Monday, July 10, 2006

Ilan Halevi on Russian Orthodox in Israel

I ran across an interesting quote by Ilan Halevi:
One of the most pathetic and tragic things about this country are the Christian Orthodox Russians in Israel on false pretenses. Not only do they squat in hangars and sheds to have masses in secret, they occupy abandoned Palestinian Christian Orthodox graveyards - burying their dead in existing graves and writing Russian on the tombstones.

Colonization of the dead by the dead. This is a marginal but revealing feature of this totally mad situation.
This ties in with an article I saw not long ago in Haaretz, about the strange situation of the Russian Orthodox in Israel. I remember being struck by the irony that, as the Israelis import Russians (even many who are non-Jewish) to offset the Arab population, they are actually augmenting the Orthodox Christian population of the region. Russians who might have been at best nominally Christian before they emigrated suddenly identify more actively with Orthodoxy as a familiar cultural anchor in their new homeland. Considering how difficult it can be for Christians to preach the gospel in Israel, what better way to help the Church grow? And how long before this process leads to a significant Orthodox community that spans both sides of the Israel-Palestine divide, with affinities between those of Russian and Arab background?

3 comments:

Lucian said...

The Trojan ... err, excuse me, ... Russian Horse. :)

poncho said...

could you please tell me where I could find the quote of Mr. Halevi? I'm interested.

Trevor said...

Since I didn't link to the source, I suspect it came from an article included in the Sephardic Heritage Update. You can subscribe by contacting David Shasha. He might also be able to help you with this inquiry by sending some back issues from late June/early July 2006.