Was it all true? Well, according to the AP, a “spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Paul Hirschson, says Israel apologized this week to Egypt for the incident on Holy Saturday, which involved a Coptic Egyptian cleric. He said the incident was being investigated.” Was this an organzied intimidation? Probably not. If you say “excuse me” to the wrong NYC police officer before 9am you might be “ill-treated” regardless of your faith. There is no way to blame the United States of America, much less the State of New York for catching a few bad apples intimidating clerics and pilgrims. But the truth remains. Christian Palestinians, whether they be Orthodox or Catholic, continue to experience the pressure of being in the world without being of the world- especially of the two worlds in which they are caught between.
Lest it slip in and out of the news as well, here are a few more stories of Christian persecution happening not too far from the Holy Land. Huff Post, Religion picked up a Reuters story entitled, “Plot To Kill Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew Uncovered By Turkey“. In Syria, CNA.com is still reporting on two bishops and two priests who were kidnapped and are still being held. Cardinal Dolan, an FFHL Boardmember, encouraged the faithful to pray for them and encouraged their freedom to be returned to them. He and Orthodox leaders prayed for them together.
We have prayed long and hard for peace in the Middle East. Praying is first. But Christians of all denominations have a responsibility to do more than pray for persecuted Christians in the Holy Land. The Franciscan Foundation needs financial help in order to provide university scholarships, subsidized housing and vocational training programs for these Christians to remain in the Holy Land and not leave for a better life.