True Stories – Why are Christians the most persecuted of all Religions of the World? Focus on Saudi Arabia and Israel:Prayer and Fasting for the Persecuted Churches Day 24 of 40

True Stories – Why are Christians the most persecuted of all Religions of the World? Focus on Saudi Arabia and Israel: Prayer and Fasting for the Persecuted Churches Day 24 of 40

True Stories – Why are Christians the most persecuted of all Religions of the World? Focus on Saudi Arabia and Israel: Prayer and Fasting for the Persecuted Churches Day 24 of 40

 

#persecution #christianpersecution #prayer #fasting #prayingforpersecutedchurch #fortydayfast #china #chinesechurches #saudiarabia #westernworld #africanchurches #europeanchurches #israelichurches #persecutionisrael #truestories #persecutedchurches #persecutedchristians #persecutedleaders

Sunday, 9th of April 2023

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Podcast link:

https://anchor.fm/otakada/episodes/True-Stories–Why-are-Christians-the-most-persecuted—Focus-on-Saudi-Arabia–Israel-e2227oo

Blog link:

https://www.otakada.org/true-stories-why-are-christians-the-most-persecuted-of-all-religions-of-the-world-focus-on-saudi-arabia-and-israelprayer-and-fasting-for-the-persecuted-churches-day-24-of-40/

YouTube link:

https://youtu.be/k4ycKAJua64

Day 24 of 40 – Prayer and Fasting for Church (You and I) and Leadership: Praying for the Persecuted Churches in China, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Africa and the Western World 

True Stories – Why are Christians the most persecuted of all Religions of the World? Focus on Saudi Arabia and Israel: Prayer and Fasting for the Persecuted Churches Day 24 of 40

Happy Easter Friends!

May the resurrection power that raised Jesus from death and He is now seated at the right side of God over 2000 years ago bring to life all that God has deposited in you for His glory in this times and seasons in Jesus name, 🙏

May it never be proclaimed when we meet Jesus on the other side that all you did after being saved from your sins and delivered into the kingdom of His dear Son –  Jesus was to come ALONE without bringing another soul along with you that was saved as a result of your engagement with them in Jesus name, Amen

You are saved to serve and in serving, bring others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Jesus assures us that as long as we are in this part of eternity and truly representing Him, as His disciples, we will be persecuted. If we have not been persecuted since we became christians, then we are giving to much away. We are playing too save for comfort. Obviously, to protect our bellies, to protect our pride and to protect our lives.

Are we greater than Jesus? He said, if they persecuted Him, we will be persecuted. Hear from Jesus straight up via this text:

19 If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you.

20 Remember that I told you, A servant is not greater than his master [is not superior to him]. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word and obeyed My teachings, they will also keep and obey yours.

21 But they will do all this to you [inflict all this suffering on you] because of [your bearing] My name and on My account, for they do not know or understand the One Who sent Me.

On Friday, we looked at this title, “True Stories – Why are Christians the most persecuted of all Religions of the World? – Focus on China – Day 22 of 40 Prayers”

You can find the link here: https://www.otakada.org/true-stories-why-are-christians-the-most-persecuted-of-all-religions-of-the-world-focus-on-china-day-22-of-40-prayers/

You ask, How do get involved in the great harvest of souls for this time? Start by praying for people in your Family who don’t know Jesus, take a step further to those in your community, to your state, to your nation, to the nations of the world. Pray for those who worship with you that you know have not encountered Jesus and Jesus has not encountered them. Pray for those in your office and your business or your school. Ask the Lord to encounter them, to draw them to Himself. See how the Lord prepares their heart.Be sensitive to His promptings concerning those for whom you are interceding as the Holy Spirit provide the needed guidance on the next step and the next step and the next step.

The example I like to bring to you today is the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch.

26 But an angel of the Lord said to Philip, Rise and proceed southward or at midday on the road that runs from Jerusalem down to Gaza. This is the desert [[a]route].

27 So he got up and went. And behold, an Ethiopian, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship.

28 And he was [now] returning, and sitting in his chariot he was reading the book of the prophet Isaiah.

29 Then the [Holy] Spirit said to Philip, Go forward and join yourself to this chariot.

30 Accordingly Philip, running up to him, heard [the man] reading the prophet Isaiah and asked, Do you really understand what you are reading?

