There's a huge controversy brewing over what is described as "explosive"
allegations that the Greek Orthodox Church's patriarch in Jerusalem sold
property in that city to Jews.
Clearly a tragedy and an outrage. I mean, property in the Jews' holy city
being bought by Jews. Imagine that.
If some group in the United States threw a hissy fit over property being
sold to or bought by members of racial or religious group, my guess is that
the outcry would be over the hissy fit. But the Arab world is definitely not
the United States.
The Arab world, particularly the Palestinians, are reportedly up in arms
over what they term "the Judaizing" of Jerusalem.
Specifically, the Church's patriarch, Irineos I, is being pressured to
resign because one of his top aids may have made 198-year leases with Jews
for some church property, according to the Associated Press. AP also reports
that World Orthodox leaders voted Tuesday in Turkey to stop recognizing
Irineos I, asserting a rare unified position during a rare "pan-Orthodox"
gathering. Irineos refuses to resign.
Let's examine this.
It is apparently grossly unacceptable for the Christian owners of property
in Israel, in Jerusalem, the city of David, built by the Jews in antiquity,
to sell or lease any of it to Jews.
Doesn't this show a rather intense anti-Semitism, while simultaneously
illuminating that fact that there is property in Israel owned by members of
other faiths. In fact, there are churches and mosques all over the place
there, where adherents are left unmolested to worship as they choose. This
is not generally the case in the 40-odd Arab/Muslim countries, where being a
non-Muslim is a definite handicap, and being a Jew can be fatal.
These houses of worship of various faiths remain standing in the Holy Land,
even since Israel's rebirth. An impartial comparison between Israel and
probably any place overtaken by Arabs/Muslims in the past thousand years,
would surely reveal a marked lack of tolerance for any other faith on
Islam's part. The Muslim tradition, in fact, has been to destroy any vestige
of a peoples' past culture or religion when-and-wherever Islam has gained
the upper hand.
In no other arena is the qualitative difference between the Jewish and
Muslim cultures more evident than in the fact that there are millions of
Arabs living and working in Israel, some even serving in the military and
the parliament, working as doctors and nurses in Israeli hospitals and
generally enjoying the same freedoms and responsibilities as Jewish
Israelis. This seems to strike no one as strange, though it stands in marked
contrast to the treatment of Jews in the Muslim world. Somehow, though, the
idea of Jews living in "Palestine" or most other Arab countries, strikes
many people as an unacceptable and dangerous provocation.
I find that curious and not a little aggravating, especially since, despite
the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Israel, and not the Arab/Muslim
world, has been labeled by many as racist.
Irineos I is under siege for leasing to Jews land Palestinians want for the
capital of a future state.
Why would Jerusalem and not Ramallah or some other West Bank or Gazan city
be the capitol of a future Palestinian state? Jerusalem is holy to Jews as
the sight of the ancient temples of David and Solomon. It is Judaism's only
holy city, mentioned in the Torah hundreds if not thousands of
times. It's holy to Christians as the place Jesus preached and died, and is
mentioned many times in the Christian Bible, too.
Jerusalem is said to be holy to Muslims as the place from which Mohammed,
who historically never actually set foot there, ascended to heaven riding a
winged beast. Jerusalem is mentioned in the Quran exactly zero times.
Jerusalem's famous and admittedly beautiful gold-domed mosque was
constructed atop the ancient temple and bigger than the Church of the Holy
Sepulcher, as a symbolic raspberry -- it's importance to Islam artificially
The Israel/Palestinian situation is an impossible quagmire, with the
Israelis seemingly unable to win for losing. It should get out of Gaza, it
shouldn't get out of Gaza. It should get out immediately, but not too soon.
It has the right to defend its citizens against bloodthirsty terrorists, but
not to do so effectively.
Where is the Messiah when you need him?