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The Problem with the Palestinian Church:  Has Christianity Reconciled Itself with Israel’s Existence?

Giles Fraser
Unherd, Apr. 1, 2024

“There is a radical anti-Israeli side to Palestinian Christianity.”
 
Tourists almost never find their way to Levanda Street in southern Tel Aviv. Round the corner from the monstrous concrete central bus station, it looks dirty and feels dangerous. Drug addicts, most of them immigrants from east Africa, many stripped to the waist, lie out in the sun in a rubbish-filled children’s play park. Raggedy toothless prostitutes hustle for a few shekels. Most locals pass quickly through this place, many of them young people in army uniforms travelling between home and their base. They don’t stick around for a coffee or lunch. This is not the Bauhaus city many know and rightly admire. This is the arse-end of Tel Aviv. Yet I still find it the best place in the Holy Land to go to church.

Choosing a church to attend on a Sunday morning in Israel can be a surprisingly tricky business. Perhaps I should not be surprised — after all, Christians now make up a tiny minority of the population. But it’s still hard to shake off the romantic idea that, as the place of Jesus’s ministry, this land has some deep affinity with the world’s largest religion. You can go to what I rather disparagingly think of as Disney churches — places that seem set up for tourists, meeting the expectations of those who come on Holy Land tours, looking for some authentic Jesus-feel.

Or, for the more intrepid, you can seek out indigenous Arab Christian churches where Palestinians Christians celebrate the ancient liturgies within settled, long-standing communities. But, despite being a Catholic-inclined kind of Christian, I am more comfortable on the second floor of a swelteringly hot disused office block on Levanda Street, with some Pentecostal preacher shouting at me through a loud and rubbish sound system, the only white person in the room.
… [To read the full article, click here]

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