31 And he said, How is it possible for me to do so unless someone explains it to me and guides me [in the right way]? And he earnestly requested Philip to come up and sit beside him.

32 Now this was the passage of Scripture which he was reading: Like a sheep He was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is dumb, so He opens not His mouth.

33 In His humiliation [b] He was taken away by distressing and oppressive judgment and justice was denied Him [caused to cease]. Who can describe or relate in full [c]the wickedness of His contemporaries (generation)? For His life is taken from the earth and[d]a bloody death inflicted upon Him.

34 And the eunuch said to Philip, I beg of you, tell me about whom does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?

35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this portion of Scripture he announced to him the glad tidings (Gospel) of Jesus and about Him.

36 And as they continued along on the way, they came to some water, and the eunuch exclaimed, See, [here is] water! What is to hinder my being baptized?

37 [e]And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart [if you have[f]a conviction, full of joyful trust, that Jesus is the Messiah and accept Him as the Author of your salvation in the kingdom of God, giving Him your obedience, then] you may. And he replied, I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

38 And he ordered that the chariot be stopped; and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and [Philip] baptized him.

39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord [[g]suddenly] caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, and he went on his way rejoicing.

40 But Philip was found at Azotus, and passing on he preached the good news (Gospel) to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

May the Lord bring clarity to you today as you celebrate Easter on your next line of action as you are deliberate to bringing souls into the kingdom in Jesus name, Amen

We now bring to you today True Stories – Why are Christians the most persecuted of all Religions of the World? Focus on Saudi Arabia and Israel: Prayer and Fasting for the Persecuted Churches Day 24 of 40

Saudi Arabia:

True Stories – Why are Christians the most persecuted of all Religions of the World? Focus on Saudi Arabia and Israel: Prayer and Fasting for the Persecuted Churches Day 24 of 40

This persecution update coming from Open doors UK – 2023 https://www.opendoorsuk.org

How many Christians are there in Saudi Arabia?

There are an estimated 2.2 million Christians in Saudi Arabia. It’s around six per cent of the country’s total population of 35.8 million, the majority of whom are Muslim.

How are Christians persecuted in Saudi Arabia?

The majority of the Christians in Saudi Arabia are foreigners who temporarily live and work in the country. They can be targeted for their faith, since it’s another way to abuse a worker – in an environment where foreign workers are already often subjected to horrific working and living conditions. Foreign Christians are heavily restricted from sharing their faith or gathering for worship, and any actions outside of the norm can lead to detention and deportation. No official churches are allowed, and church buildings are forbidden.

A much smaller number of Christians in the country are originally Saudi Arabian, and these are mostly converts from Islam. They are usually forced to live out their faith in secrecy. Otherwise, female converts risk physical violence and forced marriage by their families, while male converts risk being publicly shamed, beaten or imprisoned. Both men and women may also be killed to ‘restore’ the family honour.

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Nevertheless, there have been some Saudi Christians in recent years who have been bold enough to share their faith, at great risk to their lives.

Meet ‘Adam’

“We thank God for His gifts, and for your standing with us and helping me to safety. I feel that today I can live again.”ADAM, A BELIEVER WHO FLED SAUDI ARABIA AFTER BEING IMPRISONED FOR HIS FAITH

What’s life like for Christians in Saudi Arabia?

Adam* grew up a Muslim. He comes from a Yemeni background but has spent most of his life in Saudi Arabia. When Eve*, his sister-in-law, became a Christian four years ago, her family asked Adam to convince her to return to Islam – but her faith inspired Adam to give his life to Jesus.

Since then, Adam has faced multiple charges – including inciting others away from Islam and helping Eve to flee the country because of persecution – and has spent time in prison. Last July, he sent his family abroad while he battled the accusations. A month later, Adam was convinced to join them following a brutal attack that left him severely wounded and visibly discouraged.

“I’d like to thank every brother and sister who prayed for me and contributed to getting us a place to live together,” Adam shares from a safe country where Open Doors local partners are helping the family settle.

“I feel that today I can live again,” Adam says. “Your prayers have been answered. What we need in this world is to turn to God in prayer for the church and for the sake of others. God listens to the true prayers. If we pray, we will feel His presence and we will have His guidance.”

