The Body and the Blood: The Holy Land's Christians at the Turn of a New Millennium : a Reporter's Journey

The Body and the Blood: The Holy Land's Christians at the Turn of a New Millennium : a Reporter's Journey

The Body and the Blood: The Holy Land's Christians at the Turn of a New Millennium : a Reporter's Journey

The Body and the Blood: The Holy Land's Christians at the Turn of a New Millennium : a Reporter's Journey

Synopsis

A journalistic pilgrimage seeks out the forgotten people of the Holy Land--its Christians--and shows how their dwindling numbers offer a sober lesson in understanding the modern Middle East.

Excerpt

At the first station of the cross on the Via Dolorosa, where tradition hol ds that Jesus shouldered his heavy wooden burden and stumbled toward his crucifixion, the stones came raining down.

Then the shooting started.

It was half past noon on Friday, October 6, 2000, in Jerusalem's Old City. Thousands of Palestinian Muslims who had just finished their Friday prayer at the central mosque in Jerusalem, known as Al‐ Aqsa, were setting out on what the Palestinian leadership had declared would be a "Day of Rage" against Israeli occupation. They hurled rocks at Israeli soldiers. and the soldiers opened fire in an escalating sequence of tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets (which Israel calls "rubber bullets"), and then live ammunition.

It was the end of the first week of what was being called a new intifada, or uprising. Palestinian youths were lined up along the Old City's Ottoman-era ramparts, near St. Stephen's Gate (referred to in Hebrew as Lion's Gate), and climbing atop the interior northern wall around the Al-Aqsa mosque, inside what Muslims call Haram al‐ Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary.

This thirty-five-acre sacred sanctuary houses the shimmering Dome of the Rock, which Muslims revere as the place from which the prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven in the seventh century. It is one of the holiest shrines in Islam, and it has become a central symbol of Palestinian nationalism.

But that same plot of land is also revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, the holy ground where the Second Temple of Judaism stood . . .

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