Due to persecution and terror, Christian communities throughout the Middle East are on the decline. But thanks to the freedom to worship found in Israel, reports The Jerusalem Post's Greer Fay Cashman, Christians are thriving in the Jewish state:
In his address, Rivlin spoke of the ongoing effort to build good relations between Christians and Jews, saying that Jews, Christians and Muslims alike share many common values and a deep respect for mankind “created in God’s image.”
For all that, Rivlin termed the current period, “a challenging time for anyone who loves Jerusalem and the justice and peace that this holy city stands for. Terrorism and death are less present today than a year ago, but the situation could still be better,” said Rivlin. “Fear has not left us, and I am sad to say intolerance, mistrust and hatred are still high.”
Linking himself to the men and women in front of him, Rivlin said: “Like each of you, I see my role and the role of the State of Israel as guardians of this city. As guardians, our sovereignty over Jerusalem will never compromise the freedom of worship and religion for all believers.” Then building up to his condemnation of the United Nations Security Council, Rivlin said: United Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and it will remain so. There is no international body with the power to revoke this...”
Israel is the only country in the region where freedom of worship is not only permitted, but protected, and the only country in which the Christian population is actually flourishing.
Whereas Christian communities throughout the Middle East are declining, in Israel they are growing and now number 120,000.
Deri said that his ministry is committed to ensuring the strength and prosperity of the Christian communities, and mentioned various budgetary allocations that he had made to them. He also explained the benefits of the launch this week of the plan to strengthen the northern region of the country, which is where 70% of Israel’s Christians live.