Friday, October 05, 2007
Arab Christians in Israel
Jim West has a post on Christians, Israel, and the Palestinian Question which is quite coincidental since at our missions prayer lunch at HTC on Wednesday we had a guest speaker from Israel. Sadly his name alludes me, but he was an Arab Christian from Israel, specifically, the Galilee, and a lawyer by vocation. He gave a good overview of Christian groups in Galilee/Lebanon including the Marionites, the Orthdodox Church, Protestants, and the Greek Catholic Church (about 300 years ago a number of Greek Orthodox churches seceded and entered into fellowship with Rome although they retain their own liturgy and rites which are still Orthodox for the most part). Our speaker told the story of how Israeli troops forcibly expelled whole villages and simply told them to go Lebanon. These were Christian villages that have never resisted Israeli rule/occupation (delete as preferred) or fired a shot in anger. His attitude towards Israel was one of frustration rather than hatred and he just wanted a fair deal, a place to live, and some political rights for Arab Christians. He talked about how Christians largely run the education and health care system in the Galilee and the ministry that they have there. It was a good talk! Personally, I remain perplexed as to why certain Christians, predominantly Americans, feel a closer degree of affinity with the secular state of Israel than they do with Palestinian Christians! I'm not anti-Israel (I think that the President of Iran, Ahmydinnerjacket [sic], has more fruit cakes in his head than an Aussie Christmas party) but we should support the plight of our Christian and brothers and sisters in the land of Palestine and object when they are boxed into ghettos.