Israel’s Persecution Of Christians In the Holy Land

(CBS NEWS) The exodus from the Holy Land of Palestinian Christians could eventually leave holy cities like Jerusalem and Bethlehem without a local Christian population. Bob Simon reports.


Why are they leaving? For some, life in the middle of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become too difficult.


The following script is from “Christians of the Holy Land” which aired on April 22, 2012. Bob Simon is the correspondent. Harry Radliffe, producer.

Christians of the Holy Land

This is what the Holy Land looks like today. Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. Nazareth, where he grew up. Jerusalem, where he died and where Christians believe he was resurrected. Nazareth is inside the state of Israel. Bethlehem is on the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The Christian section of Jerusalem is also under Israeli control.

We know the area well — know that it is arguably the most fought over piece of real estate in the world, sacred to half of humanity. Still, when we decided to do the story last year, we did not realize our story would become so controversial.

Our story begins in Bethlehem, where it all began. We went to Saint Catherine’s in the Church of the Nativity.

For local Catholics, this is their parish church. The day we went, a confirmation was underway. Father Marwan Dides, a Franciscan, led one child after another up to the altar, watched by proud parents. The church was so crowded it was difficult to believe that Christians now makeup only 18 percent of what was for centuries an overwhelmingly Christian town.

Father Dides: We are the living stones of the Holy Land. From here, it all started. And it had to continue. It’s a must. It must continue. If there is no people, no Christians here, it will never continue.

Here in Jerusalem, the numbers are even bleaker than in Bethlehem.

Theophilos the third, the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox, has lived through the decline. His church, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, is the most sacred site in Christendom. He took us up to the roof. You’ve got to know a patriarch to get here.

Theophilos: Come in. You are inside the Holy Sepulcher. Just inside here is the tomb.

That is the tomb which covers the site of the resurrection.

Bob Simon: When you first came here in 1964, what was the percentage of Christians in the old city?

Theophilos: There were around 30,000 of– Christians living in the Old City.

Bob Simon: And now how many are there?

Theophilos: Very few.

So few, some 11,000 Christians out of a population of almost 800,000 — just one and a half percent.

Religious leaders are afraid Jerusalem could become a museum, a spiritual theme park, a great place for tourists and pilgrims, but not for the Arab Christians whose roots date back to the church’s very beginnings.

Mitri Raheb: Christianity started here. The only thing that Palestine was able to export so successfully was Christianity.

Mitri Raheb is a Palestinian, a Christian and a Lutheran minister from Bethlehem. He runs schools, cultural centers and health clinics.

Source:  CBS NEWS.COM.

United Methodist Kairos Response – Answering the Call from Holy Land Christians



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33 Responses to "Israel’s Persecution Of Christians In the Holy Land"

  1. ricohands  April 29, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Obviously you are a zioNUT with a disturbed sense of entitlement to Palestine and no idea of right over wrong.

  2. Jason  April 28, 2012 at 6:59 am

    If that’s your view, then your only goal is to destroy Israel.

    Israel has the the right and the obligation to defend herself from those that wish to destroy her – people like you.

    Because your goal is only to destroy Israel, your criticisms of her are invalid and worthless, especially since you believe she has no right to exist.

    Your views, unfortunately, are the views of the Palestinians and Arabs.


  3. ricohands  April 28, 2012 at 6:29 am

    You need reminding: ALL of “Israel” = Zionist Occupied Palestine. Period.

  4. ricohands  April 27, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Jason: You have no sense of justice or right from wrong and that is simply because you are indoctrinated to nothing since birth. The Palestinians are where they have always been and never disturbed you in your ghettos (shtetls) in eastern Europe. You went to their homeland (illegally) and forced 80% of them off their homeland all so you could be the majority. You have to be extremely disturbed (and brainwashed) to believe that is right. You lost the argument the minute you landed in Palestine.

