While cleaning out my draft folder, I found a story from the Christmas season featuring Israel and the tourist industry, among other things.
Some textile workshops in Jerusalem and Hebron have begun to print and sell T-shirts depicting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem without the cross. Because of the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the Palestinian territories, the cross was also removed from t-shirts of football teams. Interviewed by AsiaNews, Samir Qumsieh, journalist and director of the Catholic television station Al-Mahed Nativity TV in Bethlehem, said: “I want to launch a campaign to urge people not to buy these products – he says – because the removal of the cross is an intimidation against Christians, it is like saying that Jesus was never crucified. “
I’ve never really understood why people want to celebrate with a torture implement anyway. Yeah, with death he got the new life every Christian is supposed to strive for, supposedly, but still. Ick. And the timing of crosses at Christmas is odd anyway. Welcome to the world, Baby Jesus. We look forward to watching you die horribly… Creepy and sinister.
The Christian population in the country has been dropping, according to the article, and while the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is still a popular destination for midnight mass, at some point there may be no Catholics remaining in the Holy Land to draw more over there and the building might wind up used as a museum.
“In the Holy Land – said Qumsieh – the emigration of Christians is growing, even if the authorities refuse to give precise numbers. Every day there are people who flee to other countries. As Christians, we live in a constant feeling of fear and uncertainty, and if you live in constant tension and pessimism you can not plan anything.
Christian or not, that’s no life for anyone. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be in these warring countries feeling constantly under threat. No wonder they want out.
I just wonder how welcome they are where they want in.