Title:  Third Christian Leader Complains of Treatment by Israelis

Contact:  George Awad,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jerusalem
Telephone: (972-2) 627-6111
Email: ga_elcj@netvision.il
Website: www.HolyLand-Lutherans.org

JERUSALEM, January 23, 2001---For the third time this month, a Christian church leader has complained about humiliating treatment by Israeli officials.

Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan, head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jerusalem, has written to Prime Minister Ehud Barak to protest the "bad treatment" he received at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport.

In the letter to the Prime Minister, Bishop Younan told of being "checked in a humiliating way" despite VIP credentials that had been issued by the State of Israel.

Earlier this month, the Latin (Roman) Catholic Patriarchal Vicar of Nazareth received official apologies after he complained that the car he was travelling in was halted and fired upon by Israeli soldiers.  Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo also wrote a letter of complaint to the Prime Minister.  (See releases dated January 10, 2001.)

In an open letter to (then) U.S. President Bill Clinton, a prominent Lutheran pastor from Bethlehem described how he was shuffled back and forth and eventually refused permission to travel to the United States for a speaking engagement.  The Rev. Mitri Raheb is also director of the International Center of Bethlehem