Oh little town of Muslim Bethlehem

Christians revere Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus. For many years Christian Arabs were in the majority of that town. They owned many of the businesses and were in charge of the town's religious celebrations; decorating and sponsoring celebrations for Christmas and other religious holidays.  But no longer; Moslem Arabs are now in the majority as the Christians have fled because of threats and intimidation.

In the latest example of religious terror, the founder and head of a private Christian television station, Al—Mahed (the Nativity), has received a constant stream of death threats.  Recently someone threw a Molotov cocktail, ie, a gasoline filled bottle, at his home.  As usual

'despite my pleas that something be done to find those responsible for these acts, the security forces have done nothing.'

In his letter to the governor, copies of which were also sent to the chiefs of local security forces and to Christian leaders, the TV station owner complained that the threats against him are 'a serious and dangerous development that must be taken seriously.'

While Muslims and Christians have blamed Israel, as usual, for the deteriorating situation of Christians in the town, the truth is Bethlehem is autonomous, under Arab rule.  Ignoring the real threats to this area holy to Christians and its causes guarantees it will continue and get worse.

Ethel C. Fenig   8 28 06

Christians revere Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus. For many years Christian Arabs were in the majority of that town. They owned many of the businesses and were in charge of the town's religious celebrations; decorating and sponsoring celebrations for Christmas and other religious holidays.  But no longer; Moslem Arabs are now in the majority as the Christians have fled because of threats and intimidation.

In the latest example of religious terror, the founder and head of a private Christian television station, Al—Mahed (the Nativity), has received a constant stream of death threats.  Recently someone threw a Molotov cocktail, ie, a gasoline filled bottle, at his home.  As usual

'despite my pleas that something be done to find those responsible for these acts, the security forces have done nothing.'

In his letter to the governor, copies of which were also sent to the chiefs of local security forces and to Christian leaders, the TV station owner complained that the threats against him are 'a serious and dangerous development that must be taken seriously.'

While Muslims and Christians have blamed Israel, as usual, for the deteriorating situation of Christians in the town, the truth is Bethlehem is autonomous, under Arab rule.  Ignoring the real threats to this area holy to Christians and its causes guarantees it will continue and get worse.

Ethel C. Fenig   8 28 06