April 13, 2017
Dear Friend of Israel
Earlier this week, on Palm Sunday – when Christians around the world commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, leading up to the celebration of Easter – bombs exploded at two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt. Dozens of worshippers were killed, and more than 100 were injured. The ISIS terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attacks, and Egypt’s government declared a state of emergency.
Far from an isolated event, this vicious, cowardly attack was part of a well-established trend of radical Islamist violence against Christians in the Middle East. Throughout the region, Christians are increasingly threatened by radical Islamists. The Christian population in the Middle East is shrinking – Christians now make up only 3 to 4 percent of the region’s population, down from about 20 percent a century ago.
Indeed, with radical Islamist hostility toward Christians in the region reaching a fever pitch, it seems likely that many countries in the Middle East will soon be free of the “Sunday people” (Christians) – just as they are now free of the “Saturday people” (Jews). The exception, of course, will be Israel, a country where religious freedom for all – Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike – is written into law and respected in practice.
The Fellowship’s aid programs help all people in need within Israel, including Christians, and we will do everything in our power to extend assistance beyond the borders of Israel to help persecuted Christians. The state of Israel enjoys the support of millions of Christians around the world. Today you are the main counterweight to the BDS movement. Your faithful prayers undoubtedly help keep the nation safe. And your financial support makes The Fellowship the largest provider of humanitarian aid in Israel outside of the government. It is our duty and privilege to respond in kind with unequivocal support in the face of such tragedies.
Today, please pray for beleaguered Christians throughout the Middle East. May God protect them from those who mean them harm, and allow them to worship as they see fit, free from the threat of violence. May He comfort all those who have lost loved ones in attacks.
I want to wish our Christian friends a happy Easter, and a happy Passover to our Jewish friends. May God bless us with His most precious of gifts – the gift of shalom, peace.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President