Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, met this morning with Christian leaders in Israel – including Armenian Patriarch Nourhan Manougian, Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilous III, and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal – to offer reassurances of Israel’s support, especially in these times of persecution and terror.
President Rivlin reiterated Israel’s commitment to the values of freedom of worship, and to the well-being of the Christian community which was facing persecution across the Middle East. He said, “I come here today to say in the clearest way: the State of Israel is deeply committed to ensure the religious rights of worship and activity of all communities of faith in Jerusalem and throughout Israel.
But these times are challenging times not only in our holy city, but across the region. Civil war and bloodshed in the name of religion, have brought much pain, and loss, to the Christian communities.” He added that “I am proud that Israel is the only country in our region where the Christian community is not shrinking, but in fact is growing. Christianity in Israel is not only about historic or holy sites and the many pilgrims who come to visit them. It is a living faith, a living community. We must work together to make sure this stays that way.”
Let us continue to keep Christians and Jews in Israel – and throughout the Middle East – in our prayers. May they be able to boldly declare of God the words of 2 Samuel 22:3-4, “He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior – from violent people you save me. ‘I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies.’”