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Category Archives: Faith

Turning Jcobs Trouble Into Blessing

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IAN JOHNSON

Recently I was confronted with a Messianic Jewish believer teaching a doctrine of destruction and judgment based around Jeremiah 30:7 known as Jacobs’s trouble.  He taught that soon the people of Israel are going to be destroyed down to only a handful or remnant.  It seems to me that his teaching was based on Scofields dispensational doctrine, which takes portions of the written word but largely ignores the Character and nature of YHVH.

It’s not just an error in Messianic/Christian belief, but also in extreme branches of Orthodox Judaism. In Israel in 2011 while in the wilderness of Zin in the Negev, I came across a group of Orthodox Jews from the USA who were praying “Against” the land of Israel. In their belief system YHVH would not set up a “land” of Israel until Messiah had come. So they felt it was their role to pray for the dismantling of the secular state of Israel. How could all these people not see the miracle of the regathered land of Israel?

How is it possible, that in the light of the miracle of the restoration of Israel happening in our times before our very eyes, that this sort of teaching even exists?  The key to unlocking the truth of scripture is not understood by some, because the heart of YHVH is not understood.

YHVH is not bound by our interpretation of his word, but he is bound by his own character and nature and this and this alone must be used in understanding scripture. Otherwise we will form strange man made doctrines. Under this thinking it could be said that the doctrines held by Mormons or Jehovah witness folk are true because they use the word of God to justify a faulty belief system. We know that these extremes are not YHVHs heart, and we mustn’t use the same form of interpretation to form our own faulty doctrines

Ezk36:22-30; makes it clear that YHVH is restoring Israel for his own names sake.  He also states I am going to clean you and deliver you from all your sins and idols, Then he says I am going to put my spirit in you and change your hearts. This is the heart of YHVH.  it is all HIS work and there is nothing of mans work in there at all. Romans 11 makes it clear that Jews have paid an enormous price so that the Gentiles can partake of salvation, but Paul goes on in Romans 11 to say that it is YHVH that will restore the Jews to their rightful place, I like to call this restoration “Resurrection glory” or as Paul puts it “Life from the dead”

THE SHOAH AS JACOB’S TROUBLE

Anne Frank the famous Jewish Shoah victim, who died in Auschwitz after being hidden in Holland for most of the war. In 1944 wrote: Who has afflicted us? Who has made us Jews different to all other people? Who has allowed us to suffer so terribly up till now? it is G_d that has made us as we are, but it will be G_d, too, who will raise us up again. If we bear all this suffering and if there still be Jews left, when it is all over, the Jews, instead of being doomed will be held up as an example.

Anne Frank perhaps without realizing it, was actually echoing the words of Hosea 6:1-2: Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.

Although this scripture is most often quoted as relating to the resurrection of Yeshua, as is common with Hebrew prophecy it has a dual meaning. An examination of the text makes it clear I think. The terms “he has torn US” and “he will heal US” is plural rather than being recorded in the singular. I suggest that this represents the days of Israel since or just before Messiah Yeshua was born.

The short lived independent nation of Israel won by Judas Maccabee or in the Hebrew Y’hudhah Ha Makabi ended with the Roman invasion 150 odd years before Yeshua’s birth. 2000 years (or two days) later the restoration of Israel started with Theodore Hertzls first Zionist congress in 1897, Israel has been miraculously resurrected and now we are in the third day of both Israel and Judah. Gentiles are grafted into Israel therefore we share her joy, and Judah is restored again to the land and soon as one new man in Messiah Jew & Gentile, Israel & Judah will rejoice to see their king.

The Rabbis during and around the second world war saw the sufferings they were experiencing as a sign that “The Age of redemption” was approaching, that is the coming (or for followers of Yeshua the return of Messiah) Rabbi Levin of Warsaw, actually recorded much of the suffering as a record; he described the birth pains of Jacobs trouble as “the pains before the coming of Messiah”

Jacobs trouble is fairly easy to see in the Shoah. Any one who doubts this MUST spend a whole day reflecting at Yad Vashem Shoah memorial.

