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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Christians’

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.

There’s No Such Thing as Judeo-Christian Values

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Back in 2008, David Klinghofer, who used the be the Forward’s token Republican, published a book titled How Would God Vote?: Why the Bible Commands You to Be a Conservative. I seriously disliked his book, not because I see anything wrong with Conservatism or Conservatives – my most admired politicians have been Sam Nunn and Henry “Scoop” Jackson – but I couldn’t stomach the liberties Klinghofer was taking with rabbinic tradition, to produce a book that, in my opinion, belonged on the shelves of a Presbyterian, and not a Jewish library.

My good friend and publisher Larry Yudelson and I decided, in the summer of 2008, to write a rebuttal which we titled, aptly enough: How Would God REALLY Vote: A Jewish Rebuttal to David Klinghoffer’s Conservative Polemic.

Larry contributed most of the entries, I was responsible for, I believe, 5 out of the 15. One of my major peeves regarding Klinghofer’s book was his view on the  liaison between Christians and Jews.

In his opening chapter, “With God or Against Him,” Klinghoffer sets up a premise that’s hard to follow, not because of its complexity, but because of what we on the Lower East Side would call a mishmash of concepts:

It should go without saying that my political reading of the Bible is my own, drawing on the oldest biblical interpretive tradition, claiming roots that go back three thousand years and found in the Talmud and other ancient rabbinic texts. Yet Scripture’s vision of the ideal society does not belong to Jews alone. 

The paragraph reminded me of the old Jewish joke, which is better spoken, but since I don’t know most of you personally, you’ll have to do the voices in your head:

A gentile professor of Judaic Studies in Iowa finds out that to really learn the Talmud he must go to the Boro Park section of Brooklyn and find himself a teacher. The professor flies over and knocks on a basement door and this little Jew comes out. Upon seeing him, the professor asks to be taught the Talmud, but the little Jews says, “I can’t teach you Tal-mud, you got a goyeshe kop, you just don’t think Jewish.”

The professor insists. The little Jew says, “OK, solve this problem, and I’ll teach you:

“Two people go down a chimney. One stays clean, the other gets completely schmutzig, filthy. Which one washes up?”

The professor eagerly answers, “The dirty one, naturally.”

The little Jew wails: “Goyeshe kop, goyeshe kop! I told you I can’t teach you anything. Listen, the schmutzig guy sees the clean guy. Schmutzig doesn’t see any problem. But the clean guy sees the schmutzig guy and figures he must be just as dirty, so he goes and washes. I told you, you got a goyeshe kop. I can’t help you.”

The professor begs for another chance, and the little Jew gives in, suggesting a new problem to solve:

“Two people go down a chimney. One stays clean, the other gets completely schmutzig. Which one of them would wash up?”

The professor says, “Sure, I know this one, it’s the clean fellow.”

At this, the little Jew wails, “Goyeshe kop, the clean one takes a look at the dirty one and says, Moishe, you’re all schmutzig, go wash already! Enough. I really can’t help you, mister, you got a goyeshe kop.”

The professor begs for one last chance, and the little Jews says, “Fine, one last chance, I’ll give you a completely new problem, then you’ll leave me alone:

“Two people go down a chimney. One stays clean, the other gets completely schmutzig. Which one of them washes up?”

At this point, if you’re telling this joke, it’s all physical stuff, as the poor professor from Iowa freezes, unable to decide which of the two conflicting solu-tions to choose. The little Jew can’t stand it anymore and interjects, “Goyeshe kop, who ever heard of two people going down a chimney and only one of them gets schmutzig?”

For me, this joke illustrates the essence of Rabbinic Judaism. Hardly interested in developing uniform answers or dogmas, Rabbinic Jews love dispute, which enshrines all opinions. We actually celebrate the Talmud’s pluralism with the declaration: These and these, too, are the words of a living God (Eruv. 13b, Gitin 6b, to name just two out of hundreds).

How can Klinghoffer say that he represents a tradition of 3000 years of rabbinic interpretation and in the same breath claim that there’s such a specific thing as “Scripture’s vision?”

