in other lands do it. The Church should issue a paper stating that this old practice is to be discontinued, in light of the public knowledge that the State of Israel abused its powers.