There is a time of trouble coming for the nations called the great tribulation which will of course affect Israel but this is not the time of Jacob’s trouble. Jeremiah 30:7 actually says He (Jacob) will be saved out of it.

No one can doubt that the restoration of the land of Israel is indeed the result of the birth pains of Jacob’s trouble, and the good news is that Abba says Jacob will be saved out of it. This is YHVH’s heart.

The Jewish population has not yet recovered from the day of Jacobs trouble, in 1939 there were 16,728,000 Jews; today 74 years later, The Jewish population is still only 13,085,000, however Zechariah says as a promise, “I will call for them (as a Shepherd calls his sheep) and gather them in. THEN I will redeem them and they will be as numerous as before” (Zec 10:8)

I spoke to a young British Jewish girl who didn’t want to make Aliyah because she still carried Jacob’s trouble in her heart, she felt as a Jew she was safer outside of Israel rather than all being in one place.

But is G_d rounding up the Jews so he can destroy them?.. NO NO NO!!!  He is rounding them up so he can show forth his glory in them and show them tender mercy and great loving kindness and lead them to see Messiah. The Gentiles role in all of this is to show forth the resurrection power and glory of Yeshua to such an extent that our Jewish brothers will become jealous and return. No amount of theological nonsense from the Gentiles or mis-informed Jews is going to touch the hearts of Israel.  Martin Luther made the same mistake in his word based message, which became hatred towards the Jews and ultimately led to the Shoah. Only a demonstration of the resurrection glory of Messiah will turn Jewish hearts toward Messiah.

Many teachers understanding of the Character and nature of G_d is not redemptive, rather it is restrictive and religious, the very things that made Yeshua angry. Moses was able to turn YHVH’s heart regarding the sons of Jacob when he was going to destroy them. That’s the redemptive nature of G_d. ” He is Willing that none should perish”. This is the heart of YHVH.

Psalm 102:16 says “For I will rebuild Zion and appear as its glory“. The Hebrew context here (means end or last) indicates that this promise is given for the end generation. Joel refers to the end thus: Joel 3:1 ‘In those days and at that time I will restore the fortunes of JUDAH and Jerusalem.’ There is no mention of being destroyed, the constant theme is restored. Restoration is the heart of YHVH.

Amos 9:15 says

I will again plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them says the LORD your G_d

Abba’s heart is to restore Israel into the glory of her Messiah and we must remember that the G_d of Israel is a supernatural G_d who lives in a supernatural place and does supernatural things.

My personal experience in talking to secular Jews in Israel and in New Zealand is that they are not interested in religious words, but they do respond to the power of the Spirit of YHVH. Many friends in Israel who love and know messiah had their encounters not through words but through the action and workings of Ruach ha Kodesh.

It is now time to see Jacob’s trouble turned into Jacobs redemption, this is the heart of YHVH and we need to say as Ezekiel said when YHVH asks us “Can these bones live?” He said “You know Lord” by saying Lord you know, that was a smart answer from Ezekiel and it would be smart of us too to yield to His heart for Israel’s redemption. As it says in Acts 3:20-21; Messiah will remain in heaven until the restoration of all things, as Bishop Bierman puts it, The restoration of all things is, the Gentiles back to their Jewish roots and the Jews back to their land and their Messiah.

The teaching that says God is rounding up the Jews to destroy all but a remnant is designed by the enemy to stop Jacob returning to the land out of fear. Abbas heart is fear not for I am with you. Jacobs trouble will become Jacobs blessing.

Ian Johnson is a prophetic revelator based in Auckland New Zealand, speaking in conferences and Churches in Australia, New Zealand and the nations. He regularly brings people from the ends of the earth and the Islands of the sea to Israel to experience for themselves the heart of YHVH for the restoration of all things. 

 
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Posted by on 2. February 2013 in Bible, Christian, Education, Faith, Wisdom, Yeshua, YHVH

 

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ISRAEL NEWS AND PRAYER BULLETIN, JAN 7 2013

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Shalom Beloved Prayer Warriors,

This newsletter is an encouraging one to continue to pray as we have been doing! We give Thanks and Glory to the YHVH who hears, sees, and moves on behalf of his beloved ones who trust in HIM HalleluYah! Thank You for standing on the breach with us. May His blessings overtake you!