When you read Klinghoffer’s book—keep in mind the image of the little Boro Park Jew, his hands raised to the heavens, wailing: “Goyeshe kop!” Because, to be honest, someone who has internalized the free spirit of our rabbinic sages would not seriously try to classify them either as right-wing conservatives, or as left-wing liberals.

The legal foundation for rabbinic law is found in Deuteronomy 17:8-10:

If some issue is beyond your understanding, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, as it might be a matter of controversy for you, then you will go up to the place which God chooses, and inquire with the priests the Levites, and with the judge that will rule in your days. And they will show you the sentence of judgment. And you will follow their sentence, given in the place which God will choose, and you will observe to do ac-cording to all that they instruct you.

In other words, if something comes up which is too difficult for you to decide on your own, go ask somebody who knows.

This dovetails nicely with the Mishna’s recommendation: Aseh l’cha rav, “Appoint for yourself a master and a mentor.” This phrasing indicates that you are an intrinsic part of the equation and that the arbiter you choose should be one who knows and understands you and your circumstances.

These two combined ideas, that you should seek advice on stuff you can’t figure out for yourself, and that the advice you seek should come from someone who knows you, suggest that the average Joe in Torah Land is a highly intuitive person and well versed in the law, who follows his personal notions and personal path, except when he gets stuck.

We are encouraged to act independently and intuitively concerning the entire gamut of Torah law—in matters large and small. The phrasing of the text (Deuteronomy 17:8) is ki yipaleh mimcha, lit.: “Should it be too wondrous for you.” This suggests a reliance for deciding proper behavior based on relative intuition, rather than strict knowledge.

This extremely individualized approach to morality and the law is profoundly emphasized when the Mishna describes wealth as a function of an individual’s assessment of his own satisfaction, rather than some arbitrary number of gold pieces in his coffers. In the Mishna’s view: Eizaehu Ashir? Hasame’ach b’chelko. “Who is wealthy? One who is content with his share.” (Avot 4)

Indeed, I would define the rabbinic view on politics as the sanctification of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Contentment. (Could this be characterized as a conservative idea?)

If the Torah envisions us as independent thinkers, each pursuing a personal definition of material well being, how could it possibly advocate a party line, whether conservative Republican or liberal Democratic? It stands to reason that, at its core, the Torah would encourage us to examine which of the two choices best matches our individual political needs and aspirations and vote accordingly.

In that sense, abortion is not a “yes” or “no” issue, to be decided on a strictly dogmatic basis, but an issue that reflects conflicting public and private needs. Likewise, every topic Klinghoffer deals with in his book, from women’s issues to gay marriages to state-run schools to taxes to war, should be examined not according to dogma, but according to needs.

This pragmatic approach to politics rejects ideological litmus tests from the left, too. (This is why the American political system, with its direct voting for a local representative, is much more in line with rabbinic tradition than the Israeli system, in which one votes for a slate, often one based on ideology.) Government’s job is to help improve my living conditions, not my morality.

Klinghoffer writes:

As an Orthodox Jew, I offer this book as a call to arms to America’s mostly Christian conservative voters.

And:

John McCain was right when he said, in a 2000 interview on beliefnet.com, that our “nation was founded primarily on Christian principles. ” That fact should have practical consequences.

Klinghoffer proceeds to contrast these views with those of whom he dubs the “New Atheists.” But I suspect that inside the Orthodox Jewish world, Klinghoffer would have a hard time convincing anyone of the need to apply “practical consequences” to the Christian principles upon which this country was, supposedly, founded.

He would likely hear angry grumbling on topics like the Crusades, during which Christian zealots decimated Jewish communities. He might hear a thing or two about how the Inquisition applied its Christian values to destroy the thriving Jewish centers of Spain and Portugal. Or he might hear about the European Holocaust and our annihilation at the hands of our faithful Christian neighbors. Pope Pious XII’s name might pop up in that context, as an example of how conservative Christian leaders responded when Jews were swept away in rivers of their own blood.

