Palestinian evangelicals celebrate Abbas decree

Palestinian evangelicals celebrated a decree issued by President Mahmoud Abbas recognizing the Evangelical Council in the Holy Land as representative of local Christians. (Supplied)
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Updated 17 December 2019

Palestinian evangelicals celebrate Abbas decree

  • New directive recognizes Evangelical Council in the Holy Land to represent local Christians

AMMAN: Palestinian evangelicals celebrated a decree issued by President Mahmoud Abbas recognizing the Evangelical Council in the Holy Land as representative of local Christians.

In a celebratory event held at the Bethlehem Bible College, Reverend Munir Kakish outlined a 12-year effort to organize evangelicals in Palestine in a single body and to seek recognition.

Kakish said that Palestinian churches are national ones who reject racist ideologies that Palestine is subjected to.

“Our evangelical churches pray to God for our Palestinian leadership and support its peaceful effort for independence and the creation of a state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Jack Sara, the president of the Bethlehem Bible College, told Arab News that the recognition comes after many year of campaigning. “We have received most of our demands and we await full recognition to be the 14th denomination in Palestine.”

Sara, who was part of a Palestinian clergy visit to Brazil to convince its new leadership not to move the embassy to Jerusalem, said that the efforts of Palestinian evangelicals helped make the recognition possible.

“We are proud of our Palestinian heritage and our national identity.”

Ramzi Khoury the head of the Higher Presidential Commission for Church Affairs and the Palestinian National Fund, was awarded a plaque of appreciation by the council. Khoury called on evangelicals “to be the ambassadors around the world to strengthen he position in support of Palestinian statehood.”

Refugee

Bernard Sabela, a member of the Palestinian legislative council representing the Christian seat in Jerusalem and the secretary of Palestinian refugee affairs with the Middle East Council of Churches, welcomed the decision.

“Every church group, including evangelicals, should have the same rights to take care of its people through ecclesiastical courts. This is the right step in the right direction, the hard work has paid off.”

Orthodox Archbishop of Sabastian Atallah Hanna told Arab News that he supported the decision.

“It is important that Palestinian evangelicals communicate with fellow evangelicals around the world and to talk about the Palestinian cause. I disagree that all Christian evangelicals adopt the Zionist narrative. I congratulate the evangelical council and express support for this decision.”

Rateb Y. Rabie, president of the Washington-based Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, also welcomed the move, saying that Palestinian evangelicals are in a unique position to address other evangelicals.

“They speak the same language and are able to quote the Bible in a way that debunks the attempts by some to justify occupation and subjugation.”

Thomas Getman, former director of World Vision in Jerusalem, told Arab News that 80 percent of US evangelicals misrepresent the Bible for political gain.

“The Falwells and Hagues and others support apolitical entity in defiance of God’s word.”

Getman told Arab News that the recognition of Palestinian evangelicals is essential to give credibility to the attempts at debunking Christian Zionists.


Lebanese restaurant attracts star support following Beirut blasts

Updated 39 min 26 sec ago

Lebanese restaurant attracts star support following Beirut blasts

  • Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe donated $5,000 to the fund, set up by a group of Beirut-based foreign correspondents
  • Operating on a plat-du-jour formula, each day of the week would serve a homemade Lebanese specialty

LONDON: Lebanese restaurant Le Chef found an unlikely high-profile supporter after a GoFundMe page was set up to save the diner from ruin following the Beirut blasts on August 4.

Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe donated $5,000 to the fund, set up by a group of Beirut-based foreign correspondents.

When Richard Hall, one of the organizers and the former-Beirut correspondent of UK daily The Independent, highlighted the generous donation, Crowe tweeted: “On behalf of Anthony Bourdain. I thought that he would have probably done so if he was still around. I wish you and LeChef the best and hope things can be put back together soon.” Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain took his life two years ago.

Tucked away in the middle of the Gemmayze district, Le Chef – commonly seen as one of Beirut’s must-try hole-in-the-wall diners for tourists – was badly damaged in the recent blast.

The tiny diner with its neon-red logo and checkered tables was second home to many of the street’s residents and the country’s foreign correspondents. It featured in Bourdain’s report from Beirut during his travel show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations in 2006.

“And yet I'd already fallen in love with Beirut. We all had — everyone on my crew. As soon as we'd landed, headed into town, there was a reaction I can only describe as pheromonic: The place just smelled good. Like a place we were going to love,” Bourdain’s field notes during his time on CNN's Parts Unknown said.

Operating on a plat-du-jour formula, each day of the week would serve a homemade Lebanese specialty – with Thursday’s mloukhiyye and rice a favorite among many journalists, according to Arab News’ correspondent Leila Hatoum.

“When I worked as a reporter based in Gemmayze between 2002 and 2006, Le Chef was the restaurant that provided home-cooked style meals at such affordable prices and in generous quantities…each dish literally could feed two persons,” Hatoum said.

“It was the meeting point for every reporter in the area, be it foreign or local. I would say Le Chef was the ‘it’ place for affordable but great home-cooked food.”

Other dishes include rice and lamb (kharouf mehshi) on Mondays, spiced Lebanese couscous with chicken (moughrabiyye) on Tuesdays, kibbeh bil sayniyye on Wednesdays, rice and fish (sayyidiye) on Fridays and roast lamb with potatoes on Saturdays.

“Le Chef was different, everything they served was as though my mom cooked it,” Netherlands-based designer Rawad Baaklini told Arab News.

“And it was so cheap! Their dishes were big compared to the price they charged. They used to deliver, so for me ordering from them was like eating at home,” Baaklini said, recalling his time working at a studio based in the area.

“My favorite dish was the kibbeh bel sayniyye … It was magical, I don’t know how they made it, but it was every time great.”