2014 was a violent and troubled year in the Middle East, as the ISIS (ISIL) terror group sought to impose an extreme Islamic state on parts of Syria and Iraq, the Palestinians rioted over the Temple Mount, and an Israeli activist was shot in an attempted assassination—apparently over his beliefs that Jews should be allowed to pray and worship on the Temple Mount.
Suffice it to say, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin wants something different for the new year, and he told that to a group of Christian leaders for their annual New Year’s reception. In comments released by his office, Rivlin said, “We will continue to live together, and build bridges of peace, here, in the land of our fathers. May we all, Christians, Muslims, Jews, children of Abraham, together with all those of different faiths, see the fulfillment of the vision of the prophet Isaiah, that ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, and no longer learn war.’”
Rivlin noted that that was tragically not what occurred during the past year. “We have been greatly concerned by the on-going religious persecution and restrictions on freedom of worship for minorities in the Middle East,” he said.
“Because of their faith hundreds of thousands are being exiled, forcibly converted, attacked, and brutally murdered.”
While Rivlin’s message was peace, he noted that there is an enemy, and it’s one that all the region’s religions can share. “This is a war against extremism. A war, being waged against those who want to spread a message of freedom of worship and coexistence, by those who carry the flag of destruction and hatred,” said the Israeli president.
Rivlin concluded by offering his hopes for the new year to the Christian leaders: “Let 2015 be a year of partnership and friendship. Let it be a year of understanding and mutual respect. I wish you all a peaceful and happy New Year.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, January 1, 2015)