Sunday, December 17, 2006

Israeli retreat from Bethlehem, DBA detained for praying

International Christian Embassy
starts drive to ensure rights to territories

by Liat Collins

The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem is beginning an international campaign to ensure Christian rights after IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) withdrawal from the territories.

On Sunday, some 1,200 Christians carrying banners proclaiming "Bethlehem will be Jewish Forever," attended a solidarity and prayer rally at Rachel's Tomb.

International Christian Embassy spokesman Jan van der Hoeven stressed the need to keep Bethlehem open to all faiths and spoke against the rise of Islamic extremism. He noted the growing number of Christian residents in Bethlehem who are asking the embassy's help in moving out of the city for fear of Moslem action against them once the IDF leaves.

The deadline for IDF evacuation has been brought forward to December 22.

Nearly all the participants at the rally were visiting for the International Christian Embassy's Feast of Tabernacles activities. Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, of Efrat, also addressed the crowd.

About 30 residents of Jerusalem's Gilo section attended the rally, noting the proximity between their neighborhood and Rachel's Tomb.

Yesterday, David Ben-Ariel, a Christian member of the Temple Mount Faithful, said he was harassed and detained by both Moslem Wakf guards and the police after he went up to the Mount to pray.

"It's not news that Jews can't pray there, even though everybody claims there is freedom for all faiths," he said. "But people don't realize that Christians can't pray there either," he said.

Ben-Ariel was wearing a shirt with the Temple Mount Faithful slogan on it at the time of his arrest.

(The Jerusalem Post, Tuesday, October 17, 1995)

A House of Prayer for All Peoples?