But even if we were to forgive Klinghoffer’s imperfect awareness of Jewish history, the very assumption of such a thing as universally accepted Christian principles is patently wrong, just like the notion that the U.S. Constitution is based on them.

Klinghoffer must be familiar with historian Brooke Allen’s popular book Moral Minority (Ivan R. Dee, 2007), in which she shows that the six most important founders—Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton—were Enlightenment-style deists, who rejected the notion of making religion a basis for political life.

They valued the separation of church and state. They devoted a passage in the US Constitution to eschewing religion as a basis for political life. They talked about God the “Divine Author” (Washington) or the “Superior Agent” (Jefferson). The Founding Fathers weren’t atheists—nobody was in the 18th century. (Nobody except Thomas Paine, that is.) But to suggest that someone like George Washington would look to the Bible to “apply practical consequences” to political life is tantamount to telling a lie—which we have on reliable tradition that our first president was incapable of doing.

Putting aside the argument over historical revisionism, try Googling “Christian principles” and see if you can come up with any meaningful consensus. I couldn’t.

Jewish principles are easier to pin down: Open a siddur (prayer book) and right after the morning service, you find Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles of Faith. They are short, compact, and easy to remember—and there is even a rhyming version for sing-alongs.

Maybe Klinghoffer was spoiled by that gem of rabbinic marketing prowess and he figured the gentile prayer books offered a similar amenity. Fuggedaboutit. Everyone—from Marxist Catholics to Attila the Hun Evangelists—cites his own unique idea of Christian principles as the basis for his agenda. The Bible is a big book and there are enough verses to suit everyone’s moral preferences. You want a couple of examples?

The National Council of Churches Justice and Advocacy Commission offers the following “Christian Principles in an Election Year:”

1. War is contrary to the will of God.
2. God calls us to live in communities shaped by peace and cooperation.
3. God created us for each other, and thus our security depends on the well being of our global neigh-bors.
4. God calls us to be advocates for those who are most vulnerable in our society.
5. Each human being is created in the image of God and is of infinite worth.
6. The earth belongs to God and is intrinsically good.
7. Christians have a biblical mandate to welcome strangers.
8. Those who follow Christ are called to heal the sick.
9. Because of the transforming power of God’s grace, all humans are called to be in right relationship with each other.

On the other hand, a story on Ekklesia (“a think-tank that promotes transformative theological ideas in public life”) from April 15, 2003, informs:

The Rev. Pat Robertson, the founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Christian Coalition, said many Christians who support the war believe the biblical principles of loving one’s enemy means that precautions must be taken to minimize civilian casualties.

“…As long as we continue the course we’re on,” Mr. Robertson said, referring to the overall concern for Iraqi civilians, “we’re on solid ground, not only in terms of Christian, biblical concepts, but also in terms of public relations.”

As Iraqi casualties, by conservative counts, have reached a hundred thousand (not to mention the countless injured and an estimated two million displaced) one shudders at the projected magnitude of the butchery had the good reverend not insisted upon minimizing civilian suffering….

So, which are the authentic Christian principles that the U.S. is founded upon? “Welcome the stranger,” or “shoot every stranger that moves?” Klinghoffer is not very specific here, although I suspect that the kind of Christian principles he endorses would have driven Jesus into one of his famous table-throwing tantrums.

But even if, somehow, the Bible Belt’s Jesus Jumpers found common Christian principles with St. John the Divine’s watercress sandwich crowd—which is one big If—what resonance would these principles have with religious Jews?

Having conjured the notion of universal Christian principles out of whole cloth, Klinghoffer now moves on to another product of the American imagination: “Judeo-Christian values.”

…Pretending to fight “theocracy,” secularists are in fact attempting a radical redirection of American life that seeks to silence the authentic Judeo-Christian heritage that has sustained America since the country’s inception.

Klinghoffer should read Arthur Allen Cohen’s The Myth of the Judeo-Christian Tradition (Harper & Row, 1969), which questions the appropriateness of the term, theologically and historically, suggesting instead that it is an invention of American politics.

Cohen thinks that there is simply no such thing as Judeo-Christian tradition. He points to the fact that the two religions have had separate theological agendas for the last two thousand years.

