THIS LETTER CAME FROM SISTERS @ Orthodox School of Bethany in Jerusalem
It is hard to keep silent much longer. The people of Beit Jala, in particular
the Orthodox Christian neighborhoods, are being mercilessly hammered by
the Israel military. Over the last few weeks homes and property have suffered
damage due to shelling from Israeli tanks and helicopter gun ships. The attacks took a more ominous turn this past Sunday when a attack began in broad daylight.
The Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas (built over the r-ell St. Nicholas of Myra lived in for three years when on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land) had been packed with worshippers attending the memorial service of a prominent local citizen.
Some parishioners went to a house next to the church following service
for coffee and to offer condolences to the family.
Suddenly the shooting began and 9 people were wounded including a 13 year old boy who was shot in the head. Last
evening's attack was even more severe. Israeli shelling began about 4:30 p.m. and a heavy shooting barrage began after 11 pm.
The house of the former housemother of the Orthodox School of Bethany, Miss Regina AbuTom, had all her windows shot out. Everyone in the house across from her was wounded and is now in the hospital.
Another nearby home, belonging to the family of Damian ElAlla, parishioners
of St. Nicholas, was completely destroyed. In the most outrageous attack,
a German doctor, the husband of a Palestinian woman, was killed as
he tried to run into the street to help a Palestinian police officer
who lay wounded. The relatives of many nuns of the Convents of St. Mary
Magdalene and the Convent of the Ascension on the Mount of
Olives live in Beit Jala and the surrounding areas. Many people are
now homeless or in dire financial straits because of the damage done to
their homes and property. As we approach the Feast Day of St. Nicholas
for your increased prayers for the innocent people of the Holy Land now undergoing such suffering. For those who are able to help financially please send contribution to:
Orthodox School of Bethany
P.O. Box 20607
Checks should be made out to "Orthodox School of Bethany" and earmarked for the Beit Jala Relief Fund.
Scenes from Israeli shelling of Beit Jala on Monday, October 24. The volume and intensity of the shelling and bullets fired from
helicopters above has only increased in the last couple of weeks. Stress on the
families is very real and very debilitating.
An Israeli missile ripped into the bedroom of 4 year old Milad
Nozal. The family had evacuated the home only minutes earlier. Milad
is a relative of sr. Elena, the longtime gatekeeper at the
Convent of St. Mary Magdalene. Fragments of Israeli missile and icon of
St. Nicholas found in Nozal apartment.
The icon of St. Nicholas was retrieved from a fire caused by the missile. It was miraculously unscathed by the flames. Missile went through the bedroom into adjoining bathroom and through the washing machine. Area where Israelis are shooting is a heavily populate neighborhood of narrow streets and 2-3 story buildings.