ISRAEL - Greek Orthodox Patriarch Warns of Extremist Jewish Threat

Arno Froese

Extremist Israeli forces are raising tensions in Jerusalem’s Old City, straining daily life and harming worshipers, warned Theophilos III of Jerusalem, the current patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, when he met with US President Joe Biden, Channel 12’s Yaron Avraham reported.

In a letter to Biden, the patriarch wrote, “It is saddening that these groups are supported, in part, by right-wing figures in Israel’s political sphere. They are, together, trying to disrupt the longtime status quo in the city.”

“Our presence in Jerusalem is under threat,” Theophilos III wrote shortly after Christmas in a Times of London column, explaining his belief that there was an aim to drive the Christian community from the Old City.

“Our churches are threatened by Israeli radical fringe groups,” he wrote. “At the hands of these Zionist extremists, the Christian community in Jerusalem is suffering greatly. 

In April, Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum accused Church leaders of painting a “false narrative” and misrepresenting the facts about minorities in Jerusalem as part of a “well-orchestrated fundraising campaign to the Christian world.”

Hassan-Nahoum described recent attacks by Church leaders, including those by Theophilos III, as “surprising and deeply disappointing.” She noted that the city has invested “unprecedented resources” in the Old City and east Jerusalem over the past seven years to help close social gaps, and that the reports of vandalism had not been corroborated by the city or by the Israel Police.

The deputy mayor shared the following numbers via the Israel Democracy Institute: The Christian population in Israel has grown by 1.5% in the last year, and 84% of Christians are satisfied with their lives in this country., 17 July 2022

Arno's Commentary

There is no question that “Israeli radical fringe groups” exist; that’s the case in all so-called free countries. However, from firsthand testimonies, the Church—those who have placed their trust in Jesus as their Messiah—is growing significantly in Israel.

The words of the Jerusalem deputy mayor, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, reveal the other side of the story.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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