SEA­SONAL MES­SAGES OF RE­LI­GIOUS TOL­ER­ANCE

The Jewish Chronicle - - COM­MENT -

On De­cem­ber 25, the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury ex­pressed his con­cern that Chris­tian­ity might dis­ap­pear in the Mid­dle East. He need not worry. As long as Is­rael is there, all re­li­gions will be pro­tected. Per­haps those who cas­ti­gate Is­rael as an “Apartheid state” should re­mem­ber there is no dis­crim­i­na­tion re­gard­ing an in­di­vid­ual’s right to wor­ship in the only Jewish state in the world. Un­like so many of its neigh­bours, of whom the Arch­bishop has a right to be wor­ried. God­frey Gould, Hove, East Sus­sex BN3

I think it equally im­por­tant that when we con­demn re­li­gious ex­trem­ism we should do so even if it orig­i­nates from mem­bers of our own faith.

In The Times news­pa­per on De­cem­ber 24, it recorded that Chris­tians were be­ing per­se­cuted at Christ­mas-time in many coun­tries in the Mid­dle East.

But I was shocked to read that, in Is­rael, Rabbi Ben Zion Gop­stein who heads Le­hava, which op­poses the in­te­gra­tion of Jews and nonJews, said: “Christ­mas has no place in the Holy Land.” And he also said, (ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per) “Let’s throw the vam­pires out of our land be­fore they drink our blood again”.

I can un­der­stand some mem­bers of our faith be­ing wor­ried about Jewish peo­ple mar­ry­ing out. But surely most of us would agree that in the same way that we live in a mainly Chris­tian coun­try in Bri­tain, and are al­lowed to freely prac­tise our re­li­gion, so it is fair and right that Chris­tians are free to live in the Jewish state of Is­rael and be free to prac­tise their re­li­gion.

Re­li­gious tol­er­ance in any faith should not be con­doned. Howard Gar­dener, Sale, Manch­ester, M33

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