Christmas goes politicalChristmas is going political here in the Holy Land. A group calling itself the Amos Trust is selling nativity scenes with a wall down the middle (pictured, top left). The wall is meant to symbolize Israel's 'separation wall' that much of the world believes has kept most terror attacks out of Israel's main urban areas since 2004. (The truth, of course, is otherwise. Without the IDF in place throughout Judea and Samaria, the wall would be largely useless). The 'wall' in the nativity scene is set up so that the wise men won't reach the stable this year. Of course, that's not true. The
Note to anyone who follows the link to the blog above: The picture in the blog is of a guard tower posted next to a grave in a cemetery and not at the Church of the Nativity. It is probably, although I cannot be certain, next to the cemetery at Rachel's tomb which was built next to the tomb in a bid by Muslims to keep Jews out!
A British charity is giving the traditional nativity scene a political twist this year by dividing it with a wall symbolizing Israel's controversial security barrier.That there are still Christians who blame Israel for the dwindling Christian community in this area is nothing short of outrageous. Bethlehem was a 90% Christian town and the Bethlehem region was 60% Christian when Yasser Arafat and his gang of criminals from Tunis rode in there in 1995 (when Israel turned the city over to them). Today, less than 15% of Bethlehem is Christian. What is happening to Christians in the 'Palestinian Authority'? Here is one very recent example:
The Amos Trust, a Christian group that works with needy communities around the world, is selling what it calls a nativity set with a difference -- one where "the wise men won't get to the stable."
Organizers say the purpose of the sets -- made by Palestinian carpenters with olive wood from Bethlehem -- is to draw attention to the security measures put in place by the Israeli government.
The network of walls and fences being built between Israeli and Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of the West Bank runs along the perimeter of Bethlehem, dividing it from nearby Jerusalem. Travel in and out of the town is heavily restricted.
The nativity scenes are available in a small version, for around $30, and a larger set -- "perfect for a church" -- goes for around $115. The wall in the larger version is detachable, the Amos Trust says, to allow for the possibility the situation may change in the future.
Critics of Israel frequently blame the Israeli government for the exodus of Christian Arabs from the PA areas. Some scholars attribute the shrinking Christian population to harassment and intimidation by Islamists, however.
Two pro-Israel Christian groups criticized the nativity sets.
"We are saddened by attempts to make one-sided political capital out of the Bethlehem story," Geoffrey Smith, director of the U.K. branch of Christian Friends of Israel, said Wednesday.
"Nobody wants a security barrier but so long as terrorists continue to threaten the lives of Jews and of Arabs in Israel, the people there have to defend themselves in ways that will stop the bombers."
He said more than 2,000 lives have been saved by the security barrier in the last five years.
Pamela Thomas, national director of the British branch of Bridges for Peace, agreed. "The wall is there to protect people from the suicide bombers that were coming in," she said.
Muslim gunmen in the Gaza Strip tried to kill another Palestinian Christian over the weekend, sources in Gaza City told The Jerusalem Post.And it's not just in Israel or the 'Palestinian Authority.' Christian populations are being eviscerated throughout the Middle East by Muslims, and Christian shrines are being taken over and converted into Muslim 'holy places' just as was done to Jewish sites in Israel and Hindu sites in India, among other places.
They said four masked gunmen tried to kidnap Nabil Fuad Ayad, who works as a guard at a local church. Nabil's cousin, Rami, was kidnapped and murdered two months ago by the same group, the sources said.
The sources identified the gunmen as members of the radical Islamic Salafi movement.
"They were dressed in the traditional Salafi clothes," said an eyewitness. "They were also carrying guns."
The gunmen tried to force Ayad into their car as he was walking in the street, but he managed to escape to a nearby shop. Shopkeepers who began shouting drove the gunmen away.
As they fled the scene, the assailants fired several shots into the air.
Hamas denied any involvement in the attack, saying its security forces had launched an investigation after receiving a complaint from the victim.
Christians living in the Gaza Strip told the Post that they were very worried about the increased attacks on members of their community and religious institutions. "The latest incident is aimed at sending a message to all the Christians here that we must leave," said a Christian leader. "Radical Islamic groups are waging a campaign to get rid of us and no one seems to care."
Previous examples of Muslim harassment (and worse) of Christians in the 'Palestinian Authority' at Israel Matzav:
Our fifth column
The last throes of Christianity in the Middle East?
'Palestinian' Christians hate the Jews too
Christmas in the Holy Land Some facts about Christians in 'Palestinian' territories
Olmert's 'Christmas present' to Bethlehem: Deportees may be allowed back
Muslims terrorize Christians in Nazareth
Why are Christians silent?
Hamas to 'investigate' the murder of a 'Palestinian' Christian (the cousin of the guy they tried to murder this weekend)
Israel is in no way responsible for the dwindling Christian population in Israel or in the 'Palestinian' territories. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.