Bethlehem: Christians under terror

Israeli priest of the Greek Orthodox Church, a judge in the community’s religious courts, and a spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Father Gabriel Naddaf  wrote on his Facebook page:

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Bethlehem came under Palestinian control a few days before Christmas in 1995, as part of the Oslo Accords. The Christian community, by and large, kept quiet about the change that was sweeping the birthplace of Jesus Christ, although many Christian leaders privately expressed fears about their future, but were unwilling to say anything publicly.

Since then, the Christian population of Bethlehem has shrunk from 20,000 in 1995 to only 7,500 today. While some contribute the decline to a range of factors, others are now openly speaking of Muslim intimidation towards the Christian community, including land theft, discrimination in public sector employment, abuse, and economic hardships.

These are facts that continue to be ignored by the majority of the mainstream media. While Palestinians are been portrayed as victims, even when they commit acts of violence or terrorism, little attention is given to the Christian community who has refused to engage in such acts. It seems that terrorism is only rewarded by the media, not kindness and forgiveness.

But, no matter how blind the world is, the fact remains that Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christians are not persecuted and their population has increased, rather than decrease as in all other Islamic nations. The numbers do not lie.

So, we thank God for this safe haven and for being part of this miracle. Israel was created so that it can flourish.

Merry Christmas, Father Gabriel Naddaf.