To the editor,
CBS anchor Bob Simon observed in the 60 Minutes story on Israel’s Christians, “The one place where Christians are not suffering from violence is the Holy Land”. A real journalist would have tried to determine what makes Israel safer and why Israel’s Christian community has grown, when all around the region Christians are fleeing. But, for that “inconvenient truth” Simon could not blame the Jews. Many hundreds of thousand Jews fled those same countries decades ago, after centuries of intolerance and violence similar to what Christians experience in Arab ruled states. Israeli memories of persecution are one reason Israel remains Christianity’s only safe haven in the Middle East. This history, Simon ignored.
Instead, Simon relied on Mitri Raheb, whom he characterized as “a Palestinian, a Christian and a Lutheran minister from Bethlehem,” for much of his information. Raheb must have skipped Bible and his history classes, too. He is quoted as saying Christianity was “Made in Palestine.”
Jesus was a Jew born in Judea. There was no Palestine when Jesus was born. It was a name later given to the area by Europeans of the Roman Empire, the first, but unfortunately not the last time Europeans massacred and expelled Jews.