  5. Jason  April 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Is your sole argument that Israel should not exist? If so, fine. But to criticize a nation and her people when all you seek is her destruction is non-sensical and ridiculous.

    Israel exists and has the right and obligation to defend herself from those that wish only to destroy her.

  6. Jason  April 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Are you referring to the number of Jews that lived in Arab and Muslim mid-east countries before the Israel’s war of independence in 1948?

    And are you referring to the riots and pogroms in the 20s and 30s incited by the Hitler loving Grand Mufti of Jerusalem?

    The Palestinians and Arabs have never shown a desire to live in peace with Israel.


  7. ricohands  April 27, 2012 at 11:19 am

    “something more sinister” that should read at the end of my last sentence.

  8. ricohands  April 27, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Besides that being beside the point (it was your terrorist founders who only wanted to ethnically cleanse 80% of the natives out for you to be the majority) they are 2nd class citizens in every way. They cannot own land (no more than the 2% they currently own), they cannot live where they want and even in their citizen status in their passport’s they have a couple of stars (*) which stinks of some sinister

  9. ricohands  April 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

    @ Jason: That hardly justifies you living in Palestine at the Palestinians expense. @ Debbie: Exactly. Millions more. There are something like 6 million Palestinians waiting to go to their homeland.

  10. ricohands  April 27, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Thanks. It was also a thank you from Christians for Peace in the Middle East:

  11. Debbie Menon  April 26, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Before the Nakbah and the the massacres,and before Palestine became a Jewish state, there were millions more. 25,000 Jews live in Iran. By Mike Whitney : Israel now wants to attack and kill millions of young Iranians.

    Much of the paranoia which bedevils world Jewry is the rightful deserved fear that the rest of the world will figure them out, what they are really doing, and do something to stop it.

    This has been a Jewish problem ever since the very beginning of Jewish history.

    Why do you think the “Wandering Jew” has been unwelcome almost everywhere he has gone?

    Why was Moses asked to take his people and get the hell out of Egypt?

    Why did they wander homeless and unwelcome through the Sinai and the land which they call Israel, unwelcome by all of the native inhabitants, eventually at war or exiled by the local populace?

    There were no so-called, “anti-Semites” until the Jews came to visit, and moved in.

    I quote: *Alan Sabrosky from his insightful article: Zionism Unmasked: The Dark Face Of Jewish Nationalism

    “The late General Moshe Dayan, who — Zionist or not — remains an honored part of my own Pantheon of military heroes, allegedly observed that Israel’s security depended on its being viewed by others as a mad dog. He may have been correct. But he neglected to note that the preferred response of everyone else is to kill that mad dog before it can decide to go berserk and bite. It is an option worth considering.” —
    *Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D, University of Michigan) is a ten-year US Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the US Army War College.) from article: Zionism Unmasked: The Dark Face Of Jewish Nationalism

  12. Jason  April 26, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Last time I checked there were 1.5 millions Israeli Arabs. How many Jews are there in Arab/Muslim countries in the mid-east?

    You and people like you pretend the Palestinians are innocent unwitting victims when in fact it is the Palestinians and their brain-dead leadership and people like you that are responsible for the Palestinians’ plight.

    Until Palestinians and Arabs want to live in peace with Israel, there will be no peace.


  13. Debbie Menon  April 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Under Illegal Israeli occupation, Palestinians have endured decades of unlawful home demolitions, checkpoints, land confiscation, detentions without charges, and much more. That’s primarily why Palestinians are leaving, and why Palestinian Christians issued a call to Christians in other lands to help create pressure on the Israeli government through divestment campaigns. This week the United Methodist Church is considering a historic vote to begin phased divestment from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

    The “60 Minutes” segment, exposes the length the Israeli Embassy and Israeli government will go to intimidate journalists and prevent the public, particularly the American public from knowing the truth. The Jewish State dehumanizes Christians and Muslims. No churches in the Muslim world are being destroyed or burnt, if there ever have been, there is a strong possibility it has been instigated by the usual suspects to create a clash/division between Christians and Muslims. Get over it Zionists! Game over!