*Names changed for security reasons

Is it getting easier to be a Christian in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia has dropped one place on the World Watch List, mostly due to a slight decrease in violence against Christians. While in the last year there were no reports of Christians being arrested or forced into marriage, or of Christian houses being attacked, physical violence against converts remains high, and several believers were forced to leave their homes.

How can I help Christians on the Arabian Peninsula?

Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.

Father, Your kingdom come, Your Will be done in Saudi Arabia as in Heaven, so on earth. Cause the persecuted christians to stand strong in the face of persecution. Grant them grace not to deny You Lord God. Add to their numbers in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Help them to be committed and United in You in Jesus name, amen.

Israel

This statement of Jesus in Matthew 23:37-39. It is still true today at it was in the days of Jesus Christ.

We bring you updated persecution of Christians happening in the Holy land for Intercessory purposes .

Hear what Jesus said and pay attention.

37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, murdering the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a mother fowl gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused!

38 Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate (abandoned and left destitute of God’s help).

39 For I declare to you, you will not see Me again until you say, Blessed (magnified in worship, adored, and exalted) is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!

This latest update comes from Jerusalem times directly.

Source.. Times of Israel – 30th of March 2023

https://www.timesofisrael.com/as-attacks-on-christians-become-more-frequent-a-crisis-looms-for-israel/amp/

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
Church leaders point to inhospitable political atmosphere as they lock compounds at night; government ministries insist they are actively combating ill-treatment
Lazar Berman
By LAZAR BERMAN
30 March 2023, 5:45 am

A toppled statue in the Church of the Flagellation, in the Old City of Jerusalem

A toppled statue in the Church of the Flagellation, in the Old City of Jerusalem, February 2, 2023. (Custody of the Holy Land)

Pictures from Israel

Persecution in Israel

 

Persecution in Israel
Hosam Naoum, a Palestinian Anglican bishop, touches a damaged grave where vandals desecrated more than 30 graves at a historic Protestant Cemetery on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. Israel’s foreign ministry called the attack an “immoral act” and “an affront to religion.” Police officers were sent to investigate the profanation. (AP Photo/ Mahmoud Illean)

Persecution in Israel

 

Persecution in IsraelPersecution in Israel The vandalized sanctuary of the Beit Jamal Monastery seen on September 22, 2017. (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)
“If you are a Christian in the Middle East, there’s only one place where you are safe,” asserted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking to Christian Zionists in Rio de Janeiro in December 2018. “There’s only one place where the Christian community is growing, thriving, prospering. That’s in the State of Israel.”

Netanyahu’s claim is a central element of the image Israeli officials put forward about the country when speaking to Western audiences.

 

Ahead of Christmas last year, Israel’s official Twitter account posted a video of the Foreign Ministry’s Digital Diplomacy chief David Saranga on a “magical Christmas stroll” through Jerusalem’s Old City.

The picture of safe coexistence painted by Israeli officials is starkly at odds with the experiences Jerusalem’s Christian leaders themselves describe. While they readily acknowledge that there is no organized or governmental effort against them, Christian clergy in the Old City tell of a deteriorating atmosphere of harassment, apathy from authorities, and a growing fear that incidents of spitting and vandalism could turn into something far darker.

And with Netanyahu already under scrutiny from Western allies over policies toward the Palestinians and attempts at sweeping judicial reform, deteriorating safety for Christians — or at least Church leaders disseminating that narrative — could become another serious diplomatic problem for Israel’s embattled government.

March of the schoolchildren
On Friday, hundreds of Catholic schoolchildren in Jerusalem embarked on their traditional march along the Via Dolorosa as they do every year during the 40 days of Lent.

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
Catholic schoolchildren walk down the Via Dolorosa, March 24, 2023 (Filippo De Grazia)
This time was different, however.

The students set off from the Church of the Flagellation, the second station of the cross, all clad in identical red scarves that bore the image of a broken statue of Jesus, the Scourged Savior effigy vandalized by an American Jewish tourist in the church in February.

The march, joined by the two senior Catholic figures in the Holy Land — Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa and Custodian of the Holy Land Francesco Patton — was not limited to a protest against that one incident.

 

“We are horrified and hurt in the wake of the many incidents of violence and hatred that have taken place recently against the Catholic community in Israel,” said Patton, also known as the Custos.

