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On Oct. 12, 2004 the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, published an article by Amiram Barkat under the heading,
"Christians In Jerusalem Want Jews To Stop Spitting On Them."
"A few weeks ago, a senior Greek Orthodox clergyman in Israel attended a meeting at a government office in Jerusalem's Givat Shaul quarter. When he returned to his car, an elderly man wearing a skullcap came and knocked on the window. When the clergyman let the window down, the passerby spat in his face.
"The clergyman preferred not to lodge a complaint with the police and told an acquaintance that he was used to being spat at by Jews. Many Jerusalem clergy have been subjected to abuse of this kind. For the most part, they ignore it but sometimes they cannot.
"On Sunday, a fracas developed when a yeshiva student spat at the cross being carried by the Armenian Archbishop during a processio near the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City. The archbishop's 17th-century cross was broken during the brawl and he slapped the yeshiva student.
"Both were questioned by police and the yeshiva student will be brought to trial. The Jerusalem District Court has meanwhile banned the student from approaching the Old City for 75 days.
"But the Armenians are far from satisfied by the police action and say this sort of thing has been going on for years. Archbishop Nourhan Manougian says he expects the education minister to say something....
"There are an increased number at certain times of year, such as during the Purim holiday. 'I know Christians who lock themselves indoors during the entire Purim holiday,' he says.
"Former advisor to the mayor on Christian affairs, Shmuel Evyatar, describes the situation as 'a huge disgrace.' He says most of the instigators are yeshiva students studying in the Old City who view the Christian religion with disdain.
" 'I'm sure the phenomenon would end as soon as rabbis and well-known educators denounce it. In practice, rabbis of yeshivas ignore or even encourage it,' he says.
"Evyatar says he himself was spat at while walking wtih a Serbian bishop in the Jewish quarter, near his home. 'A group of yeshiva students spat at us and their teacher just stood by and watched'."
Perhaps now these Christians understand Jesus a little better, for it says that they spat upon Him as well (Matt. 26:67; 27:30; Mark 10:34; 14:65; 15:19).
I certainly do not advocate a violent response to such spitting, nor do I advocate spitting back at the yeshiva students. (That could get a person killed, and the yeshiva student might get up to 6 months in prison for it, with the sentence suspended after 4 months.)
On the other hand, such actions prove that the New Testament writers knew what they were talking about, and that they did not just write these gospels out of spite and hatred (as some Jews charge).
If someone spits in the face of a Jew in America, he would be charged with a "hate crime." And rightly so, if hate can be made a crime. I suppose nearly every Jew supports such legislation. It just seems to me that if the Israelis want to be known as a "Democracy," they ought to make spitting on Christians a "hate crime" as well. It is the double standards that people in the world hate most. Every time they do this sort of thing, they unfortunately create more "anti-semites" and lose the goodwill of the rest of the world.
Do Christians not have the God-given right NOT to be spit upon? Yes, except for one judicial factor: Christians themselves did a lot of spitting, too, when they had the power to do so without being prosecuted. And they did so in the name of Jesus. Thus, according to divine law, "an eye for an eye" becomes "spit for spit." In this way, Christians are learning what it means to be spat upon.
I do not expect the very religious yeshiva students to know better that to spit upon Christians. After all, they believe that non-Jews are just cattle and have "satanic souls." With such an attitude, one can expect them to act like they own the world and have a divine right to spit on anyone they please. But I do not expect Christians to think like Jews only in reverse. I expect Christians to act like Jesus. Okay, call me crazy, but I believe the Book.
The Armenian Archbishop in the article above may or may not realize it, but he is an intercessor. He is paying the penalty incurred by the Church for spitting on Jews in the past. It's not a penalty that I would want to pay, but I'm glad someone is doing it. It gives Christians opportunity to know what it feels like to be spit upon. It gives Christians opportunity to show love in return.
Oh, and about that 17th-century cross that was broken in the fracas, relics like that are always more important to men than to God. The same goes for holy real estate. God now inhabits people, not places. He upgraded His residence quite some time ago.
I think that the best solution to the problem is for Christians to leave the Old Jerusalem before the place gets nuked. That would make the yeshiva students happy, and could also save the lives of a lot of Christians.