Or, if Klinghoffer prefers a gentile’s opinion:

The label “Judeo-Christian” tends to assume, at the expense of Judaism, that Christians and Jews believe essentially the same things. Besides glossing over the very real and important theological and liturgical differences, it tends to subsume Jewish traditions within an umbrella that is dominated by Christian ideas and practices. (Religion and the Workplace: Pluralism, Spirituality, Leadership, by Douglas A. Hicks; Cambridge University Press, 2003)

Let’s be clear: Far from “sharing” one tradition, Orthodox Jews are prohibited from marrying Christians, setting foot inside a Christian church—and we can’t even drink from an open bottle of kosher wine that has been used by a Christian. We reject the Christian idea of salvation, we abhor Christian divine teachings on every subject, and we are repulsed and outraged by incessant attempts by Christian missionaries to bring us into their fold.

It is particularly disturbing when Klinghoffer makes statements which reveal his complete assumption of elements of New Testament Pauline ideology, for instance, the requirement that wives submit to their husband’s authority. There is no mandate on precisely how a woman should behave with her husband—Jews expect the happy couple to work it out for themselves. Also, while divorce may be a tragedy, and God cries, it is in no way banned—in Judaism, that is. The story in Christianity, and Klinghoffer’s “Judeo-Christian Biblical America,” is different.

Incidentally, we have more in common with Muslims than we do with Christians; Jewish law permits Jews to enter a mosque… but not a church.

To insist that we have some kind of bond with religious Christians because of similar core values, is to propagate a terrible lie. Christians who base their views on what they call the Old Testament, don’t view Mosaic law as an abiding legal text. The Church has abolished Torah law as part of its attempt to abolish the very idea of Jewish nationhood.

Pauline anti-Judaism seems not to be through the left hand as an implication of his Christology; rather his teaching on the law appears to be a spear in his right hand aimed straight at the heart of Judaism, that is, Torah… [Paul] does not disagree with individual Jews but with Judaism itself, saying that Christianity has replaced it. By attacking the law as such, Paul appears to attack not abuses and personal failings but the essence of Israel. (Paul and the Torah, by Lloyd Gaston; University of British Columbia Press, 1987.)

Jews and Christians differ on every single fundamental principle—even on the meaning of core Scriptural texts. More crucially, Christians rely on the Old Testament for legal delineation; whereas Jews rely solely upon our rabbinic tradition. We never, ever turn to our Bible for legal guidance, only to our rabbinic literature. To suggest that our Sages had anything at all in common with the likes of Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Carter or Pat Robertson is a slap in the face of 2500 years of scholarship.

“Judeo-Christian” is as valid a concept as happy-joylessness, or tall dwarves. Klinghoffer’s yearnings for this repugnant “ideal” is a deviant phenomenon without a trace of commonality in traditional Jewish thought, ancient or modern.

I have deep respect for religious leaders active in the interfaith arena, who seek to communicate and cooperate with Christians on political and social issues. But I resent Klinghoffer’s attempt to erect an ideological partnership between Christianity and its blameless victims.

David Klinghoffer attempts to rile up his readers through an attack on the “atheist left.” In the process, he manages to break away from the very rabbinic Judaism he claims as his base. This book will attempt to correct his errors, which are numerous, not in an attempt to persuade readers that God’s vote is with liberal lefties rather than with conservative righties, but, instead, to uphold our rabbinic tradition of multiple opinions. What this means in practice is that you can’t cry “God says so” in a crowded town hall meeting.


This article was originally published in How Would God REALLY Vote: A Jewish Rebuttal to David Klinghoffer’s Conservative Polemic by Larry Yudelson and Yori Yanover. Starting this week, readers can access the Kindle Edition for only $5.99.

Surge in Israeli Christians Serving in the IDF

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

The number of Christians enlisting in the IDF has doubled since the establishment of the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum slightly more than year ago.