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
Fr. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, Guardian of the Christian Holy Places in the Holy Land on behalf of the Catholic Church (Courtesy)
He cited seven incidents that have taken place in recent weeks, saying pointedly that “it is no coincidence that these serious incidents are taking place specifically now.”

“We expect and demand from the Israeli government and law enforcement to act with determination to stamp these serious phenomena.”

While there have long been periodic incidents of vandalism and harassment against Christian clergy in Jerusalem’s Old City, there has been a noticeable rise in attacks in recent weeks.

In November, two soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces’ Givati Brigade were detained on suspicion of spitting at the Armenian archbishop and other pilgrims during a procession in the Old City.

In early January, two Jewish teens were arrested for damaging graves at the Protestant cemetery on Mount Zion.

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
Hosam Naoum, a Palestinian Anglican bishop, touches a damaged grave where vandals desecrated dozens of graves at the historic Protestant Cemetery on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion in Jerusalem, January 4, 2023. (Mahmoud Illean/AP)
The next week, the Maronite community center in the northern city of Ma’alot-Tarshiha was vandalized by unknown assailants over the Christmas holiday.

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Jerusalem’s Armenian community buildings were also targeted by vandals, with multiple discriminatory phrases graffitied on the exterior of structures in the Armenian Quarter. According to the Armenian Patriarchate, “revenge,” “death to Christians,” “death to Arabs and gentiles” and “death to Armenians” were all graffitied in the quarter.

The attacks kept coming. On a Thursday night in late January, a gang of religious Jewish teens threw chairs at an Armenian restaurant inside the city’s New Gate. The vandalism at the Church of the Flagellation occurred the very next week.

And last week, a resident of southern Israel was arrested after attacking priests with an iron bar at the Tomb of the Virgin Mary in Gethsemane.

“Terrorist attacks, by radical Israeli groups, targeting churches, cemeteries, and Christian properties… have become almost a daily occurrence that evidently increases in intensity during Christian holidays,” said the Greek Orthodox Church.

And not all incidents even make the news. Father Matthew, secretary to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilus III, told The Times of Israel that last Tuesday, a handicapped priest making his way slowly out of the Greek Orthodox monastery was spat on by two religious Jewish youths. When another priest confronted the assailants, they pulled up their shirts to show canisters of pepper spray.

According to Father Matthew, the police detained, then released, the attackers.

Jerusalem Police told The Times of Israel it was not familiar with the incident, and asked for additional details.

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
A Border Police guard stands next to anti-Christian graffiti reading in Hebrew, “Jesus is a monkey” on the Church of the Dormition, in Jerusalem on May 31, 2013. (Flash90)
Church officials are critical of the overall police response.

“The police try to paint each attack as something isolated, and try to paint the attackers as mentally unstable,” said Amir Dan, spokesman for the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. “In doing so, the police remove themselves from all responsibility.”

Indeed, after the Church of the Flagellation attack, police said they were checking whether the suspect had mental health issues. Police told The Times of Israel that the attacker at Mary’s Tomb — a Christian Moldovan-Israeli — was committed to a mental hospital temporarily.

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
A US tourist, left, is led away by police on suspicion that he vandalized a statue in the Church of the Flagellation in the Old City of Jerusalem, February 2, 2023. (Israel Police)
The Franciscans in the Old City are so worried that they have been locking the doors to their San Salvatore compound in the Old City at night ever since the desecration of the Jesus statue. They have never taken such a measure in the past, said Father Alberto Pari, secretary of the Custody.

“I think all the Christians, they are more aware that someone can enter and do something,” said Pari.

The police try to paint each attack as something isolated, and try to paint the attackers as mentally unstable.

Multiple officials repeated the charge that the rise in attacks is connected to the current ruling coalition, which includes far-right figures like National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
Franciscan Father Alberto Pari, secretary of the Custody for the Holy Land (Lazar Berman/The Times of Israel)
“Because of the government situation, some extremists, they feel like they have a protector,” said Pari. “Nobody will stop them if they do something that maybe they were thinking to do also before. But then there was more control from the police or they were not supported by some political leaders.”

Dan concurred with Pari’s assessment: “Unfortunately after this government was elected, there are those who feel they can do whatever they want. That they can lift up their fists and nothing will happen to them.”

Concerned ministries
The Israeli bodies in touch with Israel’s churches all condemn the attacks and insist they are aware of the problem.

