web analytics
July 30, 2014 /
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 

Posts Tagged ‘Christians’

Israel Tourism Ministry Prepares to Welcome Pope Francis

Monday, May 19th, 2014

The Israel Ministry of Tourism is investing approximately NIS 10 million ($2.9 million) in marketing initiatives and infrastructure projects before, during and after the visit of Pope Francis to Israel, on May 25-26 May.

The marketing investment is centered around the dedicated website for the Catholic Pilgrim (www.holyland-pilgrimage.org), including live streaming of the Pope’s visit and utilization of the most advanced online marketing tools, both on the web and on the various social media platforms. The marketing targets source countries for Catholic pilgrimage – USA, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Poland, Germany and France.

In addition, last month the Tourism Ministry ran an online Instagram promotion in advance of the Papal visit, where contestants from around the world were asked to upload a 15-second video on Instagram, sharing with the Tourism Ministry why they wanted to visit the Holy Land. The winning video was uploaded by Gustavo Aldolfo Franco Picaza from Venezuela and landed him a free trip to Israel.

The 22-year-old Venezuelan with the winning Instagram message will visit Israel later this week as a guest of the Israel Tourism Ministry.

Hundreds of journalists are expected to arrive from around the world to cover the event and the Ministry of Tourism will be offering support and hosting services to them.

Israeli Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau stated that Israel will welcome the Pope with open arms. “We welcome the Pope as a visitor of the highest importance, the most important religious leader for Catholics around the world. We are greatly honored by his choice to visit Israel. We will continue to welcome the faithful with open arms, as they choose to visit Israel in the footsteps of the Pope.

The Tourism Ministry, which invests in the maintenance and conservation of Christian sites on an ongoing basis, has invested tens of millions of shekels in recent years in the development and infrastructure of Christian sites, including, among others, the Yardenit baptism site on the River Jordan, the Sea of Galilee trail and promenade, Mount of Olives, Via Dolorosa, Ein Karem and pilgrimage routes in Jerusalem, Nazareth and more. Improvements and upgrading in the area of Rachel’s Crossing and at the Room of the Last Supper that had been planned for later in the year have been carried out in advance of the Pope’s visit.

As a result of the visit to the Holy Land by Pope Francis, who is a popular and significant figure for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, the ministry estimates an increase of tens of thousands in the numbers of Christians visiting Israel. Christian tourism, which accounts for about 60% of all incoming tourism, is expected to increase by about 10% in 2014 as a result of the pope’s visit.

A Third Intifada to Begin at the Temple Mount?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Once again, on the eve of a major Jewish holiday, Israel Police have  closed access for Jews and Christians to the Temple Mount due to intelligence “there would be disturbances” if Jews were allowed to ascend to the site.

Hundreds of tourists who flocked to the site on Monday were turned away due to violence spawned by Muslim rioters the previous day.

Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told The Jewish Press in a telephone interview Monday morning, “Police officials made the decision to close access to the site based on information there would be disturbances similar to those that occurred yesterday, and which caused injuries to two police officers. As a result, access to the site was restricted solely to Muslim men age 50 and above, and to Muslim women of all ages.”

Asked whether Muslim women had never caused any disturbances at the Temple Mount – which they have on numerous occasions — Rosenfeld responded: “Muslim women do not pose any problem for Israel Police. It is Muslim men under age 50 who are the most dangerous to the general population and to police officers during disturbances at the site.”

On Sunday police closed the Temple Mount to visitors — but not to Muslim worshipers — after Muslim rioters hurled rocks and firebombs (Molotov cocktails) at police officers posted at the Mughrabi Gate near the Western Wall Plaza.

Two Israel Police officers were injured in the riot which started when the site was opened to visitors.

Rosenfeld claimed he had “no idea what [you] are talking about” when asked about a report posted on the Arutz Sheva website describing a virtual takeover of the Temple Mount by “dozens of Hamas men… waving Hamas flags and ‘not allowing Jews and tourists into the Mount.’

The site has always been a flash point of contention between Jews and Muslims. There is no holier site in the Jewish faith, and it ranks third in importance in Islam.

