As Christians become an endangered species in the Middle East other than in the Jewish state, some Christians nevertheless attacked an American senator for voicing support for Israel.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) was booed off stage on Wednesday at a gala dinner in support of the Middle East’s embattled Christian minority after voicing support for Israel, The Daily Caller reports.
Cruz was the keynote speaker at the event, hosted by the In Defense of Christians (IDC) organization. In his speech, he declared that Christians “have no greater ally than Israel”
“Tonight, we are all united in defense of Christians. Tonight, we are all united in defense of Jews. Tonight, we are all united in defense of people of good faith, who are standing together against those who would persecute and murder those who dare disagree with their religious teachings,” Cruz said.
After attacking various forms of Islamic radicalism such as the Islamic State and Hezbollah and stating that “religious bigotry is a cancer,” Cruz stated that Christians have no greater ally than Israel, at which point members of the crowd began to yell “stop it” and booed him.
“Those who hate Israel hate America,” he continued, as the jeering and calls for him to leave the stage got louder. “Those who hate Jews hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps. If you hate the Jewish people you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ. And the very same people who persecute and murder Christians right now, who crucify Christians, who behead children, are the very same people who target Jews for their faith, for the same reason.”
The cries of “stop it, stop it, enough,” and booing continued. “Out, out, leave the stage,” the crowd called at him. At this point IDC’s president, Toufic Baaklini, went onstage to ask the crowd to hear what the senator had to say.
“If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews,, then I will not stand with you. Good night, and God bless,” Cruz declared. And with that he walked off the stage.
IDC Executive Director Andrew Doran then told the audience: “For the love of God, we’re here to talk about Christians and we’re here to be united.”
Israel – The Only Safe Haven for Christian in the Middle East
Israel has proven over the past years to be the only safe haven for Christians in the Middle East where they can freely practice their religion.
A study from 2013 warned that Christianity is at risk of being wiped out in the biblical heartlands of the Middle East. According to the London Daily Telegraph, which cites the study, 10 percent of Christians worldwide – approximately 200 million – are “socially disadvantaged, harassed or actively oppressed for their beliefs.” The study notes that Christians, who number over 2.3 billion around the world, face the most persecution in the region of the world where Christianity first originated: the Middle East.
Published by a leading independent British think tank, Civitas, the report stated that Western politicians and media generally ignore widespread persecution of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world “because they are afraid they will be accused of racism.”
“The pace of this assault is now intensifying with the rise of militant Islam in countries such as Egypt, Iraq and now with the civil war, Syria,” states the report.
The report cites that somewhere between half and two-thirds of Christians have left the Middle East or were killed over the past century. In the early 1900s, Christians made up 20 percent of the Middle East’s population, while today, no more than five percent is Christian.
There is one area in the Middle East, however, where the Christian population is thriving, and that is in Israel. According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), there are 158,000 Christians living in the country, representing two percent of the population. Approximately 80 percent of Christians in Israel are Arabs. The Christian Arab sector in Israel also has the highest percentage of high school graduates in the country, according to the report, with 64% earning a high school diploma. The Christians are integrated in all facets of life, including serving in the IDF.
Father Gabriel Nadaf, a leader in the Greek-Orthodox church in Israel and a staunch supporter of the State of Israel, has recently dispatched a letter to ambassadors from various countries stationed in Israel, calling on them to support Israel’s government and the IDF during Operation Protective Edge, to unite and fight terrorism and “to safeguard the Holy Land.”
Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff writer, United with Israel