Beer Sheeva

There was an article in the news this week about 3,000 trees which have been donated from the USA by family members who were struck via a mass killing of their innocent children (20+) at the school!  One of them who died was a Jewish child, the parents decided to donate a tree in his honour to be planted in Beer Sheeva City Park. We do not know how, but others heard of this and they all decided to do the same, which is why this large number of trees are to be planted in memory of these little ones and for the benefit of the people of Israel.
We are humbled by such a generous gesture and very very grateful!  May the Lord comfort the families and give them …beauty of ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified !

In another report, a Jewish boy from the USA has decided to donate all his Bar Mitzva money to benefit a Sport Team in Beer Sheeva! Wow, blessings coming from children again!

More blessings are coming to Beer Sheeva like: the change of Leadership on Local Regional Council who are favourable towards our Messianic pioneers farmers! They even allowed them to pray in private for them, after the Leaders took position! The new leadership is also looking up to them to help and lead, in expansion, international connections, and making changes in zonings, building permits, expansion and regulations which have been the most restrictive and oppressive, causing the crippling of local economy (by ultra-orthodox ). Our pioneers have also shared with the new authorities the Vision of the Return of the Anusim and they got it ! First decree was made to approve Moshavs tailored for the Anusim ! Wow what a Joy! Thank You El Shaddai! There has been also improvements and favour within the District Court towards believers. This is setting new precedents and this will also affect all the southern regions (Beer Sheeva is the Capital of the all the South, remember 55% land mass of modern Israel)!

In conclusion: THE DESERT WILL BLOOM, WATER WILL GUSH OUT, THE EXILES ANUSIM WILL RETURN AND SETTLE and I am adding, this area will become to food basket of Israel … DEFINITELY.. YES YES YES!

Come and celebrate with us, and eat of the goodness of the land!

Praise and Prayer Points

We give thanks and praises to Yah for all His blessings which He is bestowing on Beer Sheeva , lets continue to lift this city up in prayer as well.  Pray for the Worship and Prayer Tower to be established there by Kad-Esh Map Ministries. The team has been petitioning the Lord for this for a long time now. Time is at hand to secure The Place.. Kadima=Forward

Yam Ha Melach (Dead Sea), Sde Bokeq

A desolate place, but a unique one in the world! Expansion planned for a new Mega Shopping Centre has been approved to facilitate shopping for the thousands upon thousands of tourist who go through this incredible healing sea… a place of judgment “Sodom” that now is bringing forth healing. I can testify to this myself as I benefit from it personally at wintertime! … and for you who know My name the Son of Righteousness will arise with healing in His wings! It moves me to tears just to think of it. Thank You Adonai Roph’ekha , Thank You!

Great breakthrough discovery: a lady agricultural scientist , who works and lives in this area has revived and activated  two dead seeds, from two different trees that existed  more then 2000+years ago… now that is a miracle! The trees are growing well; Next desert reforestation of today, will it be with extinct revived trees?  Wow! Clap your hands all you people, clap your hands to the Lord… make a joyful noise to Him…

Praise and Prayer Point
Praise Yah for the woman who does not give up and for the healing that comes forth from a former place of Judgment! Let us pray for this Oasis of Peace, that it will be kept pristine and continue to be a place of physical healing as well spiritual healing. Let us pray for believers to be raised up to open up a house of praise, prayer, rest and healing of mind, body, soul and spirit!

Eilat the Pearl of the Red Sea

Praise and Prayer Point
Eilat will be blessed, it will stretch forth because His People have set His house of Worship and Prayer there and they do not keep silent day and night until all is established!  We are looking forward to see how things will develop! Are You? Come and rejoice with us and exalt His Name together forever, for we sought the Lord and He heard us ….sing it to the Lord with us!

Arad, Dimona, Aravah Desert, Ashkelon, Ashdod

Prayer Point
Pray for new leaders to be raised up to establish new desert cities . Also for the expansion of the existing ones mentioned above! May these cities also prosper spiritually! Anusim are coming, prepare the way…. drums rolling!

