Photo Credit: Yosarian, via Wikimedia
Church of all Nations, Jerusalem.

The Catholic Church, the country of Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority are attempting to turn one mad person’s arson attempt in a Jerusalem church into an all-out campaign against religious Jews.

Yehoshua Alkobi, 49, a Jewish resident of Jerusalem, was arrested on Friday on suspicion of trying to set fire to the Church of All Nations on Mount Olives. A church guard took control of the suspect after the latter had poured flammable liquid on a church bench, causing minor damage to the bench and to the mosaic floor. When police arrived, Alkobi was arrested and taken for questioning. It would be remiss to not point out that the suspect had previously been arrested on suspicion of setting fire to brothels in Tel Aviv and stalls in the Old City of Jerusalem.

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Police initially said the motive for the incident was criminal, but the Roman Catholic church resented the idea, and so on Sunday the charges were changed to suggest the background for the crime was nationalistic.

And the Church went to town. Wadia Abu Nasser, the spokesman for the Catholic Churches in Israel, said in an interview on Kan 11 Saturday night that the problem was not merely security-related, it was also educational.

“This is not the first time we have seen a religious Jew commit an act against Christians,” Abu Nasser said, inevitably bringing to mind those millennia of Jewish pogroms against helpless Christians. He added a current gripe, saying, “Just a few weeks ago a Magen David Adom paramedic spat at a picture of Jesus. There’s a significant educational problem, especially towards Christians.”

And he said it with a straight face. While here and there a religious Jew in Israel might express his contempt for what passes for a monotheistic religion these days, Christians are under severe persecution under the PA and Hamas, resulting in their disappearance. In the 1970s, Christians in Judea and Samaria made up about five percent of the population there. Since then, their number has been declining, down to two percent today. In 1950, Bethlehem was a distinctly Christian city, with a majority of 86% Christian residents. Today the share of Christians in the city’s population stands at less than ten percent, and the negative trend continues.

In Gaza, the situation is even worse. Of the thousands of Christians who lived there in the past, only a few hundred remain, who are under constant persecution and threats and suffer severe restrictions on Christian holidays.

Immediately after the Six-Day War, hundreds of Bethlehem dignitaries appealed to the Israeli government, requesting that Israel annex the city, including the Church of the Nativity. In 1995, Bethlehem Christian Mayor Elias Frij begged then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin not to withdraw from Bethlehem under the Oslo Accords, out of fear for the future of the local Christians. Rabin requested an official and public appeal from the heads of the churches in this matter, which they refused to do so, and Israel withdrew from Bethlehem and transferred control of the city to the Palestinian Authority. Since then, the situation of the Christians there has been deteriorating, courtesy of the heads of the churches. (The figures above appear in Mida, Fear and loathing in Bethlehem, Jan. 14, 2018).

But instead of acting in any way on behalf of the receding Christian community in the PA and Gaza, the churches prefer to use this act of a crazy person with a yarmulke on his head in a crusade against religious Jews in the only country in the Middle East, with the possible exception of Lebanon, where Christians do not fear for their lives and are, in fact, thriving.

Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, also jumped in on the opportunity to sling mud at the Jewish State which is the only barrier between his community and being massacred by the local Muslim. The Patriarch revved up the crazy, declaring: “This radical act is a crime inspired by an extremist ideology that seeks to keep Christians away from the Holy Land.”

In Egypt, where Coptic Christians are killed in broad daylight on the streets, and where Coptic women and girls are abducted and forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men, the country’s leading Islamic institute Al-Azhar called the arson attempt “repugnant” and declared that it stems from “an extremist terrorist ideology based on the hatred of others,” suggesting “terrorist Israeli groups that commit acts of violence are no less dangerous than ISIS.”

Do you see what one Jewish meshugener can accomplish? These folks are giving hypocrisy a bad name…

The Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also condemned the “heinous crime” and called on “the Israeli occupation authorities to abide by their obligations under international law as an occupying power to hold the perpetrators to account and take all necessary measures to prevent any similar attacks in the future.”

See? “Perpetrators.” One disturbed Jew with a can of petrol. Of course, those condemnations have been written years ago, even as our grandfathers and grandmothers were being burned alive across Europe, and forced—between pogroms—to wear pointy hats and not to dare set foot on the sidewalks in the great Arab empires of North Africa and the Levant. Why, even today, any Israeli who is misled by his car’s GPS into, say, downtown Ramallah, would be lucky to come home alive.

PA Prime Minister Mohammad a-Shtayyeh noted that “while the world was preparing for Christmas celebrations, young Palestinians managed to thwart an arson and terrorist act by a settler.”

Excuse me? It was the guard, not “young Palestinians,” and the guy is not a settler – but, of course, to the PA any Israeli is a settler, including the 2-staters who live in Tel Aviv.

A-Shtayyeh added that “this is not an isolated incident, but the result of racist discourse and incitement against the Palestinians in Jerusalem. Israel bears full responsibility for this heinous event.”

Which is a direct quote from the Gemora (Shevuot 39a): “And they shall stumble one upon another” (Leviticus 26:37). This verse is interpreted to mean that the Israelites shall stumble spiritually, one over to the iniquity of the other, which teaches that the entire people of Israel are considered guarantors for one another (Kol Israel areivim zeh l’zeh).

A-Shtayyeh, like so many Jew-haters before him, is right. Any stupid or crazy thing any one of us pulls goes on the rest of us. Class dismissed.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.