The spokesman for the Holy Land Churches in Jerusalem informed us earlier today that Jewish settlers had again broken into a church and vandalized it. “A Jewish extremist targeted the statue of the scourged Savior in the Flagellation Chapel, the first stop on the famous Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. Welcome to the new Christian-hating Israel, encouraged and supported by the current government!” he wrote on social media.
The perpetrator was an American tourist, an Orthodox Jew, who was caught committing crimes in the Flagellation Chapel and handed over to the Israeli police. In his defense, the Jewish perpetrator stated that “the God of Israel will not tolerate stone idols in the Holy City of Jerusalem.” In other words: Jerusalem Syndrome. None of us denies that such incidents happen. Furthermore, this is promptly condemned by the Israeli media and politicians. Jerusalem is a hotspot that excites people. It always has been and always will be a spiritual powder keg.
The Chapel of the Flagellation is located in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City on the Via Dolorosa and, together with the Church of the Condemnation in the same courtyard, forms the second station of Jesus’ Way of the Cross. When Jews vandalize a church or a Christian cemetery, as they did on Mount Zion a month ago, news breaks fast and goes wide, and the State of Israel itself is blamed. The Christians seem to revel in the opportunity to wave a condemning finger at the Jewish government in the Holy Land.
But the Palestinian Christians say nothing about the clashes with their Muslim neighbors in the Old City of Jerusalem or in Bethlehem. And we all know that in this land, and especially in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Palestinian Christians are often bullied or even attacked by their Muslim brethren. Quarrels with the Muslims are hushed up by Christians, while disputes and confrontations with Jews are happily publicized. The Orthodox Churches in Jerusalem know very well that living under Jewish rule in Jerusalem is much more comfortable and offers real freedom of religion.
All you have to do is talk to the church workers, Arab Christians at the New Gate and in the Christian quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. It doesn’t matter who we sit and drink coffee with from time to time just inside the New Gate. Under Israeli rule, they enjoy freedom and security. Even if not everything is perfect. But Jews in the country also admit this. Most are content under the so-called “Israeli occupation.”
“My parents prefer the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem to ‘freedom’ under Jordan,” George told me about two weeks ago. “Muslims have always treated Christians worse than Jews. I heard this from my parents, who lived through both occupations.”
The Churches in the Holy Land are under pressure and are particularly afraid of local Muslim and the Palestinian Authority. That’s why Church spokesmen are quick and happy to tweet when Jews perpetrate evil.
And the Palestinian Authority, of course, loves to hear it. “We condemn this aggression by the occupation government and its Jewish settler extremists.” Nor do they miss an opportunity to plead for “help from the international community to protect the Palestinians from Israeli rule.” Unfortunately, the Orthodox Churches always play into the hands of their Muslim overlords.
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