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Dr Saïd Ailabouni: God is on the side of rejected, oppressed, occupied

Born in Nazareth, Galilee, Rev. Dr Saïd Ailabouni moved to the US at the age of 19 to become a physician. But he was so angry at God that he went to study theology instead, becoming a Lutheran pastor. Now he is leading the Middle East & Europe desk of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Since leaving his hometown 50 years ago, he visits his Palestinian family regularly. As the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel approaches, Ailabouni agreed to share some of his lifetime observations with the Word Council of Churches.

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem releases statement on Jaffa Gate

On 5 August, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem released a statement in relation to the properties of Jaffa Gate. “The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem views the attempts of the radical organization, Ateret Cohanim, to seize church properties located in Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate and al-Mu'athamiyah, as a strike to the indigenous Christian presence in the Holy City,” the statement reads.

Salpy Eskidjian Weiderud honored with International Religious Freedom Award

Salpy Eskidjian Weiderud, leader of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process, has received an International Religious Freedom Award from the US Department of State. The awards “honor extraordinary advocates of religious freedom from around the world” and will be presented on 17 July in Washington, D.C.

WCC statement reiterates call for just peace in Palestine and Israel

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee, in a statement, reiterated its call for a just peace in Israel and Palestine. “That commitment is part of the fabric of our faith, and of the heritage of the ecumenical movement,” reads the statement. "We seek to express it by accompanying the churches, interfaith partners and communities of these lands in their witness and work for justice and for peace.”

‘Not a page in a book’ – accompaniers hear Palestinians’ testimonies from Ma’alul village

Ma’alul, a Palestinian village destroyed in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, saw a visit by ecumenical accompaniers in mid-March. “I would have liked to invite you to a real home, not just as a refugee,” said Jad Saba Yusef Salem as he received the group of accompaniers to the village. Today, 95-year-old Salem is one of few remaining survivors from the 75 families who used to live in the village back in 1948.

Rabbis walk through Hebron in solidarity

It was a bright and sunny morning when Rabbis for Human Rights organized a solidarity walk on Tuesday through the Israeli administered H2 area of Hebron, where growing tension has forced the World Council of Churches (WCC) to temporarily suspend its presence of ecumenical accompaniers.

Film “Tel Aviv on Fire” wins Interfilm award

At the 75th International Film Festival in Venice, Italy, the film “Tel Aviv on Fire” won an Interfilm award for promoting interreligious dialogue. The film, directed by Sameh Zoabi, is a comedy in which a Palestinian writer draws upon the skills and experiences of an Israeli checkpoint commander to enhance a TV series, “Tel Aviv on Fire.”

WCC and local churches express deep concern about Jewish Nation-State Law

Heads of churches in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories have reacted with dismay and concern to the Israeli Knesset’s adoption on 19 July 2018 of a new Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, which specifies that “The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

Broken glass of hope grown out of rubble

Originally, they were made of pieces of broken glass from the rubble an Israeli tank left behind it when it slammed into the giftshop at the International Centre of Bethlehem (ICB) in 2002. Today the glass angels of peace are made of used bottles and have emerged into a small business enterprise employing around 50 people in the Bethlehem area. Since the tank-incident, thousands of angels have been produced and sold worldwide.

WCC condemns intended demolition in Bedouin village

As reports unfolded on 12 July of Israel announcing the demolition of a Bedouin village within days despite a temporary injunction, World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit condemned the plans for demolition, saying it violates human rights, particularly those of vulnerable children, who live in Khan al-Ahmar.