  14. Debbie Menon  April 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    @ Rico


    Bob Simon exposes the ambassador Oren and his government for objecting to the story in American Media before it was even completed and exposes how the Israeli government tried to censor the story. More power to those in mainstream like Bob Simons finally venturing out to expose the lengths to which Israel and its apologists will go to try to prevent the American public from knowing the truth.

  15. frunobulax  April 26, 2012 at 12:40 am

    I received a mail from jewish voice for peace, saying
    “Thank you 60 Minutes” – they are concerned about a shit storm
    reaching CBS for this documentary and I guess they are right
    So support CBS and show a little sympathy for their couregeous
    reporting,pls visit
    (some further links at the bottom)
    – and sign!

    You ought to know that, on the other hand, many people are busy
    to get CBS turning the other direction.

  16. Gary Walker  April 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Not that it matters much but, in Karen Armstrongs book, Jerusalem, she talks about the church of the holy sepulcher. If I remember right, she says that the keys to the church have to be held by a Muslim because the Christians, Orthodox and whatever, are continually fighting (fisticuffs) with each other over who is in charge.


  17. Eileen Fleming  April 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    “HOPE has two children.The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it.”-St. Augustine

    “F’K HOPE, it’s not about hope, it’s about getting up every day and asking yourself-what must be done today in the pursuit of JUSTICE and doing it!”-loose paraphrase of Allen Ginsberg

  18. Brian  April 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    DaveE, very good comments. The video also doesn’t mention the prejudice of Askenazi Jews against the brown Sephardic Jews.

    Thousands perhaps millions of Christian Zionists who watched the 60 minutes episode are outraged by the mild criticism of Israel, which leads to stronger support and more money sent to Israel, it’s absurd.

  19. DaveE  April 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Great reporting, Clark Kent! Seriously…. that’s good news, it shows they really ARE getting nervous when the PM has to intervene. Maybe there’s hope, yet.

  20. ricohands  April 25, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Apparently ynet revealed that in fact Bob Simon’s segment was softened after Israeli intervention and lobbying by a number of operatives including the Israeli embassy. The story also reported that Oren updated Netanyahu about the CBS segment and Netanyahu was personally involved. Oren referred to the segment as a “strategic terrorist attack”.

    So it was a “hatchet job” alright. Lol

  21. DaveE  April 25, 2012 at 11:45 am

    The Washington ComPost hasn’t published anything worth reading for a LONG time, unless you want to know what the neocon-zionist serpents are up to.

  22. DaveE  April 25, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Absolutely right, Brian. A typical, self serving “expose” that doesn’t even BEGIN to tell the full story of Christian persecution in Palestine. A rather pathetic attempt at deflection while attempting to appear “even handed.”

    However, are Christians really so naive to think that the terror the Jews have inflicted on the Muslim world would be spared the Christians? I mean, C’mon.

    It seems the zionists plan was to keep Christians fighting Muslims, ala Iraq and Afghanistan, which were largely supported by Christians across the board. However, now that many Christians have soured on wars for the zionists and are waking up and realizing who the real terrorists are, expect more direct Jew-against-Christian attacks, terrorism and discrimination.

  23. ricohands  April 25, 2012 at 11:26 am

    First honest bit of MSM reporting on the Holy land that I can remember and must be applauded especially considering CBS is zionist owned and the pressure they were under not to show it was immense. Moral of the story: Truth always prevails. May take some time but it always outs.

  24. Brian  April 25, 2012 at 8:29 am

    From the Jewish Zionist Washington Post:

    Christians United for Israel reports that, in the first 24 hours of its “action alert,” asking members to contact CBS to raise concerns about bias and inaccuracy, more than 29,000 e-mails have been sent. (I was given access to a screenshot of the e-mail tabulation, by the nonprofit group Convio, that supports CUFI’s claim, showing 29,602 e-mails have been sent.)