Israel National Election 22 January

Prayer Point
Most important; please pray for this coming election.  There is much inside dealing and outside dealing going on ….We believe and trust that the Lord will move the right people into key position according to His will, for the plans and purposes for the good of the people and the land! Lord unite the mind of the people with Your Will. Please Lord, Release Repentance and Restoration Revival and heal the land!

 

“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent” Isaiah 62:1

Kad-Esh MAP Administration

 
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Posted by on 9. January 2013 in Faith, Israel, Messiah, Middleeast, Pray, Yeshua, YHVH

 

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Why the Focused Rest of Shabbat is Important

Technology was supposed to lead to less work, but instead we are busier than ever. Only the Bible’s recipe of rest will benefit us

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 |  Michael Berg – israeltoday.co.il

121212_shabbatRest and action are two poles of existence. Whatever one is doing, one is either resting or exerting oneself. Exertion complements rest and rest complements exertion as day complements night and night complements day. The reader knows from universal experience, that exercise leads to a deeper sleep and that without resting, one cannot have the energy to act. Therefore, the question of primary importance, as with all pairs of opposites, is the question of balance.

The issue of balance between work and rest is epitomized in the difference between the Hebrew and the Greek approaches to time and place.

In Homer’s epics, the heroes fight battles and travel on voyages. The direction of activity starts from home and extends outward to the farthest reaches of the Earth.

In the case of the ancient Hebrews, their texts describe the conquest of a homeland and its settlement. The direction of activity is inwards. The goal is to return to the pre-fallen state of man wherein man lived in a garden and the point of life was to “settle it and guard it.” The ultimate messianic vision is that “every man would sit under his vine and under his fig tree.” The ultimate goal is to arrive at a state of tranquility wherein movement is unnecessary and time is of no consequence.

The goal of technology is to quicken movement, to go faster and farther, in less time and with less effort. Let us take a step back and look at the expectations for modern technology and how it would help us. Calculators were meant to replace slower and more tedious forms of computation. Cars and planes were invented to save the time and effort of lugging baggage and one’s self to various locations. In these respects, technology has succeeded.

However, everyone expected that technology would lead to shorter workweeks, but it has not. Ever since Henry Ford came up with the forty-hour work-week, nothing in North America has changed. Instead, technology has become invasive, eliminating the boundaries between work and the rest of one’s life, thereby increasing the length of the work-week to allow it to reach to within one’s private life.

Home is no longer a refuge from work and the time in our private lives has decreased.

The reason for this failure of technology to save time is that focusing on action will not increase rest. No matter how much one focuses on getting things done, there will always be more to do. In fact, the more one focuses on getting things done, the more things one finds to do!

The only solution is to focus on rest. A focused rest is different than a rest that is merely a gap between two activities. Just as it takes focus to be active, it takes focus to properly rest. It also takes an appreciation for rest. We must set aside time to rest, to just be and to not achieve. The key is in setting aside time both for rest and activity; and in this, the Hebrew approach is worthy of emulation.

As opposed to the Ancient Greeks, who had no day of rest, the Hebrews set aside a day for focused rest, the Sabbath. This day is not considered a break from the week, but the purpose of the week! On this day one does not merely take time off, but instead actively focuses on creating an atmosphere of rest. Electronic devices are completely forbidden by Orthodox Judaism to be used on the Sabbath.

The Sabbath also exists in Christianity, the premier child of both Greek and Hebrew civilization that has inherited practice and ideology from both. In abandoning religion, western society has abandoned its Hebrew heritage to exclusively focus on continuing the Hellenic pursuit of perpetual advancement.

Ancient Greece tired itself out and vanished. The Hebrews are still here. Was tranquility the secret for their longevity? Perhaps it was. Perhaps the wise reader would like to entertain the thought of a day without technology once a week — a day of tranquility.

 
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Posted by on 14. December 2012 in Faith, Feast of the Lord, Shabbat, Tanakh, Torah, YHVH

 

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The Path of the Humble

 

If we were truly humble, we would not be forever searching higher paths on the mountaintops. We would look in the simple places, in the practical things that need to be done.

True, these are places in a world of falsehood. If the world only had a little more light, none of this would be necessary.

