Christians face uncertain future under Israeli rule

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Christians suffering in their homelands
By Ray Hanania — America is a Christian country yet this country doesn’t act like a Christian country. In fact, this Christian country acts like it is ashamed to be Christian.

I’m not talking about the growing influence of non-Christians in America such as the Jewish and Muslim communities. I am talking about how Christians in America have turned their back on their brethren in the Holy Land because of this country’s lopsided and unfair policies in defense of Israel.

CBS 60 Minutes reporter Bob Simon did a special look at the Christians in Israel and under Israel’s brutal oppressive occupation in the West Bank.

Israel was so upset about the fact that an American News agency would address the topic that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his aides discussed how to stop the CBS report with Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren.

Oren called the Chairman of CBS News and Executive Producer of 60 Minutes and tried to get the station to prevent the broadcast.

The story wasn’t being reported by a Palestinian Christian, or an American Christian investigative reporter for that matter. It was reported by a Jewish American reporter Bob Simon, who has a fair record on addressing Middle East issues. But a Palestinian reporter would have been far more liberal in reporting on the facts than Simon and it is quite clear from the 60 Minutes story that CBS News pulled its punches in reporting the story.

You need to not only watch the 14 minute story on the tragedy of your Christian brothers and sister in Bethlehem and in Jerusalem on 60 Minutes by going to the CBS web site, but also reading the reports that didn’t make the broadcast and likely will not be seen by the millions of people who watched the TV news report.

Many American Christians are so ignorant. They know that their religion began with Jesus in Bethlehem, moved to Nazareth and then ended up on a cross on a hill in Jerusalem. But they don’t know – or don’t care – that those followers of Jesus continue to fight for their existence in all of those cities and more.

Their biggest challenge in the Middle East is the discrimination they face from Muslim extremists in the Arab World, but in Israel, the threat is more severe and it comes from Israel, which is financed and defended by the United States.

Christians are being expelled from Israel and from the West Bank. The Christian city of Nazareth – which is in Israel — is being bled dry by Israeli policies which deny it services while the nation gives far more support to Nazareth Illit which is all Jewish above the old ancient Christian city.

Christian lands are being taken by Israel’s government for use as Jewish-only settlements surrounding Bethlehem, where it happens my family owns land and my mother was born. My mother attended the Church of the Nativity and my cousins is a pastor there.

Bethlehem, our holy Christian city, is now boxed in by Israeli checkpoints, soldiers, settlements and the ugly 22 foot tall concrete wall that Israeli propaganda wants you to believe is a “fence to prevent terrorism.”

It’s not a fence. It is “offensive.”

Christians are choking and dying in Palestine and in Israel and you are doing nothing about it. But, I bet you did go out a few weeks ago and spend lots of money on Easter Baskets so you can pretend that you are Christian?

(Join Ray Hanania Sunday morning at 8 am when he discusses this on Radio Chicagoland on WSBC AM 1240 and WCFJ AM 1470 radio. Visit www.RadioChicagoland.com.)

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and for TheArabDailyNews.com, and TheDailyHookah.com.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
Ray Hanania