According to the forum’s data, 84 Christian soldiers have enlisted since June 2013 alone, a number that not long ago was not reached in an entire year

Nearly 90 Christian soldiers  from all over the country and from all IDF units met together earlier this week in the Lower Galilee city of  Nazareth Illit, where Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told them, “The purpose of this forum is clear: to engage Christians who serve in the IDF. The importance of your actions goes without saying…. I salute and support all of you. I know that the mission is not always easy.”

Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest and president of the Forum, told the soldiers, “As a Christian spiritual teacher living in the Middle East, I understand that human rights are not something to be taken for granted. For that, I thank the Jewish people and the State of Israel. I believe in cooperation between Jews and Christians and our shared fate in a Jewish country. I believe that we can contribute to Israel and I call on all Christians to join the army and help us to protect this country.”

Foreign Ministry Lectures Abbas on History of Jesus the Jew

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Jesus was born a Jew more than 1,500 years before Islam appeared in the world, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Tuesday in a mockery of Mahmoud Abbas’’ annual assertion that “Jesus was a Palestinian .”

Abbas wished Christians in the Palestinian Authority, which until only a few years ago harassed and attacked Christians in Bethlehem and elsewhere, a happy holiday and reminded them, “Jesus, the first Palestinian, was born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago and brought a message and path for millions of people in the world.”

The chairman of the Palestinian Authority added, “We try to walk in his path exactly as we Palestinians fight for our freedom.” He did not mention the path of “resistance,” the Arabs’ code word for terror, as being consistent with that of Jesus.

Palmor retorted, “Abbas should take a look at the New Testament before uttering such nonsense, but we can forgive him because he doesn’t know what he is doing.

“He ‘forgot’ that the year of the birth of Jesus was 600 years before the birth of the Prophet Mohammed and Islam. He also forgot a second detail – the fact that Jesus was from a Jewish family and lived as a Jew, and it is reasonable to assume that if he were to arrive in the Palestinian Authority today, the Arabs would gouge out his eyes and teeth.”

Just Say No to Nittel Nacht

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Back in Yeshiva elementary school I was introduced to the holiday of Nittel Nacht, which happened to coincidentally always fall on the eve of December 25th.

There was excitement in the class, a night that it is assur (forbidden) to learn Torah!

“What do we do instead?” a fellow classmate asked.

And we nearly all fell off our chairs when the answer from the Rabbi was, “Stay home and play cards,” which was, of course, amazing, since we were taught that playing cards wasn’t even allowed on Shabbat.

What a great holiday.

And the Rabbi explained why:

The night of Nittel Nacht is one of great impurity, where evil and dangerous spirits run around outside, and we aren’t allowed to go outside, so they couldn’t harm us.

And since we must be inside with nothing to do, we should normally be learning Torah. But since we don’t want those evil spirits to get the Zechut (merit) for our Torah learning, since we can’t go outside because of them, we do meaningless things instead.

But I always wondered about one contradiction:

Since we were also taught that the world continues to exist only because there is always at least one person learning Torah at any time, if we’re telling everyone not to learn at the same time, wouldn’t the world be destroyed?

There are additonal customs associated with Nittel Nacht, such as eating garlic to ward off the demons (particularly you know whose), praying Aleinu out loud (since that is the prayer against idolatry), and not going to sleep all night. You can read about more Nittel Nacht customs on Hirhurim.

But now, lets step back a bit from the edge.

The custom obviously began in Jewish communities that lived among Christians.

On Christmas Eve (on whichever date they celebrated it on in that community), the Christians would get plastered (with spirits) and wander the streets beating up Jews and organizing pogroms, and killing more Jews.

So as a result, Jews learned that, on Christmas, don’t let the drunk goyim see you, and then they won’t kill you. So Jews didn’t go outside to the Beis Midrash or the Shul.

As to not learning, obviously, people started coming up with additional explanations as to why we don’t learn, though I think the most likely is that if the Christians saw a light on in your house (which you kept on for reading), they were likely to grasp that you were inside and then, maybe, try to burn the house down with you in it. And the same thing for not going to sleep. How would you see the drunk Christians  approaching to burn down your house if you weren’t awake to spot them coming — and run?

Voodoo explanations aside, historically there were very good reasons for Jews to not go outside on Nittel Nacht.

