Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Holy See should take a better look.

To the Editor, If it were not so sad it would be funny with the Vatican releasing a document blaming Israel “occupying” land as the reason for driving Christians out of the Middle East. Let me try to understand this; the Vatican is planning to discuss the plight of Christians in the Middle East in October and this document represents the outline for these discussions.,7340,L-3837018,00.html Having just spent a day with members of Israel’s Christian minority, hearing their stories of “jihad” against them by their Moslem neighbors, including stories of forced marriages of Christian women to Moslem men, Moslems harassing and threatening the Christians, an assault against the Christian mayor of Nazareth, multi-million dollar foreign Islamic investments “perseverance funds” to buy out Christians from their homes and businesses (I guess that they forgot they are supposed to be boycotting Israel), unilateral destruction of ancient archeological sites of historic significance to Judaism and early Christianity in an attempt to erase our respective connection from the Land, “conquering” of private Christian schools by Moslem students that relegates Christian students to public schools where they are threatened, boycotts of Christian owned businesses by their Moslem neighbors, and many other allegations that are too vast to list, it’s a wonder what planet the Vatican authors live on that a Jewish Israeli can understand the real threat to Christians in the Middle East that the Vatican can’t. Or, doesn’t want to. I wonder how my friend “Sami” would respond to the Vatican on this, a Lebanese Christian who welcomed Israel’s invasion to eliminate the PLO in 1982 but fled his home and homeland afterward because of the people who “stole” his home and business and “ruined” his life. Who were the thieves that ruined his life? Israel? No, Hizbullah. The Vatican would be well off to spend a day like I did and getting to know the worries and fears of their co-religionists before making stupid and incorrect, not to mention borderline anti-Semitic allegations. Placing blame on Israel for the plight of Christians in the Middle East is about as honest as saying Pope Pius saved millions of Jews during the Holocaust. When issuing documents, let the Vatican find some proof in their archives that disproves that he was no saint in this regard. And while they’re looking, perhaps they can return some of the loot from our Temple that the Romans destroyed 1960 years ago, lest they be accidental accomplices in erasing the Jewish, and Christian, roots of the Land of Israel. If the Vatican does not want to ask the Christians themselves, just take a look at the former Christian cities of Nazareth and Bethlehem. Churches are overshadowed by Mosques whose green illuminated minarets dominate the sky line like an Islamic game of connect the dots. But the Vatican is who needs to be connecting the dots to see the true picture that it is an intolerant stream of Islam that is the guilty party for the plight of the Christians here. Any Vatican discussion of the plight of Christians in the Middle East that is not grounded in reality will relegate the remaining Christians living here as an endangered species to extinction. The Holy See should take a better look. Jonathan Feldstein

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