Israel – Part 11

More about the conference Christ at the Checkpoint 4, with its sub-title “The Gospel in the Face of Religious Extremism.”

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a relief, service, community development and peace agency of the Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches, has an office in East Jerusalem, so the MCC staff sponsored a luncheon for all Mennonite and Brethren in Christ persons attending the conference.

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Then on the day after the conference I went to the MCC Jerusalem Office, which rents a few rooms from the Lutheran World Federation Building.

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From the veranda you look south along the Mount of Olives and see the tower of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Ascension. There are also several other ascension churches along the ridge.

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And when you look southwest, you see the Dome of the Rock in the Old City.

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Anna Johnson, from Iowa, the Connecting Peoples Coordinator, met with me and explained the work of MCC Jerusalem.

The office began in 1949 as a response to the refugee crisis that followed the establishment of the State of Israel. Now the office works with 16 partner groups, providing grants for work in agriculture and water. Water supply is a crucial need in the West Bank. Sadly, sometimes the government of Israel opposes the efforts to restore a good water supply to Palestinians.

Increasingly, MCC works with advocacy for justice, for instance, advocating in Washington, D.C., for conditional financial aid to Israel. At the present the US gives almost $5 billion a year to Israel with no conditions, so the money may go to projects that do not foster justice and reconciliation with Palestinian people.

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