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Protesting Israeli Occupation of Bethlehem

Protesting Israeli Occupation of Bethlehem

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Question:

As a believing Christian, I made a recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I was profoundly disturbed by the Jewish state and its criminal occupation of the West Bank. How can you justify usurping land that belongs to others?

Response:

You are entitled to your opinion on the matter. But I hope you are consistent in your beliefs. Being that you oppose a Jewish presence on the West Bank, I assume you will not be participating in any celebrations during the coming days. According to your view, there is no reason to be merry on December 25.

The Christian holidays celebrate an event that you have named a criminal act—the birth of a Jewish baby to a Jewish family living in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Your views should not allow you to have any part in this cheer, for if you did, you would be giving retroactive approval to a Jewish settlement on the West Bank that dates back more than two thousand years.

Perhaps you will be joined by the UN and other humanitarian organizations around the world in condemning any celebrations this week that are connected with this controversial birth, as such events would be recognizing the rights of a Jewish family to live on what you see as occupied territory.

However, I must warn you, by espousing this view and not celebrating, you will be vastly outnumbered. Not that it’s so bad to be in the minority; I personally have been all my life. But keep in mind, while you accuse Israel of occupying land, there will be two billion Christians around the world celebrating the fact that the West Bank has always been the home of the Jewish people.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Moss

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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Discussion (40)
November 11, 2013
As a Christian I support Israel taking back land that is rightfully theirs for thousands of years.
Constantinople a historically Christian city is currently occupied by Muslims, Temple Mount is occupied, Half of Cyprus is occupied... is anyone catching my drift here? all these occupations by Muslims.
Anonymous
US
October 1, 2013
orgTHAT "BELIEVING CHRISTIAN"
Apparently that "believing Christian" doesn't seem to be "profoundly disturbed" by the criminal acts of the Arabs - the murders, suicide bombings, and other killing of innocent men, women, and children, just because they are Jews. What does that "believing Christian" really believe, since so many believing Christians today support the Jewish State of Israel?. By the way, I believe it's an extreme act of courtesy and fairness for a Jewish news blog like Chabad.org to allow Anti-Semites to express their hateful opinions.
Jan T. Steinberg
Houston, TX
September 25, 2013
There has just been a very good documentary history programme on the BBC by Simon Schama called "The Story of the Jews". It was terrific and clearly demonstrated why Zionism is so important to the comfort and survival of the Jewish people. It is time for people to understand that Israel belongs to Israel! Good for you Simon Schama!
Anonymous
UK
September 12, 2013
Julia in Westminster
"...most of the world's Jews are barely similar to the people living in Israel/Palestine during the time of Jesus' birth. Ever wonder why European Jews look European, Iranian Jews look Iranian, etc.? Jews are not the same people they were 2000 years ago and this should be obvious."

You base your conclusion on skin and hair and eye color? That's racism. The DNA studies in fact show that most of the world's Jews are a unique people most closely related genetically to the Kurds and Palestinians--regardless of color. BTW, I live in Israel and there are as many blond and red-headed, blue-eyed and green-eyed Palestinians and there are Jews--you are trading in ignorant racist stereotypes.
Sarah
Jerusalem Israel
May 30, 2013
Dear Julia From Westminster
The reason Jewish people today have such diverse ethnicity's yet all genetically share a common ancestor is very simple. Our women were raped by people claiming to serve god.
If you can show me where in any religion it says that raping women is okay.
Then and only then will your comments have validity .
In other words, Israel belongs to the Jewish people. Period.
As far as our claim to the land well guess what that claim is backed by action the only place in the middle east where a women of any religion has full human rights is Israel.
The only place where a an Arab girl can go to school and get an education is Israel. The only place in the middle east where rapists are prosecuted and convicted is Israel.
Not to people who murder women and children as the Palestinian population as well as countless of others have done to the Jews for centuries.
Anonymous
December 22, 2012
Why would a self-proclaimed Christian root for the Muslims in their holy war against Judaism? It's because that person knows that the re-establishment of a Jewish State in the ancient homeland of the Jewish People shows that contrary to what this person was taught God still loves the Jewish People and hasn't revoked his ancient Covenant with the Jewish People. Since it's no longer "politically correct' to put it that way, it can be covered up by shedding crocodile tears for the "Palestinians". Fortunately millions of Christians have found that the deletion of this Anti-Judaism from their faith hasn't lessened its meaning or its beauty to them.
Jan T. Steinberg
Houston, TX, USA
December 12, 2012
Agree with the rabbi but there are many questions
We all know what was Israel and what wasn't In terms of land of course What can we do about it ? Can we tell to the Palestinians : you get out of here and go ... How does this work ? That Bethlehem is jewish everyone knows , but Palestinians . Let our territory to Palestinias is no answer putting them under Israel , Palestinians will die for it and so well we . Sooo any idea ?
Ari
Korea south
November 18, 2012
Jesus's family was not living in the West Bank
The claim that 12/25 celebrates a "birth of a Jewish baby to a Jewish family living in the West Bank town of Bethlehem" is false in at least one, and probably two, regards:

First, the family was not living in any Bethlehem. They were merely passing through a place named Bethlehem on a journey of more than one day, and Bethlehem happened to be as far as they had gotten on the night when the birth happened. Even most Jews know the traditional story of there being "no room in the inn".

Second, at the time, there was more than one place named Bethlehem. The most likely location for the birth would be the Bethlehem (no longer inhabited) that was within the boundaries that Israel had from 1948-1967, not the one in the West Bank.
Anonymous
Camarillo, CA
chabadcamarillo.com
January 7, 2011
Agreement
I am a first generation American and my mother is from Israel. Her family, while it has many branches, can trace its' history in Eilat back over 2000 years.

It says, in all documents of Faith, that Israel is the land of the Hebrew people. And it has said so for almost 2000 years. How can anyone protest the so-called 'occupation' of a area that is already ours?
Mikhiel
Phoenix, AZ
phoenixjewish.com
January 5, 2011
Re: Julia, Westminster, Maryland
The Jewish connection to the Land of Israel originates from G-d himself as described countless of times in the Bible.

As for the claim that since Jews look different and many times similar to the inhabitance of the country they occupy they therefore are not the same people that were there thousands of years ago, this is simply fallacious if not outright deceitful .

I’ll just make mention of a recent study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, where it is proven genetically that all Jews regardless of their communities geographic location share a common ancestry dating back over three thousand years. For more on this fascinating study see the recent Newsweek article from June 03 2010 The DNA of Abraham’s Children.
Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin for Chabad.org
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