Israel, a safe haven for Christians and other minorities

Rita Quartel - 20 January 2023

The news in Israel continues to be dominated by the conflict concerning the new government’s plans to reform the relationship between the Parliament (Knesset), government and judiciary. The debate continues to rage as to whether the government’s proposed reforms will destroy or advance democracy.

The issue intensified yesterday, when the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the government’s appontment of the head of the Shas Party, Aryeh Deri, as Minister for interior and health was “unreasonable in the extreme”, given Deri’s convictions on criminal charges in recent years. Prime Minister Netanyahu now has to decide whether to follow, or ignore, the court’s ruling.

It is worth remembering that Israel – which does not have a written constitution – has faced many crises before. Moreover, with or without the reforms, Israel remains a beacon of democracy in the region. There is no other country in the Middle East where there is such freedom and respect for the dignity of the individual.

Christians, for example, enjoy freedom and protection in Israel far exceeding that in any other country in the Middle East – in fact, far exceeding most countries in the world. In many parts of the Middle East and Africa, for example, Christians are being persecuted and even slaughtered. In many Western countries, Christians are increasingly marginalized. In Israel, by contrast, Israeli Christians play an important part in all aspects of public life, including the army and diplomatic service. A good example is George Deek – an Arab Christian from Jaffa who serves as Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan.

Let us continue to pray for wisdom for Israel’s leaders, as they seek to protect Israel’s right to be the national home for the Jewish people, while ensuring respect for all individuals and minority groups in the land.

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today

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Leviticus 19

The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israeland say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy (…) “‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God (…) “‘Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them. I am the LORD.’”