Following the publication of his public apology to King Abdullah II, ALL ISRAEL NEWS Founder and Editor-in-Chief Joel Rosenberg was interviewed by the Jerusalem Post regarding the growing number of attacks on Christians in Israel.
Rosenberg told the Post that the number of attacks on and harassment of Christians over the last year has caused him to change his mind and agree with Jordan’s king that attacks on Christians are a cause for concern.
King Abdullah II bin al-Hussein spoke to the United Nations General Assembly last September, and told the body: “Today, the future of Jerusalem is an urgent concern.”
King Hussein described Jerusalem as a city “holy to billions of Muslims, Christians, and Jews around the world.”
But he also gave a warning: “Today, Christianity in the Holy City is under fire,” Rosenberg argued. “The rights of churches in Jerusalem are threatened. This cannot continue. Christianity is vital to the past and present of our region and the Holy Land. It must remain an integral part of our future.”
Shortly after the king’s speech, Rosenberg wrote a response on ALL ARAB NEWS, saying, “Jordan’s king is mistaken.”
However, the rise in attacks against Christians over the last year caused Rosenberg to change his position, and issue his public apology to King Abdullah II.
“The Scriptures also teach us that when we make a mistake, we must have the humility to admit that we are wrong. And apologize,” Rosenberg wrote.
Rosenberg told the Post that he fears anti-Christian harassment and attacks could bring criticism from both Israel’s friends and enemies.
“If it gets worse and worse, attacks against Christians in Israel will draw criticism from Israel's friends and enemies alike,” Rosenberg said. “You do not want Israel to suddenly be in a position where it can be criticized as not being safe for Christians.”
Rosenberg echoed concerns shared by a recent opinion column on ALL ISRAEL NEWS, where the writer postulated Christian tourists may begin to feel unwelcome and unsafe in Israel.
“Christians worldwide want to come to the Holy Land,” Rosenberg said, “but they are often afraid because of the security situation. They are always a little anxious. You don't want them to think that Christians are especially being targeted.”
Rosenberg also warned that while Evangelical politicians tend to handle things discreetly, “you don't want a Senator Lindsey Graham or a former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo feeling that they need to call the prime minister.”
Rosenberg recently published an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to be involved in the situation.
There are some positive steps towards dealing with anti-Christian harassment and attacks.
On Monday, the Tourism Ministry convened a forum with the Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry and the Justice Ministry, the Israel Police, the Jerusalem Development Authority, and several other companies and organizations to address the subject of anti-Christian harassment and its effect on tourism.
On Aug. 14, the Israeli branch of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) published an open letter calling on Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion to publicly condemn attacks on Christians.
Earlier in the month, Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai visited a Haifa church that became a focal point for anti-Christian harassment, and condemned such behavior.
At the beginning of August, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with a Maronite Christian representative and released a video statement condemning attacks against Christians, calling for them to be prosecuted “without leniency.”
Rosenberg believes direct action by Netanyahu would help send a strong message, and demonstrate that the government values the friendship and support of Christians in Israel and around the world.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.