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.
It's ironic that Archbishop Murad, who predicted that Israel would use the security barrier to deny Palestinians "freedom of movement", has freely crossed the barrier to preside over his community's celebrations in Bethlehem and Jerusalem -- until the Palestinian Authority denied him that freedom last week.
The second day of the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference, devoted to Muslim extremism, potentially held the most promise and the greatest challenge, but unfortunately the speakers were largely silent on the challenging reality for Christians living in Muslim countries.
Read the wonderful story of what happened when an Israeli Arab woman approached Dr. Erez Soref of One For Israel at a Pastor's conference last week in Nazareth.
With the numbers of Arab Christian recruits growing and with the Christmas Season being celebrated in large pockets all over Israel, the party was a perfect opportunity to thank the soldiers for their contributions and service to Israel and present them with gifts.