‘Israel Must Do More to Reach Arab Christians’

Bethlehem source says Orthodox and Catholics still love Israel, but Palestinian Evangelicals have largely turned hostile

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A Palestinian Christian source suggested that if Israel would do more to reach out to and protect his community, the Jewish state would find something of a natural ally amidst a sea of Muslim hostility. He also noted that this was far more true of Orthodox and Catholic Christians than of Evangelicals, many of whom have joined the global BDS movement against Israel.

Indeed, the fact that Middle East Christians are natural allies of the Jews has gained growing awareness in Israel of late thanks to the work of Father Gabriel Naddaf, the Christian Empowerment Council and the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum. Last year, Israel reciprocated by officially recognizing local Christians as an independent Aramean minority.

A Christian leader who spoke to Arutz Sheva on condition of anonymity said the same relationship is possible with the Christians of Bethlehem and other Palestinian Authority-ruled towns.

“Most Christians in the Palestinian Authority (PA) love Israel and would like to see Israel back there,” he said.

But the years of PA rule, accompanied by a systematic anti-Israel brainwashing, have taken a toll. While most older Palestinian Christians maintain an affinity for Israel, those generations that are too young to remember Israeli rule and can only go by what the PA tells them have become antagonistic.

What might be even more surprising is the source’s revelation that Orthodox Christians and Catholics are far more likely to hold positive views of Israel than their Protestant and Evangelical counterparts.

As demonstrated by the bi-annual Christ at the Checkpoint conference hosted by Bethlehem Bible College, a great many Palestinian Evangelicals have whole-heartedly embraced the global Evangelical boycott campaign against the Jewish state. Many are also prominent in the teaching of “Palestinian Liberation Theology” that tries to equate current Palestinian suffering with the mistreatment of Jesus, both at the hands of the Jews.


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