Jerusalem, Israel -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/27/2013 -- The Israel News Agency (INA) reports that Islamic Jihad, the holy war against Jews and Christians, continues throughout the Middle East. All of the Middle East except for one small democracy named Israel.
The INA says that on December 25, Christmas Day, Islamic terrorists murdered at least 37 people in three separate Christmas Day bombings in Baghdad. A car bomb parked next to the Chaldean Catholic Church exploded after Christmas Mass, targeting Christians at prayer.
Israel News Agency publisher Joel Leyden states: "Christians are being targeted and massacred from Iran, Pakistan and South Sudan to Syria, Egypt to the Nairobi shopping mall."
Leyden adds: "As Egypt’s Copts have suffered the worst attacks on the Christian minority since the 14th century, the bad news for Christians in the region keeps coming. The Taliban suicide bombers murdered at least 85 worshippers at All Saints’ church, which has stood since 1883 in the city of Peshawar, Pakistan. Christians were also the target of Islamic terrorists in the attack on a shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya, that killed more than 70 people. The Associated Press reported that the Somali Islamic terror group al-Shabab “confirmed witness accounts that gunmen separated Muslims from other people and let the Muslims go free.”
The INA says that the Christian hostages were asked questions about Islam. If they could not answer, they were shot dead.
In contrast to the Christian massacres taking place throughout the Mid East and Africa, Israel welcomes Christians and embraces them for Christmas celebrations.
The safety of Christian pilgrims is no less important than that of Jews and even Muslims in Israel. Going back a few years, one can remember that the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem was attacked and the Christians inside were taken hostage. This writer was there and remembers how the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) took every measure to insure the safety of Christian lives and preservation of this most holy site. Rather than raiding the church, the IDF set up teams of snipers and took out the terrorists while using psychological operations to force the remaining terrorists to give up.
Christians are pouring into Israel today in record numbers.
Christian tourists to Bethlehem reached a record breaking 2 million in December 2013, up sharply from the 1.18 million recorded in 2012, according to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu encouraged Christians to visit the Holy Land in his annual Christmas message.
“We celebrate Christmas with you, we know the importance you attach to our common heritage, to the State of Israel and to the city of Jerusalem, where so much of our common history was forged,” Netanyahu said. “We have a great past, we have common values, we have the desire to seize a common future of security, prosperity and peace.”
Israel President Shimon Peres also reached out to the global Christian community.
Peres joked that it was almost a white Christmas in the country that saw a major snowstorm only two weeks ago.
“A holiday for one religion is a holiday for the whole county,” Peres said. “As a state we are responsible for your safety, freedom and holy sites and for your feeling as free and equal citizens that carry with them the hope that unites us for peace and a better world. The Lord is doing what he can but we must do what we need to do, to follow his wish and our destiny, to live in peace.”
An Israeli security analyst told the Israel News Agency: "From the minute that a Christian tourist books an airline to Israel till he arrives back at the airport for departure home, we take every security measure to ensure that their rights as a Christian are being protected. In other nations in the Middle East, the reaction is just the opposite. As soon as they arrive in a Muslim country, they are targeted as an "infidel" for which the Muslim bible, the Koran, commands their murder."
About The Israel News Agency
The Israel News Agency was created in 1995 to provide accurate and timely on-line news from Israel in times of crisis. The Israel News Agency disseminates direct news feeds from the Israel Government Press Office, Prime Minister's Office, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel Ministry of Defense, the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Ministry of Trade and the Israel Ministry of Tourism to a global audience.