Today finds us in Haifa in northern Israel and my guest is Joseph Hadad – the pastor of River of God, a Lebanese church in Nahariya, a small town in Israel on the border with Lebanon.
As churches across Jerusalem proclaimed the Easter story and city streets were filled with the declarations in Arabic and Latin of Jesus’ death and resurrection, cyberspace was also abuzz as a platform for the message of Jesus to be shared in Hebrew — and from an unlikely source.
Khalil writes, "On Feb. 1, I awoke to the news that a bus full of “settlers” had careened into the valley near the settlement of Ma'ale Levona... But in the midst of this awful accident, a compassionate Palestinian family, the Al-Azzeh’s, stepped out of their comfort zone to help rescue the injured on the cold, rainy night." Read about Khalil's meeting with the Al-Azzeh family.
Yesterday, January 18, the Israeli Knesset approved a bill that makes it easier for Arabic-speaking Christians in Israel to officially list their identity as Arameans.
England and Wales Catholic leader’s visit to the Gaza Strip on Sunday was an encouragement to the territory’s 1,200 remaining Christians who comprise less than 1 percent of the enclave’s 1.8 million population.
Paul Calvert of Focus on Israel-Radio interviews Nizar Shaheen, founder and president of Light For All Nations Ministries, which is the longest-running Arabic language Christian television program.
In speaking of his church in Nazareth, Saleem shares, "We need to be focused on outreach. The church needs to go to the people, rather than waiting for the people to come to church. The church can be like an aquarium and we forget the sea!"
Lela writes, "In Bethlehem, Christians are not just a minority population in an overwhelmingly Muslim community. They aren’t simply marginalized; they don’t just suffer discrimination. Too often, they are threatened and intimidated; injured or even killed. They are cautious. They are uneasy. Many of them live in fear."
Perhaps Father Naddaf's most significant contribution to Israeli society is an IDF recruitment drive in Christian communities, as he felt that conscription is an important way to promote integration and co-existence.
Amid cries of Israel being an Apartheid state, not treating its minorities with equality and chasing Christians away, the opposite is true. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign affairs has a very comprehensive understanding of its Christian citizens, who are a minority within a minority.