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the ‘Besheva’ group in Jerusalem, on February 21, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
“We are very attentive,” said Tania Berg-Rafaeli, director of the Foreign Ministry’s World Religions Department.

She said her office called the Greek Patriarchate after the attack at Mary’s Tomb to express solidarity and condemn the attack, as it regularly does.

“These attacks aren’t representative of Israeli society,” she said.

The Interior Ministry told The Times of Israel that its Religious Communities Department is in close touch with the Custody of the Holy Land, recently visited Patriarch Pizzaballa and the Protestant Cemetery, and is involved in dealing with the spitting incidents and the attacks in the north.

“The Interior Ministry, through the Religious Communities Department, works continuously through a guiding ethic of providing freedom of religion and worship, and protecting the Status Quo and Holy Places, and is present at all times to help and assist as much as possible, and hopes that violent incidents will end immediately,” the ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

The ministry added that the personal safety of Israel’s residents is the responsibility of the police.

The police stressed to The Times of Israel that they arrested the Mary’s Tomb attacker before he could cause any damage or injuries. They interrogated the 27-year-old and brought him to court to extend his custody.

“We view with severity all kinds of violence,” said the police in a statement, “and will continue to act against acts of violence in general, and specifically violence in holy places, with a heavy hand without compromise on the goal of bringing offenders to justice.”

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum has led the attempts to get a handle on the situation on the municipal level.

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem and co-founder of the UAE-Israel Business Council Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, poses for a picture during an interview at Dubai’s al- Habtoor palace in the United Arab Emirates, on October 13, 2020. (Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)
“We have become increasingly more aware of the situation,” Hassan-Nahoum told The Times of Israel. “In my hat as both tourism and international relations head, I have been gathering all the different stakeholders to talk about solutions.”

The Times of Israel viewed the minutes from a meeting Hassan-Nahoum chaired in December, in which city councilmembers, police, and representatives from Old City NGOs sought to address the attacks.

Tammy Lavi of the Jerusalem Intercultural Center told the forum that at least 50% of the Friday Armenian processions are interrupted by spitting, cursing, or people intentionally walking through the ceremony.

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
Ultra-Orthodox Jews read lamentations outside one of the entrances to the Temple Mount, during the annual Tisha B’Av (Ninth of Av) fasting and a memorial day, commemorating the destruction of ancient Jerusalem temples, on August 14, 2016, in Jerusalem’s Old City. (AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI)
The attendees placed much of the blame on the “Zilbermans,” members of a 300-family-strong Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox community in the Old City that distinguishes itself from other Haredi communities with their unique approach to Torah study that includes right-wing Zionist ideas.

In the municipality meeting, right-wing city councilor Yehonatan Yosef agreed to go with deputy mayor and activist Aryeh King to speak with the Zilberman rabbis about stopping their students from harassing Christian tourists and ceremonies.

Rhetorical tax
Though violence has risen of late, church leaders in Israel were sounding the alarm well before the current government came to power. But many Israeli officials feel that the churches often go too far, paying a sort of rhetorical tax to the Palestinian Authority every year at Israel’s expense to ensure the well-being of their Palestinian congregants.

What’s more, though the heads of many churches are often European, the congregations and priests are primarily Palestinian, and the local churches are suffused with Palestinian liberation theology. In this school, Zionist Jews play the part of oppressive Romans, and Palestinians are identified with Jesus. Old and persistent tropes of Jewish deicide and supersessionism are regular features of Palestinian church rhetoric.

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As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
People attend a mass on a Palm Sunday at the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Sunday, March 28 2021. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
A 2021 joint statement ahead of Christmas by “the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem” warning that radical Jewish groups were working to drive Christians out of Jerusalem was met with indignant fury by the Foreign Ministry headed by Yair Lapid, and by President Isaac Herzog, neither of whom could be called right-wing extremists.

An Israeli statement said that the Church leaders’ accusations “are baseless, and distort the reality of the Christian community in Israel.”

“The statement by Church leaders in Jerusalem is particularly infuriating given their silence on the plight of many Christian communities in the Middle East suffering from discrimination and persecution,” the statement continued.