The Temple Mount encompasses the Western Wall – the last remnant of the Holy Temple, the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount. It is the wall that was the closest to the Holy of Holies when the Holy Temple once stood in Jerusalem.

In Judaism, the Temple Mount is also known as Mount Moriah, which according to Jewish tradition is the place where the creation of the world began from the Foundation Stone at the peak of the mountain, and is where Adam, the first human being, was created.

It is also the site where the Biblical patriarch Abraham was commanded to prepare his son Isaac for sacrifice, (by the way, the Muslims believe it is Ishmael who was nearly sacrificed) and where the binding of Isaac – the Foundation Stone – took place. The Holy of Holies, around which both the First and Second Holy Temples were built, is set around the Foundation Stone.

Known to the Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, the Temple Mount site is believed to be that from which Islam’s prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven to speak with God about the details of prayer rituals after a night-long journey to Jerusalem, “the farthest mosque,” on his steed Buraq. For this reason, Islamists fight with particular ferocity over the site and do what they can to claim sovereignty over the Temple Mount.

Israel’s willingness to allow the Islamic Waqf Authority to administer the site has backfired dozens of times as increasing violence by Islamist extremists on the eve of every Jewish holiday makes it clear it is impossible for the status quo to continue.

A similar scenario was deliberately used by Hamas to ignite the Second Intifada in the year 2000 when MK Ariel Sharon made a visit to the Temple Mount just prior to the Jewish new year holidays, setting off violent Muslim riots and sparking a lethal police response. It seems likely that plans are afoot to recreate the same scenario again.

Masked Syrian Terrorist Killed Dutch Priest

Monday, April 7th, 2014

A masked terrorist shot killed a widely-known Dutch priest and another priest in the city of Homs Monday, another sign of what the awaits the Christian minority whenever the civil war ends.

Christians have tried to stay neutral in the war but have been victimized by all sides – Syrian President Bassar al-Assad, an Alawite, and Muslim rebels along with Al Qaeda Sunni Muslims.

No one has claimed responsibility for the murder of the priests, one of whom was 72-year-old Father Francis Van Der Lugt, who was killed in a monastery in an area controlled by rebels.

Painting of Jews Murdering Christian Children to Go on Display

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

A controversial 18-century painting depicting the ritual murder of Christian children by Jews, will be available to viewers in the cathedral of Sandomierz, Poland. The painting, “Mord Rytualny” or “Ritual Murder,” was painted by Charles de Prevot,

A plaque will be mounted next to the painting, which will inform viewers that the Jews did not actually commit ritual murder, because their faith prohibits it.

The painting has been mounted on the wall of the cathedral for many years, but has been hidden behind a red curtain because of its offensive nature.

The painting will go on display again on Thursday, as the Catholic Church marks its international Day of Judaism.

In the eighteenth century, Charles de Prevot painted a series of paintings, “Martyrologium Romanum,” depicting the martyrdom of Christians. These paintings show brutal and realistic scenes of tortured and murdered Christians by pagans. The painting depicting the ritual murder has been covered since 2006.

Dutch Christians Protest Pension Fund’s Boycott of Israel

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Approximately 350 Dutch Christian activists demonstrated early Monday in front of the headquarters of PGGM, manager of the largest pension fund in Holland, to protest its recent decision to pull out its investments in five Israeli banks, the European Jewish Press reported (EJP).

PGGM said it got rid of shares in Bank HaPoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank  because they are involved in financing in Judea and Samaria, or what it called “occupied Palestinian territories.’’

.The protesters, members of the Christian Foundation for Israel, held Israeli flags and banners reading ’’Stop the Boycott of Israel’’ while distributing pamphlets to the PGGM employees. They were accompanied by Holland’s Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, who denounced the fact that Israel is always singled out while PGGM ‘’should stop invest in many countries.’’

’We want PGGM to reconsider its decision,’’ Roger van Oordt, director of the Christian Foundation for Israel. ‘’

The pension group manages more than ($208 billion) in funds and has more than $150 million worth of investments in Israel.

