Palestinian Christian Says It’s Time to Pursue Unity Among Arabs, Jews

by | Feb 28, 2001 | Charisma Archive

Salim Munayer says Arab and Jewish believers in Israel are wasting a chance to model reconciliation to the world

As the ancient hatred between Arabs and Jews produces daily reports of gunfire, bomb attacks and deaths in Israel and Palestinian territories, nothing seems hopeful–or “new” in this new millennium. One Palestinian Christian, however, continues to sow the seeds of peace through Musalaha–a ministry that for 10 years has brought together Jews and Arabs who share belief in Jesus Christ.

Salim Munayer, 45, the director and founder of Musalaha, also serves as the academic dean at Bethlehem Bible College. The school is located near Rachel’s Tomb–the site of ongoing violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers.

Abrupt gunfire on Bethlehem streets often interrupts classes at the college, and students often return to the school the next day–traumatized from the overnight clashes that sometimes leave their homes sprayed with stray bullets.

While the religions of Judaism and Islam slug it out for control of holy sites in Jerusalem and for territory across the Holy Land, Munayer’s ministry–based in Jerusalem–is uniting followers of Jesus to bridge the gap between two peoples who have viewed themselves as enemies for centuries.

Munayer, however, believes the crux of the modern conflict between Arab and Jew began 100 years ago with the Zionist movement to return the Holy Land to Jewish control, which occurred in 1948.

“We are in one ‘house,’ and there are two people [Arabs and Jews], ” Munayer told Charisma during a recent interview in
Jerusalem. “And we have no choice but to live together in peace.”

Munayer cited 1 John 4:20, which calls a liar anyone who says they love God but hates their brother or sister. He stressed that followers of Jesus the Messiah, no matter what ethnic background or nationality, are called by God to bring peace among enemies.

In Israel, believers have an incredible opportunity amid the ongoing violence to present Jesus as the one true Messiah. They can exemplify that Arabs and Jews who share faith in Jesus can overcome their hatred and prejudices and live together in a land where that seems impossible, he says.

Under Musalaha, Arab Christians and Messianic Jews have joined together for special trips into the Negev desert, the Sinai and other neutral places. They go for several days, share camping and survival duties, and learn how faith in Jesus enables them to respect one another’s races as peoples created by the same Creator.

Together they ride camels into the desert, cook, share water rations, exchange personal experiences and testimonies, and gradually break down the demonization and dehumanization each group has heaped on the other for generations.

“In the Bible, the desert is where the prophets go to meet with God. And it’s where we learn how dependent we are on our God,” Munayer explained. “The desert is where we learn the hard way that if we don’t get along, we won’t survive.”

After the desert excursion ends, the reconciliation continues in their hometowns. They trade special ministry tasks that bring Jews into Arab neighborhoods and Arabs into Jewish neighborhoods. And after a night of violence, Musalaha participants often call one another to see if their new friends are safe, Munayer said.

A Palestinian pastor and his family in Bet Jala, for example, were caught in the cross fire between Israeli and Palestinian gunmen. Several Jewish believers reached out to him and his church.

One Messianic family donated 15 baskets of food and supplies for Palestinian Christians, who often cannot leave their towns to go to jobs in Israeli-controlled areas because of the fighting. A Messianic congregation pledged to pray during their Saturday services for the Christians living in Bethlehem.

“I told my church this, and they were touched,” the Bet Jala pastor said. “We are carried by Christ and not politics.”

Munayer resents the demonization of Palestinians by Christians and Jews as the enemies of God. He believes that many people are misled into believing the Palestinians are a violent people because of the ongoing uprising.

“The majority of Palestinian Christians live in Bethlehem, and the area of Ramallah and Betz Shaour,” Munayer said. “Those towns are closed. People are not allowed to leave. They cannot go to work and are running out of money. I live in Jerusalem–I can shop and travel. But the people in Bethlehem cannot travel.”

Munayer, however, realizes that love and reconciliation–not violence–are required to bring peace and to lift the oppression Arabs and Jews have exchanged for years.

“It is harder to do peace than to go to war,” Munayer said. “We and the Israelis have learned how to make war. We need to learn to make peace. Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’ It is really a big challenge.”


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


Have We Departed From the  Simplicity of Christ?

Have We Departed From the Simplicity of Christ?

Recently I heard a pastor say the following: "When I was pastoring and saw little fruit, I began to call those with potential to reach others for Christ to our home and to mentor them one on one. That's where massive growth happened in the people." Local pastors and...

Take the Fight to the Enemy, Before He Strikes at You

Take the Fight to the Enemy, Before He Strikes at You

Read Time: 3 Minutes 7 Seconds “When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek out David; and when David heard of it, he went down to the stronghold,” (2 Sam. 5:17). When David heard that he was under...

Joyce Meyer: Becoming a Prisoner of Hope

Joyce Meyer: Becoming a Prisoner of Hope

Read Time: 3 Minutes 56 Seconds God is good. And He has a good plan for each of our lives. No matter what may be going on right now, God’s plan is unfolding. In the meantime, Romans 12:12 tells us to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer,”...

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Read Time: 2 minutes 26 seconds The term "gaslighting" has gone viral across social media this year and Merriam-Webster chose it as their word-of-the-year, saying searches for the word spiked 1,740% in 2022 alone. We're breaking down what the Bible has to say about...

WATCH: Vlad Savchuck: Life, Health and the Bible

WATCH: Vlad Savchuck: Life, Health and the Bible During a recent visit to @HungryGeneration, Pastor Vlad Savchuk asked Bill Wiese to comment on his personal experience applying the Word of God to his own life and health. These same principals hold true for all who read and...


Miraculous Divine Intervention Birthed by Thanksgiving and Praise

Read Time: 4 Minutes 2 Seconds When I first became a believer in 1970, my mother was one of my first “converts," giving her heart to Jesus as soon as I shared with her the beauty, the power and the...
I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

Read Time: 1 Minute 32 Seconds The last six years have been the best of times and the worst of times. I’ve seen more death, destruction, disease and devastation than I care to remember. I’ve also seen the hand of God move in extraordinary ways. Indeed, sometimes I...

Prophetic Vision: ‘Now is the Time of Your Healing’

Prophetic Vision: ‘Now is the Time of Your Healing’

Read Time: 3 Minutes 41 Seconds I was remembering a time when my husband and I were praying over friends who had been in a situation for many years that had caused deep trauma to their souls. As we were praying for them, I became aware of an angel standing over them...

5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional and Spiritual Health

5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional and Spiritual Health

Read Time: 4 Minutes 50 Seconds Do you believe the Lord is concerned about your emotional and spiritual health? He is. He wants you to know how to improve your emotional and spiritual health to be resilient in turbulent times. One of the most powerful things you can...

Pin It on Pinterest