Iran’s Attack on Israel Did Not Deter Christians from Visiting Holy Sites

Christian pilgrims and tourists have continued to visit Holy sites despite the Iranian regime’s aerial assault against Israel, an attack that has heightened fears about existing regional tensions. During the attack, Iran launched around 300 missiles and drones, including ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. According to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the attack was retaliation for Israel allegedly striking its consulate in Damascus, Syria, earlier this month, which resulted in the deaths of two high-ranking officers. Israel’s defence system successfully intercepted the threats, with allies like the United States, Jordan and the United Kingdom coming to its aid. Lines at some Holy Sites were a little shorter this past weekend but still long at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, which is believed to be the place of Jesus’ crucifixion and tomb. Christian pilgrims also visited the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

“Christians have been subjected to social and political pressure in Bethlehem as they have become a minority, relative to Muslims, and they have suffered from the Palestinian Authority’s policies as well,” Pollack wrote. “However, neither that history nor the ongoing threat of terror kept pilgrims and tourists from visiting this past weekend.” Some Muslim tourists from places like Turkey or neighbouring Palestinian areas also visited Bethlehem and its holy sites. According to Catholic Answers, Muslims also revere the Virgin Mary as the Quran praises her purity and the fact that God chose her above all women. The Jewish Virtual Library also highlights Bethlehem as “biblically important” to all three Abrahamic religions. Last Sunday, Iran’s armed forces chief of staff, Major Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, told Iranian state TV that Iran would carry out a larger attack if Israel retaliated and threatened to attack U.S. bases if the U.S. supports any Israeli attack, The Times of Israel reported.  U.S. officials familiar with the matter told CNN that President Joe Biden and his national security team have said the U.S. will not take offensive action against Iran.

Biden reportedly told Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu during a phone call last Saturday that he should consider it a “win” that Israel intercepted Iran’s attack. According to a senior U.S. military official, the U.S. determined that there was “no significant damage within Israel itself.” On Saturday, the White House released a statement in which the president called Iran’s attack “unprecedented.” Biden also “condemned these attacks in the strongest possible terms.” “Tomorrow, I will convene my fellow G7 leaders to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack,” the president said. “My team will engage with their counterparts across the region. And we will stay in close touch with Israel’s leaders. And while we have not seen attacks on our forces or facilities today, we will remain vigilant to all threats and will not hesitate to take all necessary action to protect our people.” The following day, G7 leaders issued a statement condemning Iran’s attack against Israel while expressing its commitment to defending the security of the Jewish state. The forum also warned that Iran’s actions risk “provoking a regional escalation,” an outcome G7 leaders expressed a desire to avoid.

Source: Christian Post

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