One of the best parts of being back to work (besides an income) is having the time and high-speed Internet access to again keep up with Middle Eastern news. Last July, my trip to Israel ignited a desire in me to embrace and “own” my Jewish-Israeli background. My ignorance of the situation in Israel was embarrassing, so I decided to start small by daily catching up on the articles in the Middle East section of Yahoo!News.
Today, there was an interesting article about a fight between Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests and worshipers at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. This is one of the holiest Christian places in Jerusalem, said to have been built over the site where Jesus was buried and resurrected. Apparently yeseterday was the Orthodox Palm Sunday, so the place was swarming with Eastern Orthodox Christians. You can read the whole article here. It’s really disturbing to see how the Church is sometimes represented by people who actually come to blows over whose right it is to be at these holy sites. It is so different than the Church I grew up a part of or the movement that I’ve devoted my life to as an adult.
As sad and disturbing as this article is, I couldn’t help but find it a little…hilarious. The lead explains that “dozens of Greek and Armenian priests and worshipers exchanged blows […] and used palm fronds to pummel police who tried to break up the brawl.” I get that it was Palm Sunday, so they were already…outfitted with the palm fronds, but what damage can you do by whipping a cop with one? And the image that the writer of the article conjures with the word “pummel”…it’s hard to believe one could be pummeled with a palm frond anymore than one could be assaulted with asparagus.