A bill to expropriate church property and a plan to charge the church 650 million NIS in back taxes prompt protest from Christian leaders. Christian leaders announced that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, one of the holiest sites in all of Christianity, will be closed indefinitely to protest a Knesset bill that will allow the government to seize church land, as well as a plan to tax church property. [tmwinpost] In a statement released Sunday, the heads of the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Armenian churches, the bodies responsible for governing the Holy Sepulcher and other Christian holy sites, denounced…Read More... | 4 Comments
From the church bombings in Egypt to the restrictions on movement in Palestine to an exodus from Iraq, Christians of most Middle Eastern countries are at serious risk. By James J. Zogby This year there will no Easter celebrations for Coptic Christians in Upper Egypt. Out of concern for their security and out of respect for the 45 Christians who were victims of two horrific suicide bombing attacks on Palm Sunday, their bishop declared that Easter services would be limited in his diocese to mass, "without any festivities." [tmwinpost] That Holy Week began for Egyptians with news of those bombings…Read More... | 28 Comments
Moti Yogev's 'muezzin law' is yet another step toward creating a public atmosphere that could lead to expelling Arabs from Israel. By Abed Abu Shehadeh As it does every year, the sounds of the muezzin reached the Knesset this past week. Last time it was Yisrael Beiteinu's Anastasia Michaeli who brought the "muezzin law" before the Knesset; this time it was MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home). The dangerous bill, which was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, leaves little room for the imagination: "Houses of worship will be forbidden from using loudspeakers to call the worshippers to prayer or to transmit religious,…Read More... | 40 Comments
Despite their difficult circumstances, Palestinians in Bethlehem find ways to remind the world that Israel's occupation cannot exist forever. The organizers of the Palestine Marathon, held annually in the West Bank city of Bethlehem since 2013, recently announced that its next run will take place on Friday 1st April, 2016. [tmwinpost] The event – one my most memorable highlights of 2015 – is a thrilling experience. The thousands that gathered in Manger Square, where the run kicks off, included Muslim and Christian Palestinians, internationals from dozens of foreign countries, and even some Israeli Jews. Some came to support the marathon’s…Read More... | 6 Comments
Dozens of Palestinian-owned olive trees uprooted to complete separation wall that will eventually fully encircle the Bethlehem area. Text and photos by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org The Israeli Defense Ministry renewed its efforts to build a section of the separation wall in the Bethlehem area this week, sending bulldozers and Border Policemen to uproot dozens of olive trees in Wadi Ahmed, on the outskirts of Beit Jala. The plan is to completely enclose Bethlehem and the surrounding villages — closing all entrances to the area — by the separation wall. Entire areas of the separation wall have yet be built,…Read More...
Opponents of church-based boycott initiatives often accuse advocates of unfairly 'singling out' Israel while ignoring Islamist violence in Syria and elsewhere. Here's why they're wrong. Text and photos by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org In the coming days, three more U.S. churches will consider resolutions to apply economic leverage against the Israeli occupation. The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), United Methodist Church (UMC), and various Quaker bodies have taken similar actions in previous years. Now, as the United Church of Christ (UCC), the Episcopal Church, and Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA) meet for national conventions, divestment activists say their case has never been clearer.…Read More... | 30 Comments
America's largest Christian Zionist organization boasts about its numbers. But while their influence is a given, many Christians are slowly but surely seeing the justice of the Palestinian cause. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest Zionist Christian organization in the U.S., recently sent an email blast celebrating the milestone of “2 million members.” The Washington Post’s right-wing blogger Jennifer Rubin dutifully reported on the CUFI press release, which included an additional list of impressive numbers: According to CUFI, it has “driven hundreds of thousands of emails to government officials, held 2,162 pro-Israel events in cities…Read More... | 31 Comments
The rhetoric of Christian Zionists consistently places loyalty to the modern state of Israel above the example and teachings of the Jesus born in Bethlehem whose birth Christmas celebrates. It's time to stop calling such groups Christian Zionists and instead use the term Zionist Christians, to more accurately reflect their priorities. Photos and text by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org For the last two years, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest Christian Zionist organization in the U.S., has sent email blasts urging their supporters to fight back against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by buying Christmas ornaments “Made in Israel.”…Read More... | 27 Comments
At Hebrew University, the narratives in Arabic and Hebrew language textbooks glorify Zionism and blur out any sign of the occupation. The next step? Using force against Palestinian students who dare to protest that very narrative. Fadi Asleh (Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman) Israeli Independence Day is also Palestinian Nakba Day. This is one of those days that is charged with memories, pain, political views, identities, etc. The very choice of name for this day reveals one's culture, identity and distinct political standing. And language is a front no less important (or violent) than other fronts. According to the…Read More...
This week: Palestinian citizens of Israel march to the destroyed village Lubya, Israeli activists commemorate the Nakba, solidarity with administrative detainees, May Day celebrations, the leader of Israel's refugee movement says goodbye to freedom, and more.Read More...
Year after year, Palestinian Christians and international pilgrims face checkpoints and harsh treatment by Israeli police officers as they attempt to celebrate the Easter season in Jerusalem. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org Palestinian Christians and international pilgrims faced Israeli barriers and harsh treatment by officers as they attempted to celebrate the Easter season in Jerusalem this year. In scenes similar to previous years, thousands of worshipers were denied entry to the Old City of Jerusalem by police barricades as a heavy presence of security forces controlled access to the city. Despite VIP status, even Robert H. Serry, the…Read More... | 14 Comments
Last week's Christ at the Checkpoint conference in the West Bank town of Bethlehem brought evangelical Christians together with their Palestinian sisters and brothers to ask what their faith has to say about the Israeli occupation. Christian Zionists aren't happy about their answers. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org Two of the most potent forces insulating Israel from any political accountability for the occupation are right-wing lobbying groups, most notably AIPAC, and the Christian Zionist movement of which the largest U.S. organization is Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Recent months have seen cracks in AIPAC’s influence, most notably defeats…Read More... | 2 Comments
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