Israel has been trying to drive home the point that Hamas fired many of the 3,500 missiles that targeted the Jewish state over the past month from either inside or within the vicinity of mosques, schools, hospitals and other civilian facilities.
Archbishop Alexios, the most senior Christian figure in Gaza, says churches can be added to that list.
In an interview with CBN News, Alexios revealed that Hamas militants had fired missiles at Israel from inside his church’s compound, even as the facility was being used to shelter civilians.
Gaza’s tiny 1,500-strong Christian community has no choice but to play along. “Islam is the rule of this place and whatever Hamas says we must obey or face consequences,” said Alexios.
Another Arab Christian leader, Pastor Steven Khoury of Bethlehem, says he doesn’t see any end in the near term to Islam’s violent hatred for Israel, and its cynical use of Christian and Muslim civilians in its quest to destroy the Jewish state.
“The reality is that this [warfare] is going to continue until” Jesus’ return, Khoury said during a discussion on God TV last month. “The Jewish people have a great responsibility, but with that comes a sacrifice. I think that what is happening now to Israel will always be happening. The reality of the Jewish people being a despised nation will always be” because they were chosen.
But it’s not only the Jews who pay the price.
“I could be killed for sitting here [next to a Jew] and for what I am saying,” said Khoury, who was joined in the studio by Messianic Jewish Pastor Asher Intrator.
In a follow-up interview via video link, Khoury told God TV that his congregation and many other Christians in Jerusalem and Bethlehem are facing persecution “either because of our love for Israel or because of our evangelism. [In the Muslims’ eyes] you’re OK only so long as you don’t talk about your faith.”
PHOTO: Archbishop Alexios and others share a meal in the courtyard of the Church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza City, as the war between Israel and Hamas rages just beyond its walls.