Monday, April 21, 2008

Holy Sepulcher Brawl

Did Jesus ever imagine that a few hundred yards from where he told the disciples that Christians would be known by their love that Jewish authorities would break up a brawl among his followers?  And not just once, as "brawls are not uncommon at the church."

Israeli police rushed into Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre to break up fist fights between dozens of Greek and Armenian worshippers on Orthodox Palm Sunday, witnesses said.

Some 20 officers intervened after Armenian worshippers threw a Greek Orthodox priest out of the church, sparking a free-for-all, they said.

Several worshippers then started beating the police officers with palm fronds they were holding for the Palm Sunday celebrations that mark the return of Jesus to the Holy City a week before he was crucified.

After the incident, dozens of members of Jerusalem's Armenian community marched from the church to the Old City's police headquarters in protest at the detention of two Armenians.

Brawls are not uncommon at the church, which is shared by various branches of Christianity, each of which controls and jealously guards part of site -- considered one of the holiest in Christianity.

Precisely in order to prevent such disturbances, two Muslim families have been entrusted for the past 800 years with opening and closing the gates of the church, a cavernous labyrinth of chapels and crypts built on the site where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried.

The full story is here.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Golf Where Jesus Prayed

I've heard talk about a golf course planned on Arbel overlooking the Sea of Galilee for years, but this JPost article makes it sound like it's getting closer to realization.  (Interpreted for those unfamiliar with the Israeli system, that means that there are now less than 472,325 legal obstacles remaining.)  Here are a few numbers mentioned in the article:

2: Number of 18-hole golf courses in Galilee

150: Cost of the ultra-luxury resort (in millions of dollars)

8: Cost of water treatment plant already built (in millions of dollars)

The official website:

There will also is a golf course planned for Eilat, and JPost has a computer-generated image of what it might look like.

This blog post title is an allusion to the idea that Arbel may have been the mountain on which Jesus withdrew to pray (Matt 14:23; Mark 6:46; Luke 6:12).  I should trademark it and trade it to the developers for one of the gazillion-dollar memberships.

Sea of Galilee and Arbel cliffs panorama, tb0221007888sr
Arbel and the Sea of Galilee from the west

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bethlehem Brawl

I suppose that Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without the monks at the place of Jesus' birth duking it out.
For a quarter of an hour bearded and robed priests laid into each other with fists, brooms and iron rods while the photographers who had come to take pictures of the annual cleaning ceremony recorded the whole event.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Buy Land in Israel

In the category of "why-didn't-I-think-of-that," the "Israel Land Development Corporation" is now offering plots of land in Israel for sale online.  Without leaving the comfort of your own home or having to sign closing papers, you can own some of the Holy Land "forever."  The details are here, but before you punch in your credit card details to pay $118 for that one square foot of dirt, know that I personally have a special going on right now.  For only $99, I will send you a better map than they are offering, and a much more beautiful certificate.  Just mail me a check and there will be lots of warm fuzzy feelings of "joy and pride."  If you don't feel them, I will.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Nazareth Cross

nazareth_cross In the "you've got to be kidding me" file goes this story about the world's largest cross being erected in Nazareth.  Besides the fact that such a 200-foot towering construction would be so out of place aesthetically, there's the issue of Christian-Muslim relations in the town of Jesus' childhood.  In short, there's not one chance in a million that the Muslims will allow it.  If legal challenges don't stop it, violence will.  The official site is  You have to wonder - what would Jesus have thought as a child if he knew what people would one day try to do.  Or what does he think now?  If you look over the website and aren't convinced it's a crass marketing effort, you didn't read this.  7.2 million tiles times 100 bucks equals $720 million.  Wish I had thought of it.