A Palestinian family reacts after Israeli bulldozers demolished their home in the Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, Feb. 5, 2013. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Newly elected Israeli Knesset member Yair Lapid (l), leader of the Yesh Atid party, speaks to Naftali Bennett, head of the hard-line national religious party the Jewish Home, during a Feb. 5 reception in Jerusalem marking the opening of the 19th Knesset. (URIEL SINAI/GETTY IMAGES)
Richard Curtiss at work in his Washington Report office. (STAFF PHOTO D. HANLEY)
Then-Vice President Dick Cheney (l) and Likud chairman Benyamin Netanyahu, out of office at the time and serving as the official Israeli opposition leader, at a March 23, 2008 breakfast meeting at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (r) shares candies with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief Murad Ebrahim during a Feb. 11 visit to the rebels’ stronghold in Sultan Kudarat on the island of Mindanao. (KARLOS MANLUPIG/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Emad Burnat views his five broken cameras in his documentary of the same name. (PHOTO COURTESY KINO LORBER)
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March 2008, pages 62-63
Christmas Procession for Bethlehem Follows Simulcast Service
WORSHIPPERS WERE moved by a unique joint worship service simulcast Dec. 22, 2007 from the Bethlehem Chapel of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC and the Church of the Nativity in Manger Square, Bethlehem. Worshippers at the two churches, thousands of miles apart, joined together to sing and hear uplifting holiday sermons.
The Rev. Canon John L. Peterson, Canon for Global Justice and Reconciliation at the National Cathedral, told the standing-room-only crowd that the foundation stone of the 100-year-old National Cathedral is a stone from Bethlehem, encased in granite. “It’s only appropriate to have this Webcast joint service with Bethlehem,” he said.
Canon Peterson led a prayer “for the needs of the whole world: for peace on earth and goodwill among nations; for unity within the Church; for the welfare and prosperity of the people of Palestine and the people of the United States; and for all who hear the call of God and all who seek truth.”
He went on to pray for the poor and helpless, cold and hungry, and “that walls will no longer divide us, so that our life together may be a reflection of God’s love.”
The Right Rev. John Bryson Chane, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, spoke about the Jerusalem cross, a symbol found in vestments around the world, and the bonds and connections between American and Palestinian churches. “Know that you will never be alone,” Bishop Chane told the Bethlehem worshippers, as he sent “greetings and blessings from Washington, DC.”
As the service concluded, an angry diplomat from the Israeli Embassy called the Cathedral to condemn the simulcast church service. But he was too late: “It’s ending,” he was told.
After the service, a procession led by actors portraying a pregnant Mary and Joseph in traditional garb, leading a donkey, followed by sign-waving activists, helped shed light on the dire situation of modern-day Bethlehemites. Holiday shoppers along Wisconsin Avenue read signs saying, “The Israeli Siege is Killing Bethlehem,” “Tear Down the Wall,” ”Thou Shalt Not Steal Land” and “Jesus was a Palestinian.” One furious woman, shaking her fist at protesters, yelled “You people are dangerous!”
When an admirer praised the donkey, a demonstrator—who is a lawyer—joked that that donkey made more money per hour than he did.
Muslim, Jewish and other supporters joined Christians in this second annual Christmas procession, sponsored by the Ad Hoc Committee for Bethlehem, the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, and Sharing Jerusalem. That evening’s local news carried clips from the event and the next day’s Washington Post carried a photo caption.
—Delinda C. Hanley