Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sharon is the Christian's best friend

At the bottom of an Asia News piece on Perez leaving Labor for Sharon's new center-right party in Israel are two interesting paragraphs on the place of Christian Israelis in the general electorate.

All of this is of little direct significance to Israel's tiny Christian community. The great majority of Israel's Christian citizens belong to the Arab national minority, and their overriding concern - civil rights and equality - is shared with the much more numerous Muslim Arab citizens There has never been a "Christian vote", much less a "Catholic vote" in Israel. There is also no agreement where precisely the "Christian interest" lies. In principle, the Christian interest would appear to be in having as secularist and as left-wing a government as possible, since in Israel it is the secularist left wing that is normally most committed to civil rights and religious freedom.

Nonetheless, in concrete political terms, Israel has never had a Prime Minister more attentive to the Catholic Church than Ariel Sharon. It was the last Labour Party government (of Ehud Barak) that had decided to build a mosque for Islamist extremists right in front of the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, and it was Ariel Sharon who later cancelled this decision.

Read the complete article The new alliance Peres- Sharon , a “post-modern tragedy” from

A tangent
It's little snippets like this that lead me back to pondering questions I've raised before regarding the State of Israel. Is it 'the Jewish State' or 'the beacon of liberty and secularism' in a Middle East of Muslim states.

If you all recall the tension over the removal of the previous Patriarch of Jerusalem and the election of his successor over the illicit transfer of land from the Patriarchate to Israeli developers, also consider the response in Israel to the trade between the Holy See and Israel, the Toledo ex-synagogue for the house with the Upper Room in Jerusalem. Basically, it comes down to the issue of property rights. In a 'Jewish State', can any land be held by non-Jews and not come under scrutiny as some kind of bid to deprive the Jews of their land? If Israel retains ultimate sovereignty over its land, is it doubly required that every single square inch of Israeli territory has to be privately owned by Jews as well?

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