But the soul that knows its place knows that the great and lofty G‑d is not found at the summit of mountains, but in the simple act of lending a hand or a comforting word in a world of falsehood and delusions.

From the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory; words and condensation by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman.
 
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Posted by on 24. August 2012 in Bible, Faith, Jahve, Pray, Torah, Wisdom, Yeshua, YHVH

 

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EXPOSING FATAL LIES #1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:32

Shabbat shalom dearly beloved:

All of Mankind fell because ADAM believed one lie, so believing lies can cause us to fall from Grace.

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! Genesis 3:4

Sin only followed the belief in a lie. When the woman heard the snake, she believed the lie that their disobedience to Elohim’s Commandments will carry no consequences. She also believed that the Tree of Knowledge was “good” though the Creator had said it was deathly. When we believe in a lie it can cost us our life as it leads us to sin and the wages of sin (breaking Elohim’s Commandments) is DEATH!

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord. Romans 6:23

In the course of my 24 years of serving Yeshua I have come across many lies that have become deathly doctrines. The most dangerous lies are those that happen because of mistranslation of the Bible or due to biased translation. I will bring a few serious examples here.

THE POSITION OF MAN (AND WOMAN)

What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man (Adam) that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God (Elohim), Psalm 8:4,5- NASB

The position of Adam (Man and Woman) is a “little lower” than Elohim as they are created in the image and likeness of Elohim!

Elohim created man in His own image, in the image of Elohim-God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27

In many translations it says:

For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.  Psalm 8:5 KJV

In Hebrew Elohim is the term for the Creator and Malachim is the word for angels, why would the translator of such a well -read Bible translate Elohim as angels? Because the doctrines of demons and men that entered the Church through Replacement Theology! If Mankind that is created in the image and likeness of Elohim is a little lower than the angels, that means that Lucifer-satan who is a fallen angel, is greater than Adam and thus greater than Elohim Himself!

“How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!13 “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’Isaiah 14:12-14

Yeshua said:

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:18,19

You and I are created HIGHER than all the angels! That is why we can have authority over demons that are fallen angels! The only reason that Adam (male and female!) lost their authority was because they believed a lie and sinned! If we believe the Truth and obey Elohim, we too have authority over the angels!

Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? 1 Corinthians 6:3

DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN

The Lord gives the command; the women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host: Psalm 68:11 NASB

In Hebrew it says that the Women who preach, proclaim and declare the Good News are a Great Army! The name for women preachers or evangelists used in Hebrew is MEVASROT. There is no option to translate it any other way! However in the King James Version which has been the most prevalent version of the Bible in English it says “THOSE” instead of THE WOMEN. On purpose removing any traces of female gender in the very clear calling for women to be preachers and evangelist and preach the Gospel!

The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. Psalm 68:11 KJV

This fatal error is due to the bias of the translators against Women which has caused untold wrongs in the Church since the Council of Nicaea and on! Tremendous abuses against women and even murder in religious circles have happened due to these doctrines of demons and men! Many women world- wide are prevented from obeying the High Call of Yah (God) because of these fatal lies!

Another purposeful mistranslation concerning women occurs in the New Testament:

 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Romans 16:7 NASB

Even a relatively accurate translation like the New American Standard is not perfect and here we find a change of name! The original Greek says,

“Greet Andronicus and Junia” Junia is the name of a woman in Greek and Junias is the name of a man. The name of this outstanding Woman Apostle was changed because it did not fit the theology of the translators!

Interestingly enough the King James Version does leave the original name of the Woman Apostle Junia in it!

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Romans 16:7

Check your bibles in different versions and languages and see what they say, you will find many surprises that are fatal lies that lead to deathly doctrines!

This particular Woman Apostle was actually a believer before Paul got saved and had suffered a lot for the Gospel.

We salute Junia!

WOMEN SHOULD NOT TEACH MEN!

Another demonic doctrine made out of biased translation!

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 1Timothy 2:12 KJV

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 1 Timothy 2:12 NASB

Here both translations have translated a Greek word in a biased way.

The word for “usurp authority” here in Greek is AUTENTEO. This word is not used anywhere else in the New Testament and it does not mean “usurp authority” but rather:

Influence a man through sexual manipulation!