PGGM’s move is the third high-profile divestment in Holland in recent months, according to EJP. In December, state-owned water company Vitens broke off its alliance with Israeli water group Mekorot, and earlier civil engineering group HaskoningDHV pulled out of a project to develop a waste water treatment plant in Jerusalem after the Dutch foreign ministry said it could conflict with international law.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the divestment decision was a “sanctimonious move intended to pander to a certain nefarious trend in public opinion.”

Last week, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Dutch ambassador in Israel, Caspar Veldkamp, for a clarification on the PGGM decision to divest from Israel. ‘’This decision is unacceptable and relies on false pretense,’’ the Ministry’s Deputy Director General of the MFA for European Affairs, Raphael Schutz, told the Dutch Ambassador.

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans declared last week that his country opposes a boycott of Israel.

Christians Lead Record Year for Tourism in Israel

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Israel’s Tourism Ministry’s aggressive pitch to bring Christians to visit Israel has paid off with another record-breaking year for visitors, led by Americans and Russians who accounted for nearly 35 percent of tourists.

Three-quarters of the tourists visited Jerusalem, and 68 percent arrived at the Western Wall, Israel’s most popular attraction.

Only 28 percent of the visitors in 2013 were Jewish, reflecting the ministry’s campaign aimed at Christians, who accounted for 53 percent of incoming tourists. Half of them were Catholic.

Tourism now accounts for approximately 56 percent of the work force.

December saw an even greater increase in the number of visitors, with a 14  percent rise over the same month in 2012.. A visitor is defined as one who stays at least one night in a hotel. The number of day visitors decreased last month.

The average U.S. visitor spent $1,865 per trip, not including the flight.

Peres: Israel Won’t Tolerates Attacks on Holy (Christian) Sites

Monday, December 30th, 2013

President Shimon Peres delivered a Christian New Year’s message enthusiastically proclaiming that Israel “will continue to guarantee access to holy sites for all” in the wake of recent “price tag” attacks on Christian sites.

“There is no place for violence in our society, even more so when it targets people or places of faith,” he said in remarks that have not been heard often, if it all, following official Palestinian Authority policies to obstruct Jews from praying at holy sites in Judea and Samaria.

President Peres hosted a reception on Monday at his residence in Jerusalem for the heads of the Christian denominations in Israel and said, “The State of Israel will not tolerate aggression against members of the clergy. I feel angry at the insults some religious leaders in Israel have faced recently. Israel has always been and will always remain committed to freedom of worship, freedom of religion.”

That is not entirely true. Jews are not free to pray on the Temple Mount; they need armed escorts to pray at Joseph’s Tomb (Kever Yosef) in Shechem; they often are victims of rock throwing at Rachel’s Tomb (Kever Rachel), despite its being surrounded by a wall; anti-Semitic vandalism often takes place at the Patriarchs’ Cave (Ma’arah HaMachpela) in Hevron; and the ancient synagogue in Jericho is usually out of bounds.

Any Jew trying to visit the ancient synagogue in Samoa, in the southern Hevron Hills, would leave in a coffins, or if lucky, on a stretcher.

Peres again offered his solution to the problems between Arabs and Jews. Just give the Arabs what they want, and there will be peace.

“Our peace talks with the Palestinians are ongoing; they are the greatest promise for our people and for the Palestinians,” in remarked. “An agreement between us can bring a change in the relations between Jews and Muslims and between all faiths.”

At least this time he said an agreement “can” bring peace instead of stating it “will” bring peace, just like every other agreement the past decades only brought war.

Greek Orthodox Patriarch His Beatitude Theophilos III told the invited guests on behalf of the Christian leader, “We take this opportunity to express our appreciation in particular to you, Mr. President for the determined and strong voice that you have been raising in condemning the wave of ‘Price Tag’ crimes in our country, and especially in Jerusalem….

“In order to avoid repeating the mistakes of bitter experience, there is more that can be done, both to facilitate access to the Holy Places for pilgrims from a distance as well as from our local communities.”

Of course, he did not remind anyone that until 1967, when Israel took back sovereignty of Judea and Samaria and all of Jerusalem after nearly 2,000 years and opened all holy sites to all religions, they were closed under the Jordanian occupation.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/peres-israel-wont-tolerates-attacks-on-holy-christian-sites/2013/12/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: