“No less than 1,000 cars waited at multiple checkpoints set up by the Israeli police, and were consequently delayed for two-and-a-half hours,” said Pillay. "Among those who were stopped was Dr Audeh Quawas, executive committee member of the World Council of Churches.”
The faithful were surprised that a ban was issued to prevent assembly on Mount Tabor and the open area, and that the police cited safety concerns for the participants. “A few days previously, a meeting took place between the Orthodox Council in Nazareth and the Israeli authorities, where it was agreed that the event would take place,” said Pillay. “Impediment of the Christian celebration on Mount Tabor comes in the aftermath of repeated harassment of Christians in Jerusalem, Haifa and elsewhere.”
Local churches in Jerusalem have been issuing statements asking for help, and for the protection of the Indigenous Christian presence.
“The World Council of Churches views with concern the infringement on religious freedom, the denial of worship, and the constraints on the life of the Christian community in the Holy Land under the pretext of safety and security as unacceptable,” said Pillay. “The World Council of Churches calls upon the Government of Israel to allow Christian worship and community events to proceed freely, and to protect the rights of religious freedom for all people.”