Easter in Jerusalem: reality and myth.

A guest post by Hadar Sela

Roman Catholics at Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Photo: AFP)

How unfortunate it is that participants in last month’s ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ conference in Bethlehem such as Stephen Sizer and Ben White did not extend their stay. What a pity it is too that the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ folks didn’t hang around a little longer.

Had they done so, they would have had to confront the fact that despite GMJ organiser Sarah Marusek’s off the wall claims about “limitations on Christians and Muslims from accessing holy sites” in Jerusalem, thousands of Christians are currently celebrating Easter in the city including – for the first time in years – Egyptian Copts.

The latter were apparently prevented from worshipping at the St. Helena Chapel (the Egyptian part of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher) – although by church officials, not by Israeli authorities, so we will probably not be seeing any headlines on that subject in the ‘progressive’ Western media.

Ben White – a denier of Islamist persecution of Palestinian Christians – and his fellow Sabeel star turn and promoter of the ‘Israeli apartheid’ myth Stephen Sizer would have had to somehow explain away Israel’s provision of entry into the country to 500 Christians from Hamas-controlled Gaza and a further 20,000 from the PA-controlled territories in order to enable them to celebrate their holiday.  

Would such a confrontation with reality have made a difference to the style and content of the rhetoric spouted by people such as Marusek, White and Sizer? Probably not.

After all, Sizer is one of the authors of the ‘Christ at the Checkpoint Manifesto’ which  – inter alia – provides the magical ‘get out of jail free’ card in the form of the statement that “[c]riticism of Israel and the occupation cannot be confused with anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel”.

But at least the rest of us can be sure that just about the last subject of concern for the Whites, Sizers and Maruseks of this world is the right of people of all faiths in the Middle East to freedom of worship. 

  • Christians celebrate Easter in Jerusalem (ynet.com)

6 replies »

  1. Excellent article israelinurse. Have you noticed the converse of your article – that there has been absolutely zero reporting on Pesach (Passover) that we are in the middle of at the moment. Not a word about the hundreds of thousands of Jewish pilgrims to Jerusalem and Israel, the huge birkat kohanim (priestly blessing) at the kotel yesterday, not even a “local colour” article about Passover traditions anywhere in the worldwide Jewish community. All this as opposed to the almost obssessive coverage of Ramadan, Eid, etc. This applies to the Independent too.

  2. The way in which the Israeli Wall cuts Bethleem off Jerusalem is a wound to the heart ot every Christian in the world. The sight of the Wall built directly along the houses of Palestinian christians, the sight of Israeli settlements growing up on the land of the Christian city of Bethleem, is deeply shocking to every tourist or pilgrim who visit the Holy land. I’m afraid Israeli Nurse can do nothing to counter this disaster for Israel’s image in the Western world – the sight of Bethleem besieged by the Wall haunts every Western visitor to Israel and Palestine.

    • Untrue. I know many Christians who understand perfectly the need for Israel to defend herself, and how the PA uses the holy places of Christianity to attack Israel.

      I also note the emotive language of your post – which shows you to be an emotional thinker rather than a critical analyst. Pity

      • I fail too see how confiscating the land of Bethleem’s Christians and building settlements in violation of international law all over it makes Israel safer. Why build the Wall directly between Bethleem’s houses, and not along Jerusalem’s municipal borders? How can Har Homa or Gilo illegal settlements’ luxury real estate projects help boost Israel’s security? Why is the Wall build a few hundred meters from the Church of Nativity? How do you think Christian pilgrims who pray at the Church feel when they see Manger Square surrounded on all sides by ugly Israeli settlements which have destroyed the beautiful hills of Bethleem described in the Bible? What do you think Christians feel when they meet Palestinian Christians visiting Western countries and explaining how Bethleem’s economy has been destroyed by the Wall and Israeli settlements? Is there anyone in Israel reflecting on the public relations disaster settlers created? An Israeli soldier posted at the main chekpoint once apologized to me, saying he was sorry some “far right wing settlers moved so close to the Christian city”, adding that “you know, Israelis are not like the settlers, they are very respectful, only the settlers have no respect”. That tells a lot.

    • The way in which the Israeli Wall cuts Bethleem off Jerusalem is a wound to the heart ot every Christian in the world.

      Maybe to some – but certainly not all. Stop talking nonsense.

  3. Imagine those poor Egyptians fufilling what was probably a lifelong dream to visit Jerusalem – and then being refused entry to the St. Helena Chapel by the Coptic head honcho, apparently because of “solidarity with Palestinians over the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem”.