It is Christmas Day in the Holy Land. For Christians, it is a holy night followed by a holy day. But it is not a silent night. Even the angels are avoiding a visit to Bethlehem. Tourists are fewer in numbers than in previous years. Merchants who look forward to this as their busiest day of the year are disappointed. Olive-wood carved crucifixes and images of the holy family remain piled on shelves. Few buyers.
It is not a silent night nor day. Arab Muslim terrorists who do not attend church services are prowling the streets and alleys of Jerusalem’s Old City looking for Jewish backs to be stabbed. Only the other day, there were four stabbings at the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Western Wall plaza.
Can anyone remember when peace and tranquility reigned in holy Jerusalem? Not in Roman times, not during the Crusades and never during the intermittent wars. In Jewish prayers one does not recite “Pray for the peace of Israel,” but rather, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Mentioned more than 900 times in the Jewish Bible and not even once in the Muslim Quran, Jerusalem is the center of the world. And King David made it the capitol of the Jewish nation. It remains so today, never again to be divided.
Sweden, a liberal Christian country, has now earned with disgrace the title of Europe’s most anti-Semitic country. From its Foreign Minister down to its newscasters and journalists, Israel is condemned and accused of being the cause of the Middle East dilemma. I think the Swedes should pay more attention to the delicacies of their smorgasbord and less attention to regional conflicts which are none of their business.
There is a community of approximately 20,000 Jews in Sweden and they are alarmed at the recent rise in anti-Jewish activities, replaced by pro-Muslim interests. Swedish anti-Israel concerns began with Count Folke Bernadotte and did not end with his assassination. Swedish Jews would be advised to seek new homes in their historic homeland, Israel.
The Old City of Jerusalem is not quiet on this holy day which even most Arabs observe, as Jesus is reckoned among their prophets. Most of the homes in East Jerusalem, now mainly inhabited by Arabs, were originally built and owned by Jewish families. After their expulsion from East Jerusalem and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in 1948 by the soldiers of the Jordanian Legion, their homes and property were confiscated and new Arab families moved in.
Without legal papers of ownership, Israel has the right to evict them from the homes and return them to the Jewish rightful owners. We can happily expect more evictions in future as Jews reclaim their stolen property and renew their lives in the homes of their birth.
Peace will not come as a result. Hatred will increase. But we are accustomed to living with that hatred and we can endure it as long as it does not involve knives and guns and days of stabbings and shootings.
Today may be a holy night, but it certainly will not be a silent night. Give heed to the sounds of church bells ringing across our land. Let the peal of the bells awake the need for an armistice and an end to wanton killings in the hearts of good men and women everywhere. Let “peace on earth, goodwill to men” cease to be only a wish. Let it be a reality fulfilled.