Tag: Holy Land

Israeli PM conducts Twitter diplomacy with Arabic tweets

By Anav Silverman
Tazpit News Agency
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now tweeting in Arabic on a new Twitter account opened in mid-December. The development caught the attention of the Saudi Internet news service, Al Arabiya, which reported this week that Netanyahu’s Twitter account has drawn new followers from Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon, currently numbering 671 followers.
“The aim of this account is to deepen the dialogue with you,” said one of the first tweets by the Israeli Prime Minister in Arabic on December 14, which was later followed by “Greetings from Jerusalem,” and seasonal wishes from the Holy Land for those celebrating Christmas.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office originally joined Twitter, in addition to YouTube and Facebook in August 2010 with the conviction that “social media channels today are vital to Israeli public relations, government transparency and keeping the public informed,” according to a statement by the prime minister’s bureau.
In general, Middle East leaders are increasingly utilizing Twitter to engage people and one another, according to a study, called Twiplomacy conducted by the global public relations consultancy Burson-Marsteller in August of this year (twiplomacy.com). According to the Twiplomacy study, “Twitter has become a new way to communicate with world leaders and a way for these leaders to communicate with each other.”

“The aim of this account is to deepen the dialogue with you,” said one of the first tweets by the Israeli Prime Minister in Arabic on December 14, which was later followed by “Greetings from Jerusalem,” and seasonal wishes from the Holy Land for those celebrating Christmas.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office originally joined Twitter, in addition to YouTube and Facebook in August 2010 with the conviction that “social media channels today are vital to Israeli public relations, government transparency and keeping the public informed,” according to a statement by the prime minister’s bureau.

In general, Middle East leaders are increasingly utilizing Twitter to engage people and one another, according to a study, called Twiplomacy conducted by the global public relations consultancy Burson-Marsteller in August of this year (twiplomacy.com). According to the Twiplomacy study, “Twitter has become a new way to communicate with world leaders and a way for these leaders to communicate with each other.”

The study found that nearly two-thirds of world leaders have accounts on Twitter, with 45 percent of those accounts personally managed by world leaders. The Burson-Marsteller study assessed 264 Twitter accounts belonging to leaders from 125 countries, which combined have nearly 52 million followers.
In the Middle East and North Africa, 21 regional leaders have Twitter accounts.

Rabbi’s, Priest, and Mufti’s meet to promote Green

By SHARON UDASIN AND JONAH MANDEL

Christian, Jewish, Muslim clerics talk about environmental awareness; “We are tourists on this land, and will leave it one day.” epresentatives from Israel’s Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities met on Monday to talk about instilling their congregants with environmental awareness.

“When a priest or rabbi or mufti speaks, he speaks to the conscience of people, to the inner side of it, not only to the mind but to the heart,” Auxiliary Bishop to the Latin Patriarch Msgr. William Shomali, who presides over Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories, told The Jerusalem Post after the panel, which was held by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development at the capital’s American Colony Hotel.

“He speaks to all generations. It can be very emotional,” Shomali said.

A respect for nature, equivalent to a respect for God, he explained, can “enter the heart and conscience of the people” through canticles and music, sometimes more so than through legislation, he added.

Monday’s event was also the launch of the Interfaith Center itself, a new religious-environmental group headed by Rabbi Yonatan Neril. Earlier this month, the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land (CRIHL) endorsed the “Holy Land Declaration on Climate Change,” which was submitted by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, calling on observers throughout the world to address the environmental crisis, including increased consumption.

Archeologist reveal a Crusaders city under the streets of Acre

Underground Crusader city revealed beneath streets of Acre
Archeologists prepare to uncover entire compound built in medieval times and hidden for centuries under the rubble in northern Israel.

Off the track beaten by most Holy Land tourists lies one of the richest archaeological sites in a country full of them: the walled port of Acre, where the busy alleys of an Ottoman-era town cover a uniquely intact Crusader city now being rediscovered.

Preparing to open a new subterranean section to the public, workers cleaned stones this week in an arched passageway underground. Etched in plaster on one wall was a coat of arms — graffiti left by a medieval traveler. Nearby was a main street of cobblestones and a row of shops that once sold clay figurines and ampules for holy water, popular souvenirs for pilgrims.

Workers in a section of the Crusader town underneath the old port city of Acre, June 19 2011

The Galilee opens hiking trails for Christians

Galilee network of footpaths, roads and bicycle paths links sites central to lives of Jesus, disciples

Israel hopes to attract Christian tourists with a new pilgrimage route unveiled in the Galilee, a network of footpaths, roads and bicycle paths linking sites central to the lives of Jesus and his disciples.

Developing sites linked to Jewish history has long been a priority for the Jewish state. But the Gospel Trail, inaugurated recently by Israeli tourism officials, is a nod to the growing number of Christians traveling to the country in recent years, outnumbering Jewish visitors.

Tourism Ministry launches new initiative geared to attract Christian pilgrims to Holy Land, offer tours to sites including mother of Jesus Christ birthplace near Nazareth, Tomb of the Virgin near Jerusalem

More than two-thirds of the 3.45 million tourists in Israel last year were Christian, double the amount of the previous year, and about 40 percent of them defined themselves as religious pilgrims, according to Israel’s Tourism Ministry.

Cross banished from souvenirs in Bethlehem

Rick Moran
When even wearing the cross can get you into trouble with the you know who’s:

This Christmas in Bethlehem, the cross has been banned from souvenirs for tourists and pilgrims in the Holy Land. Some textile workshops in Jerusalem and Hebron have begun to print and sell T-shirts depicting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem without the cross. Because of the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the Palestinian territories, the cross was also removed from t-shirts of football teams. Interviewed by AsiaNews, Samir Qumsieh, journalist and director of the Catholic television station Al-Mahed Nativity TV in Bethlehem, said: “I want to launch a campaign to urge people not to buy these products – he says – because the removal of the cross is an intimidation against Christians, it is like saying that Jesus was never crucified. ”

Like every year, thousands including authorities, faithful and tourists from all over the world crowd, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem for midnight mass on the night of 24 December. It will be celebrated by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and will be attended by the highest offices of the Palestinian Authority.

Christian communities in the Holy Land are declining

In the land where Jesus lived, Christians say their dwindling numbers are turning churches from places of worship into museums. And when Christian pilgrims come from all over the world to visit the places of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection, they find them divided by a concrete wall.

Members of the Abu al-Zulaf family, Palestinian Christians, have left the hills and olive groves of their village near Bethlehem for Sweden and the United States, seeking a better life than that on offer in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Ayman Abu al-Zulaf, 41, moved to France in 1998. But he returned to Beit Sahour, the village where he was born, a year later. “I needed to be here, not in France,” he said. “Without Christians, the Holy Land, the land of Jesus, has no value.”

Will the Third Temple be built next year?

According to a centuries-old rabbinical prophecy that appears to be coming true, on March 16, 2010, Israel will begin construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem.

During the 18th century, the Vilna Gaon, a respected rabbinical authority, prophesied that the Hurva Synagoge in Jerusalem, which was built during his day, would be destroyed and rebuilt twice, and that when the Hurva was completed for the third time, construction on the Third Temple would begin.

Like it or not, the Temple Mount is Key to Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Here we go again. As Jews celebrate in their tens of thousands the festival of Booths, Succot, religious extremists like Sheikh Raed Salah incite Palestinian masses to recapture Jerusalem with “blood and fire.” Not to be outdone, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah rushed in to pour fuel on the fire as it protests a “plan by Jews to perform religious rituals” on the Temple Mount,’ and called on the international community to “force Israel to put off its attempts to take over Jerusalem.”