In fact, I would say that today (for people in America and Modi’in), the visual and audio spiritual impurity issues are far more relevant reasons why one should not go outside on Nittel Nacht, as opposed to the more traditional dangers of Christian violence and pogroms.

But, my original question regarding Torah learning has never been answered to my satisfaction. Because if I was planning to be learning Torah anyway, there is no way the evil forces should see any merit from my actions, and if there isn’t at least one person learning Torah, what would support the world?

So, tonight, on Nittel Nacht, I won’t be going outside, even though I’m in Eretz Yisrael and we don’t really have that problem here, but I will be learning Torah, because why should we allow evil forces to cause Bittul Torah (cancellation of Torah learning), and, perhaps, with everyone else not learning Torah, I could be the one who supports the entire world!.

So just say no to Nittel Nacht, or at least the part about no Torah learning.

Abbas Reveals How the Palestinian Authority Stole Christmas

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

The Palestinian Authority has used a video and the revision of history to turn Christmas into a tool to rewrite history, with Jesus having been born in a “Palestinian” city and modern-day Christians suddenly being an “integral part of the Palestinian people.”

Christians, like Jews, were denied access to holy sites during the Jordan occupation from 1949 until 1967. The PA regime in Bethlehem has been heavily influenced by Islamists and Christians, once a majority in the city, have fled the city and only a small minority remain.

The Palestinian Authority the past several years has tried to show that Christians were forced to leave Bethlehem because of economic conditions, and Abbas this year has issued an official later stating, “We celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem under occupation. This Christmas Eve, our hearts and prayers will be with the millions who are being denied their right to worship in their homeland.”

He turned the Christians from being a minority into being “an integral part…of the rich mosaic of this free, sovereign, democratic and pluralistic Palestine we aspire to have and as established in our declaration of independence and draft constitution.”

Abbas has been ruling the “democratic” Palestinian Authority for more than five years since the end of his term of office following the first, last and only elections.

The “rich mosaic” in the Palestinian Authority  does not include Jews, who he repeatedly has declared will not be permitted to live in a future PA state and whose ancient synagogues dot Judea and Samaria, from Kever Yosef in the north to Samoa and Susiya in the south and Jericho to the east.

Abbas called Jesus a “Palestinian messenger who would become a guiding light for millions around the world. …This Christmas Eve, our hearts and prayers will be with the millions who are being denied their right to worship in their homeland.”

That leaves open the question of who is denying whom their rights?

Israeli opened up holy sites to all religions after the Six-Day War in 1967. Since the Oslo Accords, which heralded the American vision of a “New Middle East,” the Palestinian Authority has systemically worked to bar Jews from praying at synagogues at Kever Yosef (Cave of Joseph) in Shechem, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the ancient synagogue in Jericho.

Abbas’ holiday statement tried to convince people to feel sorry for the Palestinian Authority by conjuring up the image of “our people in Gaza, trapped under siege, and of those who are prevented from worshipping in Bethlehem. “

He apparently was referring to the tiny number of Christians remaining in Gaza, where the Hamas regime has harassed them and burned churches and Christian book stores.

Abbas, never missing an opportunity to create demands that to end an opportunity for a PA state, also brought into his statement the Arabs living in UNRWA “refugee camps in Beirut…along with all of our Palestinian refugees – Christians and Muslims – uprooted from their hometowns in 1948 and who, since that time, have suffered the vicissitudes of a forced exile.”

They are refugees only because the United Nations has made then refugees, a status ti does not extend to any other world refugee’s second generation. The designation also has helped Lebanon and other host countries to refuse them citizenship.

Abbas even reached to South and North American to ask the world to feel sorry for the “Bethlehemites [who] will be lighting their candles in Santiago de Chile, Chicago, San Pedro de Sula, Melbourne and Toronto.”

He also put in a good word for Pope Francis, who is scheduled to visit Bethlehem in May, where he will continue the Vatican’s pro-Palestinian Authority agenda.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/abbas-reveals-how-the-palestinian-authority-stole-christmas/2013/12/23/

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