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Middle East

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Religious Persecution...in Israel?

Israel is widely touted as the “only democracy in the Middle East.” Other Middle Eastern countries have governmental structures ranging from absolute dictatorship to one party systems where, although the population has the right to vote, only one view is permissible. Israel, however, has a multi-party system with electoral representation, a judiciary and an executive body. At a glance, it appears that the system is similar to that of the United States. Consequently, many people assume that religious freedom, a democratic value, is a given in Israel.

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I became personally involved in questions of justice in Palestine/Israel because of a friendship with someone who grew up and went to the Catholic school in Jerusalem. He had to leave in 1967 and has no right of return to his home. It is a great sadness for him. Now he does not want to go back because he would not be able to bear going there while his homeland is under Israeli military occupation.

Is Jesus a Zionist?

Jesus would find modern Zionism peculiar. More than that, in his own day, he rejected the closest thing to it. But first let’s explain our terms.

History in the Making: The Tearing Apart of Jerusalem

From the very first mention in the Scriptures Salem, the city of peace, was known for its hospitality under the leadership of the high priest and king, Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18-20). Salem is believed to be the historical precursor to the modern day Holy City of Jerusalem. Known in Hebrew as Yerushalayim and in Arabic as al-Quds, Jerusalem’s multi-religious landscape includes the sacred sites of the three major Abrahamic religions–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

What is Happening in Israel and Palestine?

Over the Easter weekend, the news media was once again flooded with violent images coming out of Israel and Palestine. We saw groups of masked Palestinians stoke fires made of tires while thick smoke rose into the grey-blue Gazan sky. On the other side of the barrier fence we saw Israeli artillery vehicles shoot teargas to disperse the crowds, and a hundred snipers shoot live ammunition as the people ran for cover. What is going on over there? Will the violence ever end?

Finding My Place in Reconciliation

Ever since starting to study at Redeemer, I’ve become more familiar with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and Canada’s history in the treatment of Indigenous people. Thanks to classes with William Postma and Naaman Wood, I’ve wanted to join the effort of reconciliation with Indigenous communities, but I didn’t really know what the process of reconciliation looked like practically. Maybe you’ve felt the same way.

Where Justice Dwells

In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where justice dwells.
—2 Peter 3:13

In the face of injustice, it can be easy for us as Christians to become so overwhelmed by the scope of sin that we fail to do anything at all. But there are a number of ways that God’s people are called to respond to the injustices we see around us. When we look to God, and to God’s vision for us, we find an invitation to remember, pray, and advocate.

The Burden of Palestinian Christians’ Oppression

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2 (NIV)

The Prayer Warriors of the Persecuted Church in Egypt

November 11, 2011 was a critical day for the Egyptian Church.

Following months of revolutionary activity, and the blood of many political martyrs, and coming on the heels of almost a decade of faithful prayer for their country, 70,000 Christians of many denominations drew together in a night vigil of worship and prayer at the famous cave churches in Mokattam, at the heart of Cairo, calling to God, to bring transformation, hope, and renewal to the church and the people of Egypt and the Middle East. (The image above shows one of the cave churches.)

Questions to Ask about Your Trip to Israel/Palestine

In making a decision about taking a trip to Israel/Palestine, in addition to the natural questions about costs and dates, there are several questions that should be answered before making a decision regarding which trip to choose. The more clarity travelers have about the answers, the greater the possibility that they will have an experience that will grow their faith and their faithful discipleship of Jesus Christ.

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