No mention of Israel’s record of treatment of Palestinian Christians, writes Levitan
Re: Shimon Fogel’s “Canada should do more to aid persecuted Christian minorities,” (The Hill Times, Dec. 21, 2015, p. 14) there is a censure of Middle Eastern and African regimes’ treatment of Christian minorities, but no mention of Israel’s record with regard to its treatment of Palestinian Christians.
Israel’s foundation as a state depended on the forced removal of the country’s indigenous population, which consisted predominantly of Muslims and Christians, to make way for a Jewish demographic majority. This resulted in the depopulation and destruction of over 400 Palestinian villages.
The Palestinian Christian villages of Kafr Bir’im and Iqrit were ethnically cleansed by Israeli forces in 1948, with the village of Iqrit being demolished on Christmas eve of 1950— an early Christmas gift to the internally displaced Palestinian Christian citizens of Israel.
Palestinian Christian citizens of Israel, much like their Muslim counterparts, continue to face institutional discrimination: the inability to expand their towns based on natural growth; vastly unequal access to state resources such as education, land, and housing; and frequent references to them by Israel’s leaders as being a “demographic threat” due to their non-Jewish background, to name but a few examples.
In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Christian population is shrinking as Christians are opting to leave due to the harsh realities of living under Israel’s brutal military occupation, which has lasted nearly 50 years.
Based on Mr. Fogel’s commentary, it would appear Israel is being singled out as the only Middle-Eastern country immune from criticism of its persecution of Christian minorities under its sovereign control.
Independent Jewish Voices Canada
This letter was published in The Hill Times on January 18, 2016.