My family and I, as Arab Israeli Christians, thank God every day for the privilege of living in the only free democracy in the Middle East. We feel like the most blessed people in the world.
See, there are nearly 15 million Christians presently living in countries across the Middle East, and only around one percent of us live in freedom. We are the one percent of Christians in the Middle East who are fortunate enough to live in Israel.
In every other country in the Middle East, and even in areas under the Palestinian Authority, if I were to stand in the public square and proclaim my faith in a clear loud voice, I would certainly be harassed, probably arrested by the police, perhaps tortured, and maybe even killed.
If I stand in the public square and proclaim my faith in the small village where I live, and if I am harassed by anyone because they disagree with my message, the Israeli police may show up. But they would not come in order to beat me into silence. They would come to protect me from my persecutors and to preserve my freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
I cannot ignore this. I cannot take it for granted.
Dr. Saleem Shalash is the pastor of Home of Jesus the King Church in Nazareth, Israel. As a Christian Israeli Arab leader he is an important voice of reason and truth.
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