In a long letter printed on June 7, Betty Berenson, as a staunch loyalist of Israel, gave us the regular dose of fact-distortions, coupled this time with a total insensitivity toward Christians and Muslims. She said: "This city (Jerusalem) is as sacred for Jews as Mecca and Medina are for Muslims, or as Rome for Catholics." What about non-Catholic Christians (Protestants, Orthodox, Anglicans etc.)? It seems that Ms. Berenson wants to monopolize Jerusalem for Israel, the same way Israel wants to monopolize the Holocaust for the Jews. It seems also that she has some trouble admitting that Jerusalem is a holy city for all three faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and as such it is one of a kind, hence the special status it should have. It seems, finally, that non-Catholics do not count much in her eyes. For her information, even for Catholics, Rome can never replace Jerusalem. In their Profession of Faith, at every Mass, they proclaim: "... for our sake he (Jesus Christ) was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures." These events didn't happen in Rome, but, unfortunately for Ms. Berenson, in Jerusalem.
Having said that, I would like to draw the attention to the statement issued last January by the heads of churches in the Holy Land, a statement that was ignored, as usual, by the media. It states: "We condemn the stabbing of the patriarchal vicar of the Syrian Catholic Church on Christmas Eve, and the assault on his convent... [V]andals slashed the tires of several cars belonging to Christian institutions ... and daubed racist slogans on a gate. During the weekend of December 28, a rare 6th century Byzantine mosaic was vandalized ... . Two funerary chambers belonging to an Armenian 6th century monastery were buried beneath a huge pile of rocks. Several Christian vestiges, such as St. Stephen's monastic complex (near Damascus Gate) and St. George's monastery outside Jaffa Gate have been denied posterity and buried under new highways." So much for Israel's record in 1991, as far as the Christian community in Jerusalem is concerned.
June 18, 1992
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