At that time that Apostle Paul wrote a Pastoral Letter to Pastor Timothy, many of the Temple Prostitutes of the Temple of Diana were being saved. They were very “savvy” and very charismatics used to manipulate men with their sexuality! So, Paul was warning Timothy that these women needed to get cleansed and delivered before they could teach others!

This verse should have been translated as follows:

But I suffer not a convert from the temple prostitutes to teach and disturb a service, nor to influence men through sexual manipulation, but to be in silence until they are set free and walk in holiness.

That is a far cry from silencing all women and preventing women from teaching doctrine or entering leadership positions!

Deborah the Prophetess, taught the Sons of Israel Torah! She was the Ruler and King of the hour! Surely the women in the New Covenant should be free to do like -wise when called!

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment. Judges 4:4,5

To be continued next week…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Friends and Mentors in Israel

Bishop Dominiquae and Rabbi Baruch Bierman

“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent” Isaiah 62:1

 

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Modern Day Exodus: the Palestinian Christians – Part III

Fearful of offending Muslims, mistreated Palestinian Christians vent their frustration at Israel’s Jews, though the Jewish state could also do more to help the Christians

Thursday, June 28, 2012 | Eugenia Ugrinovich – israeltoday.co.il

This is the thrid and final part of our story on the modern day exodus of Christians from Palestinian-controlled territories. If you have not done so already, we suggest first reading Part I and Part II

In an attempt to protect their fragile community, Christians have decided to maintain a low profile, which may explain why so many of them have adopted a code of silence that precludes saying or doing anything that might critique or challenge the prevailing system or Islam more generally. Unable — or unwilling — to name the real culprits, Palestinian Christians often redirect their anger at Muslims by blaming the Jews.

In a 2006 poll of Christians in Bethlehem, conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Research and Cultural Dialogue, 73.3 percent agreed that the Palestinian Authority treated the city’s Christian heritage with respect, whereas 78% attributed the ongoing exodus of Christians from Bethlehem to the Israeli ‘occupation’ and its repercussions.

These attitudes clearly ignore the flight of Christians before 1967, when the ‘occupation’ began. According to a 1937 British report submitted to the League of Nations, the number of Christians under the British Mandate comprised somewhere between 9.5% (1922) to 7.9% (1946) of the total population. The significant decrease took place during the 19 years of the Jordanian occupation of east Jerusalem when the area lost some 18,000 Christian residents (from 29,000 in 1948 to 11,000 in 1967).

By comparison, the total number of Christians living in both Israel and the West Bank has gone up from 34,000 in 1949 to more than 150,000 today, and this figure continues to grow at an annual average growth rate of 1.9 percent per year. Even though the percentage of Christians in the State of Israel has slightly declined, Christians still fare extremely well.

And yet, despite the relatively free and prosperous life offered to Christians by the state of Israel, it’s impossible to rule out the negative impact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has had on Christians opting to flee the West Bank and Gaza.

“People want to lead a decent and dignified life — especially the younger generation,” said Hanan, a Christian Palestinian residing in the West Bank who also requested that her real name not be used.

“It’s very difficult to live without a job, without having any opportunities to succeed or without the ability to move freely,” she continued referring to the numerous checkpoints and the wall built by Israel in 2003 to protect its citizens from the terrorist attacks that frequently targeted Israeli citizens during the Second Intifida.

While Israel’s defensive measures virtually eliminated the theat of suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks from the West Bank, Peter agreed about the adverse effects of the conflict on Palestinian Christians: “People don’t want their kids to grow up in such an unhealthy environment, where the conflict is brewing and where unemployed families cannot provide food for their children.”

It is hard to determine exactly who is responsible for the departure of Christians from Palestine — whether the raging conflict or the looming Islamist threat — but the truth may lie somewhere in the middle. The US State Department’s 2006 report on religious freedom criticized both Israel, for its restrictions on travel to Christian holy sites, and the Palestinian Authority, for its failure to stamp out anti-Christian crime. It also reported that the former gives preferential treatment in basic civic services to Jews and the latter does so to Muslims.

