ISRAEL: Atittudes toward Christians

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Alikoya KK

May 14, 2009, 8:43:31 PM5/14/09
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ISRAEL: Atittudes toward Christians

Jewish Israelis are very diverse. In a nation whose immigrants come
from countries and cultures far and wide, pluralism often refers to
tolerance among different cultural groups of Jews.

But diversity discourse in Israel differs considerably when it comes
to interaction with non-Jewish groups. Rival historic, religious and
national narratives make real diversity a tough principle to practice.

Most Christians in Israel are Arabs, a minority within a minority
squeezed between different layers of conflict. Christians account for
2.1% of the population. Israel's non-Arab Christians are mainly
immigrants from the former Soviet Union, foreign workers, resident
clergy and even Catholic Jews. And Jewish Israelis don't quite know
how to perceive any of them -- for cultural, national and religious

Fifty-two percent of Jewish Israelis have no Christian friends or
acquaintances, but almost 100% of them have opinions about them. A
recent poll surveyed attitudes among the adult Jewish population
toward Christians, Christianity and the Christian presence in Israel.
The results of the survey, carried out by the Jerusalem Center for
Jewish-Christian Relations (JCJCR) and the Jerusalem Institute for
Israel Studies (JIIS), shed light on how Jewish Israelis perceive
Christians and what they know about them, or think they do know.

Generally, most answers showed that the higher the level of religious
observance, the more negative the attitude toward Christians. Such
attitudes also were seen the lower the level of age, income and
education. The following numbers mostly refer to the overall sample,
but keep in mind the observance breakdown of the respondents: 23%
Orthodox, 24% traditional and 53% secular.

54% of the Jewish population think it is necessary to teach about
Christianity in schools, including 25% of Orthodox Jews. But only 37%
believe it's necessary to teach about the New Testament.
42% believe Christianity is closer to Judaism than Islam. A total of
32% believe Islam is closer. The breakdown of religious observance is
interesting here, with 49% of Orthodox Jews believing Islam is
closer and only 17% believing that Christianity is. But 54% of secular
Jews believe Christianity is closer and 22% that Islam is.
41% agreed very much or largely with the claim that "Christianity is
an idolatrous religion," including 24% of secular and 78% of Orthodox
37% believe it is forbidden for a Jew to enter a church, with the
predictable observance differential. Still, the percentage of people
who say they do not enter churches in practice is lower (29%) than
those who believe it's forbidden.
23% are greatly or significantly bothered when meeting in the street a
Christian wearing a cross, including 8% of secular respondents and 60%
of Orthodox Jews. This was an issue during the papal visit: Shmuel
Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall, had asked that the pope remove
or at least cover his cross when visiting the site. He didn't.
Rabinowitz said he felt the same way about a Jew entering a church
with a prayer shawl and phylacteries. Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo
Amar responded by wearing a chain with a pendant depicting the tablets
of the Ten Commandments when he met the pope Tuesday.
And here's one that says a lot: 46% do not agree that Jerusalem is a
central city for the Christian world, including 31% of secular and 67%
of Orthodox Jews.
21% agree with the claim that all or most Christians want to convert
Jews to Christianity, including 14% of secular and 43% of Orthodox
39% believe the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church to Judaism and
Jews is positive. 58% believe there has been a change for the better
in the church's attitude toward Jews in the last 50 years. Nearly 20%
had no opinion on this one.
55% say it is acceptable for Jewish organizations to receive financial
assistance from Christian religious bodies, including 70% of secular
and 20% of Orthodox Jews. 41% of the population said it was
So, should Israel allow churches to operate in Israel? 39% say yes --
but that they shouldn't be helped in any way. 34% say they should be
assured freedom of religion and helped like any other religious
institution, while 20% believe their activities should be restricted
as much as possible.
And here's one thing most agree on: 71% say Israel should not permit
Christian bodies to purchase property in Jerusalem for building new
45% believe the Arab Christians have a positive attitude toward the
state; 45% believe their attitude is negative. 39% consider them loyal
to the state.
56% don't think Israel needs to take any action on Christian
emigration from the country; 9% thought Israel should do something to
stop it and 31% say that the state should encourage it.


Briefing reporters before the pope's visit, JCJCR director Daniel
Rossing stressed the importance of inter-religious dialogue for
society but also for the peace process. One of the flaws of the
process, he said, was that the mainly secular actors assumed that to
succeed, religion needed to be removed from the picture. Rossing
believes this creates a vacuum that invites extremists to fill it.

On Christian emigration, Rossing said it was important that Christians
continue to be a vibrant community and that "this not become a
Disneyland of holy places without a living community. They can serve
as a bridge and everyone stands to lose if they disappear from here."

-- Batsheva Sobelman in Jerusalem

abdulla pullisseri parambil

May 22, 2009, 11:14:22 AM5/22/09
der thanks 4 this in4mation.  dear if u have eny such tipe of information abot palestine ad israel pls send me it may usefull as a research scolr   
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