    Matt Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, had this response to my request for comment: “It is absolutely outrageous that, of all the places in the Middle East, and in fact the world, to single out religious persecution of Christians, CBS would choose to attack Israel. Israel is a beacon to the world for religious tolerance and inclusiveness. The picture painted by Bob Simon and CBS on ‘60 Minutes’ has no basis in reality. Sadly Christians are being murdered and persecuted daily in the Muslim world and across the globe.”

    Middle East experts were generally aghast at the CBS segment. John Bolton, a former ambassador to the United Nations, told me: “The real threat to Christians in the Holy Land is Islamicist terrorism, not Israel’s legitimate self-defense measures to protect all of its citizens, whatever their religion. This report was propaganda, not news.”

    Brian: This article from the Wasington Post is a peice of crap.

  25. Eileen Fleming  April 25, 2012 at 8:20 am

    I had just returned from 9 days in NYC when this show aired and I JUMPED for JOY that it did. Immediately after the show I made the 3rd comment @ the CBS thread and by the time I refreshed the page dozens more appeared. I made many more in support of the great job Simon did, covering the beat I have since 2005.

    But now I am frustrated that my comments are being BLOCKED both on their YT and Websites. My latest that has NOT gone through-yet:

    Dear CBS,

    The Youtube of this clip has developed a glitch; and it has been 2 hours of TRYING to respond to m6c9d who responded to my comment of 24hours ago and I wrote:

    “Oren is terrified of The TRUTH. And isn’t it great that the Zionist spin has finally spun out?”

    m6c9d replied:
    Mrs. Flemming
    You are absolutely correct! Oren/israel are very terrified of THE TRUTH, just like they are about Americans finding out they did 9/1, The USS Liberty, The Lavon Affair, The Beruit Marine Barracks Bombing, The Khobar Tower Bombing, etc., and that even the “state” of israel was itself established with of a BIG LIE known as “the holocaust” Lest we forget about the Balfour Declaration, and Transfer Agreement, etc.!
    US Army Veteran
    Marc C. Daniele
    Hercy, Mo.

    I TRIED to THANK Marc for his comment and SERVICE and to alert him to my USS LIBERTY series @ but I have been BLOCKED for 2 hours so I skip over THAT WALL and express myself here instead as I am also mystified as to WHY my YT offerings in response to your report: “Christians of the Holy Land” still have NOT been accepted.

    PLEASE ALL who cross this way search YouTube for:

    “Vanunu’s Message to US Re: The REAL Wailing Wall”
    “Mordechai Vanunu Addresses Israel’s Intent RE: Solitary Confinement” which are my little productions.

    I am eileen fleming for US HOUSE and I approve of all of my messages and very ready to tell my story to 60 MINUTES!

  26. Charlotte NC Bill  April 25, 2012 at 8:11 am

    You’re right…Expecting fair reporting on Palestine from the MSM is like expecting snow in Miami for Christmas…Christians in Palestine/Lebanon/Egypt need to start thinking and acting more like Muslims when it comes to resistance…This turn the other cheek stuff doesn’t apply when dealing with the Synagogue of Satan…The Christians in Lebanon that are behind Gen. Michel Aoun have the right idea…christians in the ME that expect help from Israel’s toadies in the West shouldn’t be surprised when their Muslim neighbors look at them in a bad way..

  27. Brian  April 25, 2012 at 7:58 am

    The Jewish Zionist 60 Minutes video is a piece of crap. Christians are discriminated in Israel because they are not Jewish. This video is designed by 60 Minutes to gain Christian support and money for Israel. Michael Oren born Michael Scott Bornstein got way too much camera time. He wasn’t asked why he enjoys terrorizing Palestinians and everybody else who isn’t Jewish.

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