Israel 2016 – Part 2

On Monday, March 7, I had the morning and afternoon free before the conference started at 5:00 PM. I walked north through Bethlehem, passed through the Israeli checkpoint in the barrier wall, and walked a few more blocks into the southern-most end of Jerusalem to visit Tantur Ecumenical Institute. Walk with me.

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The entrance to the Bethlehem Museum, which I did not have time to visit.

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And here is a different dove, on the wall of a general building, not the barrier wall.

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Views of Bethlehem Bible College, which has another location in Nazareth and a satellite campus in Gaza.

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And here is the barrier wall. 26 feet tall, twice as high as the Berlin Wall. No Palestinian can pass through a checkpoint without a permit, and few new permits are issued each week.  No one is allowed to photograph the pedestrian checkpoints.

Many Palestinians have permits to work in Israel, but the checkpoints are crowded at work hours, so the process can take 3 hours. Many workers arrive at 3:00 AM in order to pass through and get to work on time. At noon, when I went through, there were only two people head of me.

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Entrance and view of one building of Tantur Evangelical Institute. Tantur is a department of the University of Notre Dame and is described as an oasis of learning, community and hositality. Terry Brensinger and other BIC people have stayed here during Holy Land tours and studies.

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A grotto at Tantur, showing Christ presiding over the New Jerusalem with rivers of water flowing out of the city.

I came to Tantur to visit my Palestinian Christian friend KB, who is the maintenance person here and who  showed me around the extensive buildings and grounds, including an impressive library.

By 5:00 PM I was back at the hotel, where all sessions of the conference are being held. The event is sponsored by Bethlehem Bible College and is called Christ at the Checkpoint 4. There were three such conferences held in the past.

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The subtitle for this conference is “The Gospel in the Face of Religious Extremism.”

The registration count is over 400, which is much larger than I expected. People have come from 23 nations. Seven BIC people from southern California are here.

The keynote address was given by Bishop Efraim Tendero of the Philippines, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance. He spoke on “The Gospel and the Challenge of Religious Extremism,” listing some mistaken assumptions about religious extremism, calling for thoughtful and respectful dialogue with all people,  and insisting that the way of Christ is the way on non-violence.

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses

  1. John, thanks for the update on your first day in Bethlehem. We’ve visited there twice. Years ago MCC had a school in Beit Jala.

  2. John, thanks so much for these blogs! What an amazing opportunity you are having. Wish I could be there, too. Lucy

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