01/18/2019, 09.32
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Israel’s nation-state law "discriminates and marginalizes" Christians

Alarm launched by the bishops of the "Coordination of support" of the Holy Land at the end of their visit. Christians have the task of living as "full citizens", in the context of a "plural and democratic" society. The appeal to world governments to redouble "efforts for a diplomatic solution" with two states.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Israeli Christians wish to live "as full citizens", with the "recognition of their rights" in the context of a "plural and democratic" society. This is what the Coordinating Group of Episcopal Conferences in support of the Holy Land states in the final communiqué at the end of their visit to Israel and Palestine. By showing "solidarity" to all Christians in the region, the members stress that they "are facing profound difficulties in all aspects of their lives".

Among the members of the Coordination there is great concern because "together with other Palestinian and migrant Arab citizens" in Israel, many Christians are "discriminated and marginalized". Among the elements that create particular apprehension is the law of the nation-state that creates "a real constitutional and legal basis for discrimination" against minorities.

This law, brought in by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and supported by the right wing of the country and the Jewish religious wing, undermines "the ideals of equality, justice and democracy". This is why Christian leaders reaffirm their support for Israeli Christians and for those who "challenge discrimination, in support of their plea for the protection of pluralism in the country".

The delegation was composed of a total of 15 members and was led by Msgr. Declan Lang, of England and Wales, president of the Holy Land Coordination. Among the prelates there was also the German bishop Stephen Ackermann, the Archbishop of South Africa Stephen Brislin, the American prelate Timothy Broglio, the Portuguese José Ornelas Carvalho and the Italian Rodolfo Cetoloni.

As the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity approaches - which begins today - the Coordination reaffirms "solidarity with all the Churches present here" and strengthens prayer so that we can work with greater vigor "together in the pursuit of justice and peace". The delegation visiting the region in recent days also went to Palestine where " here despite the faith and resilience of those we met, the misery of occupation has been deepened by severe cuts to humanitarian funding by the US government.Healthcare, education and other basic services for refugees are being increasingly threatened, exacerbating the ongoing violations of their fundamental human dignity. This cannot be ignored or tolerated." Hence the invitation to world governments to "fill the funding gaps" of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and redouble "efforts for a diplomatic solution, with two sovereign states".

Lastly, the visit also brought positive elements into perspective: among these "the presence of Israeli citizens of different backgrounds who live together and work together for the common good of their society". "We recognize that Israel - concludes the Coordination - was founded on the basis of declarations of principles of equality among all its citizens. These principles must urgently become effective ".

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