The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem (Christian Leaders) request for an urgent dialogue with "Israel, Palestine and Jordan" on protecting the Christian community in Jerusalem and the integrity of the Christian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem – is an anti-Israel political ploy that should be rejected by Israel.
The requested dialogue is clearly against Israel's national interest for the following reasons:
- The Christian Leaders acknowledged that threats to Christians were not limited to Jerusalem only - but extended to Christians throughout the Holy Land:
Throughout the Holy Land Christians have become the target of frequent and sustained attacks by fringe radical groups. Since 2012 there have been countless incidents of physical and verbal assaults against priests and other clergy, attacks on Christian churches, with holy sites regularly vandalized and desecrated, and ongoing intimidation of local Christians who simply seek to worship freely and go about their daily lives. These tactics are being used by such radical groups in a systematic attempt to drive the Christian community out of Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land.
- Inviting "Palestine and Jordan" to participate in a dialogue solely on Jerusalem was a blatant attempt by these Christian Leaders to undermine Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem by replacing Israel as the sole Authority responsible for ensuring the security and safety of the Christian community in Jerusalem.
- Israel's Christian community actually grew by 1.4 percent in 2020 and now numbers some 182,000 people
Certainly Israel should meet with these Christian Leaders to address and allay their concerns in relation to threats to the Christian community in Jerusalem.
However these same Christian Leaders have not called for dialogues with "Palestine" and Jordan to deal with similar threats affecting their respective Christian communities. Failure to do so makes a mockery of these Christian Leaders expressed concerns for Christians living outside Jerusalem.
The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem comprise:
- His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
- His Beatitude Patriarch Fuad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Latin Patriarchate
- His Beatitude Patriarch Nourhan Manougian, Armenian Patriarch, Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem
- His Grace Archbishop Dr Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem & the Near East
- Very Rev. Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, Custody of the Holy Land
- Bishop Munib A. Yunnan, Lutheran Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
- Bishop Suheil Dawani, Archbishop, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
- His Grace Archbishop Abba Kwestos, Ethiopian Orthodox Archbishop, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
- His Grace Archbishop Mar Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian Orthodox Archbishop, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate
- Archbishop Joseph-Jules Zerey, General Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, Greek Melkite Catholic Church
- His Eminence Msgr. George Chihan, Patriarchal Administrator, Maronite Archdiocese of Haifa and the Holy Land
- His Grace Bishop Gregor Peter Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate, Syrian Catholic Church
- His Excellency Monsenieur Joseph Kallekelian, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate, Armenian Catholic Church
These venerable clergymen should surely be also focusing on threats to Christians and Christian property not only in the Holy Land - but throughout the Middle East. Yet these communities did not rate a mention in their statement (see image below).
Threats to Christians and Christian properties are also increasing in Europe and America.
All threats against Christians –= wherever occurring - must be condemned and ended.
Playing anti-Israel political games in Jerusalem at the expense of safeguarding their communities' security and safety there by working closely with Israel is a foolhardy decision by these Christian Leaders and also runs the risk of fuelling Christian anti-Jewish hatred in Jerusalem.
These Christian Leaders are on a hiding to nothing for their highly irresponsible action.
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