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'Jordanian king was right: Christianity is under fire in Jerusalem' – The Jerusalem Post

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In September last year, Jordanian King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein took a bold stance at the United Nations when he told the General Assembly that “Christianity in the Old City is under fire.”

In his address, the king warned of the perils of undermining Jerusalem’s historical and legal status. He argued they would stoke global tensions and deepen the divides among the world’s major religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Christianity is vital to the past and present of our region and the Holy Land,” the king said. “It must remain an integral part of our future.”

 JEWISH ACTIVISTS clash with police during a protest against a Christian conference, outside the Davidson Center in Jerusalem’s Old City, May 28. (credit: Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)
JEWISH ACTIVISTS clash with police during a protest against a Christian conference, outside the Davidson Center in Jerusalem’s Old City, May 28. (credit: Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

At the time, many raised eyebrows and questioned the necessity of such a statement, including Joel Rosenberg, the editor of All Israel News and All Arab News and the host of the Rosenberg Report on Trinity Broadcasting Network. 

However, Rosenberg acknowledged the king’s prescience this week and offered a surprising apology.

“The Scriptures teach us that when we make a mistake, we must have the humility to admit that we are wrong,” Rosenberg wrote, offering “an apology to my friend and neighbor, Jordan’s King Abdullah II.”

 Joel Rosenberg at the White House (credit: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)
Joel Rosenberg at the White House (credit: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)

A change of heart

Rosenberg, an evangelical who lives in Jerusalem, said on his show and told The Jerusalem Post that he had a change of heart and admitted that the king’s assessment was accurate and deeply concerning. Rosenberg now believes that if violence against Christians escalates, it could attract criticism from Israel’s allies and adversaries.

“If it gets worse and worse, attacks against Christians in Israel will draw criticism from Israel’s friends and enemies alike,” Rosenberg said Thursday. “You do not want Israel to suddenly be in a position where it can be criticized as not being safe for Christians.”

Over the past year, several antagonistic and violent incidents have occurred against Christians, including a handful against evangelical Christian visitors. In May, Christians celebrating the Pentecost near the Western Wall were subjected to verbal and physical assault by a group of Jewish extremists led by Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Arieh King. 

The following month, religious Jews rioted outside a Christian concert in Jerusalem. And, most recently, it became public that the Interior Ministry was denying evangelical Christians work and clergy visas needed to operate in the country. 

Around 50% of tourists to Israel are from the Christian community, the Tourism Ministry has said. 

Rosenberg said that “Christians worldwide want to come to the Holy Land,” but they are often afraid because of the security situation. “They are always a little anxious. You don’t want them to think that Christians are especially being targeted.”

“I strongly condemn any harm to tourists or disrespect towards Christian symbols. This despicable phenomenon contradicts the values of Judaism, with its fundamental principle being ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ We will work together to ensure our guests’ best possible tourist experience.”

Haim Katz, Tourism Minister

“I strongly condemn any harm to tourists or disrespect towards Christian symbols. This despicable phenomenon contradicts the values of Judaism, with its fundamental principle being ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ We will work together to ensure our guests’ best possible tourist experience.”
This week, an interministerial committee, together with the Israel Police and several NGOs, launched the “Old City Forum” to discuss the recent incidents of harassment against Christians to improve the tourist experience in the Old City of Jerusalem.

“The State of Israel allows religious freedom and tolerance for all,” Tourism Minister Haim Katz said. “I strongly condemn any harm to tourists or disrespect towards Christian symbols. This despicable phenomenon contradicts the values of Judaism, with its fundamental principle being ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ We will work together to ensure our guests’ best possible tourist experience.”

Rosenberg also warned the Post that increasing attacks against Christians could spark a backlash from Christian members of Congress and senators, who may begin to inquire about the situation. 

“Christian politicians tend to handle things discreetly. But you don’t want a Senator Lindsey Graham or a former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo feeling that they need to call the prime minister.”

Both Graham and Pompeo are evangelical Christians. He added that Jerusalem is supposed to be a “house of all nations” and that the violence is “shocking to me. 

“I don’t know why this is allowed to happen or why it has not been corrected.”

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Written by: Christianity Today

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