Posts made in April, 2020

WCC questions posed to His Most Godly Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III of Jerusalem

Posted on Apr 30, 2020


29 April 2020

His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III was interviewed by the World Council of Churches (WCC) director of communication Marianne Ejdersten. The interview follows below.

National, religious and ethnic borders are of no relevance to the COVID-19 virus.  As we watch its effect on the entire world, we are reminded of the interconnectedness of the entire human family.  In the next few weeks, Christians, Jews and  Muslims will participate in central aspects of their ritual calendars; normally a time for festive gatherings, all are struggling to find a way to celebrate given the precautions we must take to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.  Christians, Jewish, and Muslim communities are responding to all the challenges of this unprecedented time:  fighting hate and bigotry that has emerged because of the pandemic, providing frontline services to those in need, maintaining community, and seeking creative alternatives for observing and celebrating in a world of social distancing and quarantine.

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Tied in a Single Garment of Destiny: Black Christian Reflections on Palestine

Posted on Apr 29, 2020

Save the date: Thursday, May 21, 2020

As people of African descent, our struggle against the racism, economic exploitation, and militarism of the United States, what Rev. Dr. King dubbed the “giant triplets,” ties us to the Palestinian people, as they face these giants as well, under Israeli occupation. And today those most harmed by the triple evils are disproportionately impacted by the giant of the COVID-19 public health crisis. It is more apparent than ever that Palestinians and Black Americans are tied in “a single garment of destiny,” what affects one directly affects the other indirectly.

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Middle East patriarchs spoke of faith, hope, during Easter homilies

Posted on Apr 29, 2020

By Catholic News Service

4.13.2020 4:25 PM ET

BEIRUT (CNS) — Catholic patriarchs of the Middle East, in Easter messages from churches barren of the faithful due to the coronavirus, lamented the scourge of the pandemic while evoking the hope of the Resurrection.

Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch, acknowledged that the COVID-19 threat had deprived the faithful of celebrating Easter in churches. Still, he said, Jesus wants people to be “a bright light in the darkness.”

“We pray for the recovery of all those infected and the protection of all citizens, as well as those who care for those afflicted with the virus, such as doctors, nurses and family members,” he said appealing to the Lebanese people to stay quarantined in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

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East Jerusalem Catholic hospital gets coronavirus unit for Palestinians

Posted on Apr 29, 2020

By Judith Sudilovsky Catholic News Service

JERUSALEM (CNS), April 22, 2020 — When the Israeli Ministry of Health asked St. Joseph’s Hospital to set up a coronavirus unit, the hospital had it completed within a week.

Jamil Koussa, general director of the hospital, said normally it would take 20 days to prepare such an infectious disease unit, which requires special negative pressure pumps to clear the air of infectious germs, a special communication setup between the patients’ rooms and medical staff, and surveillance cameras. St. Joseph’s Hospital, run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition, closed all its departments except the maternity ward in order to set up the 28-bed coronavirus wing.

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Vatican donates ventilators to hospitals in Syria, sets up emergency fund

Posted on Apr 29, 2020

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In the name of Pope Francis, the Congregation for Eastern Churches said it is sending 10 ventilators to Syria and three to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Jerusalem to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The donations were among the first items announced by the congregation as it launched an emergency fund in response to the pandemic.

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The Virus of Occupation: Israelis Have Taken To Spitting on Palestinians During Coronavirus

Posted on Apr 28, 2020

Spitting at someone is a universal insult. In Israel, however, spitting at Palestinians is an entirely different story.

Image Israeli soldiers wearing face masks and gloves against coronavirus stand in the streets in Jerusalem’s Old City, April 7, 2020. Ariel Schalit | AP

Israeli soldiers wearing face masks and gloves against coronavirus stand in the streets in Jerusalem’s Old City, April 7, 2020. Ariel Schalit | AP

Now that we know that the deadly coronavirus can be transmitted through saliva droplets, Israeli soldiers and illegal Jewish settlers are working extra hard to spit at as many Palestinians, their cars, doorknobs, and so on, as possible.

If this sounds to you too surreal and repugnant, then you might not be as familiar with the particular breed of Israeli colonialism as you may think you are.

In all fairness, Israelis have been spitting at Palestinians well before the World Health Organization (WHO) lectured us on the elusive nature of the COVID-19 disease and on the critical need to apply ‘social distancing’.

Indeed, if you Google the phrase ‘Israeli spitting’, you will be inundated with many interesting search results, the like of “Jerusalem Judge to Jews: Don’t Spit On Christians“, “Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to Stop Spitting on Them“, and the more recent, “Israel Settlers Spitting on Palestinian Cars Raises Concern over Attempt to Spread Coronavirus”.

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Palestinian-Israeli Cooperation to Combat COVID-19 Pandemic under Threat by New Push for West Bank Annexation, Special Coordinator Warns Security Council

Posted on Apr 27, 2020

23 April 2020

While Israelis and Palestinians are cooperating in unprecedented ways to combat the expanding COVID-19 pandemic, Israel must do more to safeguard the health of all people under its control, the senior United Nations official in the region told the Security Council in a 23 April videoconference meeting[*].

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Medical experts offer on-line support to Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem

Posted on Apr 27, 2020

Image: Holy Family Hospital, Bethlehem

Holy Family Hospital, Bethlehem


April 23, 2020 – As Covid-19 approaches, a hospital in Bethlehem is already on the brink of collapse, Michelle Bowe, Ambassador of the Order of Malta to Palestine has warned.

“Covid 19 has caused the total closure, geographic and economic isolation of the Bethlehem region. Families do not have enough money for food, not to mention medical treatment. At the Holy Family Hospital important medical equipment is lacking, which endangers the lives of our newborn babies, many of whom are born before 32 weeks. There is also a great lack of face masks and a problem of blood availability. We are on the brink of collapse,” she said.

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Prison Ministry Assistance provided on weekly basis in Jordan

Posted on Apr 27, 2020


Image: Prison Ministry Assistance provided on weekly basis in Jordan


JORDAN, April 23, 2020 – Once or two twice a week, a team from Caritas Jordan and members of the clergy visit approximately 200 Christian inmates, both local and foreign, in 13 prisons across Jordan, providing spiritual, financial, and legal assistance that would not be possible without the continuous generous support of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

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Jewish history explains why some ultra-Orthodox communities defy coronavirus restrictions

Posted on Apr 27, 2020

by Joyce Dalsheim, Associate Professor of Global Studies, University of North Carolina – Charlotte in The Conversation

Image: An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man is arrested by Israeli security forces for resisting efforts to shut down a synagogue in the Me’a She’arim neighborhood in Jerusalem, April 17, 2020. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images

An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man is arrested by Israeli security forces for resisting efforts to shut down a synagogue in the Me’a She’arim neighborhood in Jerusalem, April 17, 2020. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images

Most prominent rabbis around the world support government health regulations intended to curb the spread of coronavirus, even if it means closing places of study and worship. But some observant Jewish communities in the United States and Israel were slow to adopt social distancing.

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