Wednesday 1 January 2020

Christmas in the Holy Land


I asked the old man from whom I bought a takeaway cappucino on Christmas Eve how long he had lived here. 2000 years he said.
'I am a Canaanite and we have been here three thousand years. '

How wise of Arabs to see people as bloodlines, not as individuals. We should all learn from them.

He said he spoke Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke. At my request he recited the Our Father in Aramaic.

My taxi driver today was a truculent Arab Christian. He had made no money yesterday because he had spent the day in Bethlehem.

I should have done so but was dissuaded by the Protestant rector of Christchurch who said it would be very touristy. But Protestants I realised do not like folk religion. Protestantism was invented to abolish folk religion.

My taxi driver said the number of Christians in Israel and Jerusalem keeps falling. It is now less than one percent. Christians go to America and Canada.

"Muslims pretend to like us but only with words not in their hearts. Jews pretend to like us but don't."
He lives in the Christian quarter and is happy to be an Israeli citizen. He is married to a wholesome looking Russian girl.

He complains that Muslims receive a lot of money from the Israel but hate Israel. If they hate Israel why don't they live in Bethlehem?

He made the point that Arafat was offered a Palestinian state and turned down the offer. I agreed.

Still I am a romantic and feel sorry for the Arabs when I pass through the Jaffa Gate into a mall.

And it's a very nice mall. I bet my Christian taxi driver shops there sometimes. The mall reminds Arabs that they are a minority now in Jerusalem, but a mall is not an example of Western cultural hegemony. Mecca and the whole Muslim Middle East are full of malls.

(Islamists, Wahabbis etc are not fighting against Western culture in general but certain aspects of it, against the West itself and the Western religion, Christianity. They are not fighting against malls, like a sort of armed wing of the Young Fogeys.)

When you ask Israeli Muslims about Arab Christians, they always reply that they have many good friends who are Christians and that there are no problems between Muslims and Christians. They probably believe that. When you ask Christians they tell a different story.

My taxi driver told me he îs very happy to be ruled by Jews and not Muslims. If the Jews were not here, he said, the Muslims would kill us like they are killing us in Syria and Iraq.

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