Protests in the southern Israeli town of Dimona have flared up again, two weeks after a meeting centre for Messianic Jews re-opened its doors.
The centre was closed in May last year following violent protests by ultra-Orthodox Jews and attacks on the homes of church leaders. Earlier this week a group of Orthodox Jews came to the centre, where they protested and threatened some of those who were in the building, according to Middle East Concern.
Such protests are not new. In September last year a Messianic group in Arad, 50km north of Dimona, reported abuse by Orthodox Jews and other residents protesting against their meeting.
Meanwhile, a 55-year-old Christian bookshop in Tel Aviv faces closure over a dispute with the owner of the premises.
The owner says that by selling other Christian books than the Bible, the bookshop, operated by the Bible Society, “is violating its commercial license and therefore does not meet the criteria of a protected tenant”, Middle East Concern reports. The case, which was due to be heard in court last Wednesday had to be postponed due to the illness of the judge.
In his Christmas message, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Christians in Israel “not only survive, but they thrive!” But at the same time, the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, was in the UK to rally support against a bill that would limit the property rights of churches.
The proposed “church lands bill” has been signed by 40 members of the Knesset, Israel’s lower house.
In September Jerusalem-based churches condemned what they said seemed like a move to weaken the Christian presence in the city.
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