This past weekend one of the most abominable anti-Israel bashers (whom I will not give the dignity of naming), a self-proclaimed member of the ‘human rights’ community in the United States, spoke in our town at the invitation of the local so-called ‘Peace Coalition’.
In a talk peppered with one unsubstantiated ‘fact’ after another, she outrageously and repeatedly accused Israel of every conceivable crime. In the context of asserting that Muslims and Christians have always lived together in peace, she even declared that “Israel is murdering Christians.”
Demographic statistics tell a different story. Over the last century in Jordan, the Christian population has dropped from 18% to 2%; in Syria from 50% to 4%; in Lebanon from 55% to 35%; in Turkey, the number of Christians has declined from two million to 85,000. In Egypt, the Christian population has declined to under 5% and hardly a day goes by without a report of Muslims attacking Egyptian Coptic Christians. In Iraq, Iran, the Sudan, and Gaza, Christianity is on the verge of eradication.
Nowhere is this trend more evident than in Bethlehem. According to a Muslim reporter for the Jerusalem Post: “Many Christians in Bethlehem and the nearby [Christian] towns of Bet Sahour and Bet Jalla have repeatedly complained that Muslims have been seizing their lands either by force or through forged documents. In recent years, not only has the number of Christians continued to dwindle, but Bethlehem and its surroundings also became hotbeds for Hamas and Islamic Jihad supporters and members. Moreover, several Christian women living in these areas have complained about verbal and sexual assaults by Muslim men. Over the past few years, a number of Christian businessmen [have been] forced to shut down their businesses because they could no longer afford to pay “protection” money to local Muslim gangs” (http://www.hudson-ny.org/501/the-beleaguered-christians-in-bethlehem).
For these reasons, since the early 1990s when the Palestinian Authority took over control of Bethlehem, the population of Christians in the city has dramatically decreased from 60% then, to 10% today, raising fears of no Christian presence in the city of Jesus’ birth within two decades.
Where are those who constantly clamor for religious freedom? Where are the human rights groups like our local ‘peace coalition’? Where is the world media? They are uniquely and obsessively focusing on Israel.
Ironically, there is only one Middle Eastern country where the Christian community is growing: the Jewish state of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, the Christian community has increased from 34,000 people in 1949 to 163,000 today. It is projected that by the end of this decade there will be 187,000 Christians in Israel. So the next time you hear about Israelis persecuting Christians. . .