July 31, 2014
Go to Nazareth and you can easily find the mini-mosque. It displays a large poster of Koran quotations denigrating Christianity and urging Christians to convert to Islam.Israel is rightly seen as a place in which Christians enjoy a safer life than in all other countries in the region. When the Pope visited Jerusalem recently, however, two major Israeli newspapers published op-ed articles by guests who questioned that view. Both articles are available in English. Both contained some errors of fact, but their greater fault lies in mistakes of broader perspective. Nevertheless, there is a need for improvement in Israel's dealings with Christians.
Overlooked is a fundamental difference between the two regimes. Israel is a state governed by the rule of law. The Palestinian Authority, like most other states in the region, is a personal dictatorship. Arafat started the fashion of simply disregarding the laws.
What is needed in Israel is a central policy unit with the brief of developing long-term policies both to integrate Israeli Christians and to engage with the great variety of Christians in foreign countries.
Clergy from various churches at a Christmas reception in Jerusalem. (Image source: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)