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
Israeli Arab Christians celebrate the annual Christmas parade in Nazareth, Israel, Friday, Dec. 24, 2021. (AP/Ariel Schalit)
Days later, the Central Bureau of Statistics released a report stating that Israel’s Christian community grew by 1.4 percent in 2020 and numbers some 182,000 people, with 84% saying they were satisfied with life in the country. The statistics revealed that Arab Christian women had some of the highest education rates in the country.

Another looming crisis
The involvement of multiple Israeli ministries and offices in ensuring the welfare of the country’s Christian communities is a sign of an inherent problem. Since no one office is ultimately responsible for the file, Israeli policy is usually piecemeal and reactive. Problems often fall between the cracks until a crisis breaks out, forcing senior officials to put out fires.

In 2018, the heads of the Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Armenian churches stepped up to a bank of microphones in front of the Holy Sepulchre Church, and accused the Jerusalem municipality of a “systematic campaign against the churches and the Christian community in the Holy Land.

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III delivers a statement to the press as he stands next to the Custodian of the Holy Land Fr. Francesco Patton and Armenian Bishop Siwan (L) on February 25, 2018, outside of the closed doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City. (AFP Photo/Gali Tibbon)
Theophilus then delivered the dagger: “This reminds us all of laws of a similar nature which were enacted against the Jews during dark periods in Europe.”

The Church elders gathered in front of their holiest site after they discovered that the Knesset was set to discuss — and in all probability pass — a bill that day allowing the state to confiscate land sold by the churches to private investors. It was also motivated by a recent decision by the Jerusalem Municipality to freeze churches’ assets until they cough up millions of shekels in what the city claims are unpaid taxes.

The point made, the Palestinian keeper entrusted with the church’s keys climbed up a ladder and locked the ancient doors. They would stay closed for three days, until Netanyahu intervened, suspending the tax collection and freezing the legislation until a newly formed committee — to be headed by then-regional cooperation minister Tzachi Hanegbi — could work out the issues with the churches.

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Likud lawmaker Tzachi Hanegbi, right, at the weekly Likud party meeting at the Knesset on March 28, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
But the damage was already done. Netanyahu’s involvement only came after Israel buckled under heavy pressure from the Vatican, Orthodox countries like Russia and Greece, and Evangelical Christian groups that are staunch supporters of Israel.

It seems Israeli policy-making is no more forward-thinking today. Days after the Church of Flagellation attack, the Jerusalem municipality demanded that the Vatican-owned Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center pay overdue city property taxes of NIS 18 million ($5 million), placing a lien on the institution’s bank accounts until it settles the payment.

It was the latest product of Israel’s long-standing refusal to view its relationship with the Christian world as a distinct policy issue that demands dedicated staff and attention from senior officials.

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel
Christian pilgrims hold candles as they gather during the ceremony of the Holy Fire at Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and rose from the dead, in the Old City of Jerusalem dead, Saturday, April 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
If Netanyahu doesn’t start treating the tax fight and the safety of Christian clerics and pilgrims as issues that demand holistic solutions led by his government, he could soon find himself under even more pressure from Israel’s most important allies. Those same Western countries have not hidden their discomfort over the proposed judicial reform and statements from the coalition’s right wing.

“The Vatican, and the ambassadors of Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Belgium and the United States are regularly updated on the events,” said the Franciscan Custody’s Dan of the attacks and vandalism. “All of them are following the situation with great concern.”

But there isn’t much optimism among Christian clergy in Jerusalem that the situation is going to get better anytime soon.

“Nothing is going to change,” predicted Father Matthew ominously, “until someone gets killed.”

Prayer for Christians in Israel

Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Israel. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.

Father, Your kingdom come, Your Will be done in Israel as in Heaven, so on earth. Cause the persecuted christians to stand strong in the face of persecution. Grant them grace not to deny You Lord God. Add to their numbers in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Help them to be committed and United in You in Jesus name, amen.

This brings us to the end of today’s title

Day 24 of 40 – Prayer and Fasting for Church (You and I) and Leadership: Praying for the Persecuted Churches in China, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Africa and the Western World 

True Stories – Why are Christians the most persecuted of all Religions of the World? Focus on Saudi Arabia and Israel: Prayer and Fasting for the Persecuted Churches Day 24 of 40

Shalom!

Ambassador Monday Oreojo Ogwuojo Ogbe

Gods Eagle Ministries

Https://www.otakada.org

 

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