Strolling through Jerusalem's historic Yemin Moshe quarter on a pleasant August morning, my ears caught a ringing, melodic sound emanating from within the walls of the Old City, perhaps half a mile from where I stood. This being a Sunday, the sound I heard was the chiming of church bells, welcoming Christian worshippers to morning services.
Normally, there is something joyous about the sound of those bells, particularly in a city that contains the key holy sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But on this day, I felt a profound sadness upon hearing them. For Jerusalem, the capital of Israel is one of the few places in the Middle East where—despite what malicious anti-Zionist propagandists will tell you—Christians can practice their faith freely.
In the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, about one day's drive from here, only a minuscule handful of terrified Christians remain, the vast majority having been driven out by the savage terrorists of the Islamic State jihadist group. The ethnic cleansing of Mosul's Christians was accompanied by the destruction of numerous holy sites, including a 1,800-year-old church and the tomb of the prophet Jonah. As Mosul's Patriarch Louis Sako mournfully observed at the end of July, "For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians." On any Sunday morning in that beleaguered city, you will no longer hear the sound of church bells. more >>
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is too strong. PLO boss Mahmoud Abbas is too weak. That's why we can't get a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, says President Obama in an interview with the ever-serious Tom Friedman of The New York Times.
The president seems to be confusing Mideast politics with Goldilocks. The peace porridge is too hot (Netanyahu). It's too cold (Mahmoud Abbas). But with Mr. Obama's Goldilocks policy, it's just right.
Actually, his Mideast isn't just right. It's mostly wrong. Mr. Obama's thinking about the Mideast is fully on display in this disturbing interview. If we wonder why the Mideast has also been described as a Bloody Crescent, we have only to consider how Barack Obama views the world. more >>
NEW YORK — An American pastor of a diverse congregation in Israel known to be targeted by anti-Christian vandals, reminded those in attendance at a recent Mideast prayer service that, according to the Bible, the Jewish people were chosen by God in special service to the world, and never designated as "the teacher's pet." He also called for Christians to be careful in jumping to judgement and picking sides in the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Rev. Charles M. Kopp, pastor of the Baptist Narkis Street Congregation, a 100-member Christian church in West Jerusalem, made the remarks last Thursday evening at a World Evangelical Alliance prayer meeting at the Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission in New York City.
The occasion of the prayer meeting was "A Call to Prayer for the Middle East," with additional remarks made by the Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President of National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Dr. Munir Kakish, Chairman of the Council of Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land (representing Evangelicals in Palestinian Territories); and the Rev. Harry Tees, WEA Ambassador to the Holy Land. During the prayer meeting, opened by WEA United Nations Permanent Representative Deborah Fikes, mention was made of conflicts raging in Syria and Iraq, as well as in other countries in the Middle East. more >>
A diverse group of evangelical leaders, led by the National Religious Broadcasters President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, is set to travel this Sunday to Israel to show their support and friendship to the Jewish state and counter anti-semantic views.
"Countering rising anti-Semitism in the international press and on the streets, this friendship visit will communicate to Israel and to the Palestinians who stand in opposition to Hamas that we, leaders who represent the Christian community, stand with them. It will also show the world that Christians in general support the Jewish people and their right to security," Johnson said in a statement earlier this week.
"In addition, this visit should serve as an example to all followers of Jesus Christ, specifically encouraging them to pray for the peace of Jerusalem so that the lives of all those living in this region can be secure," he added. "We are thankful to the Israel Ministry of Tourism for coordinating this trip." more >>
When observers describe or denounce Israeli military actions as "disproportionate," they glibly assume sweeping legal conclusions without sufficient proof or analysis. But the evidence shows that Israel has acted with disproportionate decency while Hamas has committed war crimes.
Hamas' indiscriminate rocket and missile attacks – which now total about 3,500 in the last month – target primarily Israeli civilians. The effects of Hamas' attacks have been serious (contrary to what most media reports suggest):
a) increasing premature births, b) shutting down Israel's biggest airport, blocking 90 percent of incoming and outgoing passengers, c) forcing about 8 million people to live on the edge 24/7, fearing that if their missile defense system or scramble to shelters falters, they could die, d) constant interruptions throughout the day and night, with as little as ten seconds to find shelter, e) billions of dollars in economic damage. more >>
Pew Research Center recently found that Americans, overall, see Hamas as more to blame than Israel for the current violences. This is true across demographics—except for those between the ages of 18 and 29.
Only 21 percent of these Millennials believe that Hamas is more to blame, compared to 37 percent of Generation Xers, 47 percent of Baby Boomers, and 53 percent of Silent. Millennials were also more likely to see Israel as more responsible for the violence.
Twenty-nine percent of Millennials charge Israel with instigating the violence, compared to 20 percent, 14 percent, and 15 percent of Xers, Boomers, and Silent, respectively. And in another Gallup poll, 51 percent of Millennials reported that they believe that "Israel's actions in the current Middle East conflict" are "unjustified—" a far stronger take than any other generation above them. more >>