“It’s not only one factor that influences the flight of Christians. Families want to have a good life and a stable future for their children,” said Hanan. “The persecution when — and if — it does take place is based primarily on personal disputes. Yet, police and special forces have become more organized and they are efficient in solving these issues,” she concluded.

While the complete story behind the departure of Christians from their ancestral land may not be easy to determine, one thing became abundantly clear from researching this article: as vulnerable, second-class citizens, Christians have learned the hard way to be extremely careful.

 

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Modern Day Exodus: the Palestinian Christians – Part II

The Palestinian Authority claims it protects the rights and freedoms of local Christians, but is that the reality on the ground? The truth is that Sharia reigns, and Palestinian Christians are subject to it

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 | Eugenia Ugrinovich – israeltoday.co.il

This is Part II of a three-part story on the modern day exodus of Christians from Palestinian-controlled territories. If you have not done so already, we suggest first reading Modern Day Exodus: the Palestinian Christians – Part I

Violent incidents have contributed to a sense of insecurity among the Christian community in the West Bank. In 2006, Palestinians wielding guns and firebombs attacked five churches of various denominations in the West Bank and Gaza, following remarks by Pope Benedict XVI that angered many Muslims. Although no injuries were reported, the buildings suffered significant damage.

The plight of Palestinian Christians in the Gaza Strip is far worse. The Coalition for Responsible Peace in the Middle East, an NGO that monitors the abuse of Christians, has compiled a long list of violent acts directed against this vulnerable minority in Gaza. These include the 2007 attack on a monastery and school, when armed, masked men destroyed crosses and holy books, and stole computers and photocopy machines. During another rampage the same year, a gang of unidentified men ransacked the Latin Church and Rosary Sisters School, stealing a number of computers and ravaging pictures of Jesus, furniture, equipment, and holy books.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who controls only the West Bank after Hamas, an Islamist political rival, seized power in the Gaza Strip in a 2007 coup, condemned the attacks against Christians. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also criticised the strikes, but ultimately the opposing leaders simply blamed each other instead of solving the problem and securing the population.

Muslim clerics added fuel to the fire, warning minorities to abide by Islamic law or face harsh consequences.

“Jihadia Salafiya and other Islamic movements will ensure Christian schools and institutions show publicly what they are teaching to be sure they are not carrying out missionary activity. No more alcohol on the streets. All women, including non-Muslims, need to understand they must be covered at all times while in public,” Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadiya Salafiya, was quoted by World Net Daily as saying. “Also, the activities of Internet cafes, pool halls and bars must be stopped. If it goes on, we’ll attack these things very harshly.”

These types of problems have been reported since the beginning of the previous century. In his detailed paper ‘The Beleaguered Christians of the Palestinian-Controlled Areas’, strategy consultant David Raab noted:

“Under Islam, Christians are considered dhimmi, tolerated but second class citizens, who are afforded protection. Dhimmitude… is a ‘protection pact’ that suspends the [Muslim] conqueror’s initial right to kill or enslave [Jews and Christians], provided they submitted themselves to pay tribute.”

Raab highlighted several instances observed by early European travelers to the Holy Land, who testified that “a dhimmi must not come face to face with a Muslim in the street but pass him to the left, the impure side,” and described how Christians were forbidden to ride on a mount in town (to avoid being higher than Muslims) or to wear bright clothes.

Yet, Muslim leaders refute any allegations of Christian-Muslim strife. In a phone interview, one member of Fatah, who spoke on condition of anonymity, noted: “Muslims and Christians have no problems”.

Officially, that is true and the PA spares no effort to display this image publicly. Christmas is an official holiday, holy sites are protected, and some Christians even hold prominent PA positions. In practice, however, PA law does little to protect religious freedom.

While stressing that all Palestinians have the right to “worship and practice their beliefs,” a PA Information Ministry statement reveals the harsh reality: “The Palestinian people are also governed by [Islamic] Shari’a law…with regard to issues pertaining to religious matters. According to Shari’a Law, applicable throughout the Muslim world, any Muslim, who [converts] or declares becoming an unbeliever is committing a major sin punishable by capital punishment…the [Palestinian Authority] cannot take a different position on this matter.”

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the third and final part of this story

 

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