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Holy Land: HLC Bishops, “Israel’s Christians systematically discriminated against and marginalised”

(Haifa) “Israel’s Christians wish to live as full citizens, with their rights recognised in a plural and democratic society”. However, despite “the vital contribution that they make especially through schools, hospitals, involvement in public life and attempting to build bridges between different faiths”, they “find themselves systematically discriminated against and marginalised”. The Bishops of the USA, Canada, the EU and South Africa – who are members of the Holy Land Coordination (HLC) – wrote this in their final communiqué released at the end of their annual pilgrimage of solidarity to Jerusalem, Haifa and Jenin. This year, it took place from 12 to 17 January on the theme “Christians in Israel, challenges and opportunities”. In the final document released today, the 15 signatory Bishops, including Mgr. Rodolfo Cetoloni from the Diocese of Grosseto representing Italy, expressed their “solidarity” with Christians in Israel and shared their “concern” about the law that stipulates that Israel is the “Nation State” of the Jewish people. “Local Christian leaders – the statement from the HLC reads – have warned that this creates a ‘constitutional and legal basis for discrimination’ against minorities, undermining the ideals of equality, justice and democracy. We stand with Israel’s Christians and all those challenging discrimination, in support of their call to protect the country’s pluralism”. “As we approach this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – the Bishops wrote -, we reaffirm our solidarity with all of the Churches here, and pray that Christians may work more closely together in the pursuit of justice and peace”.

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