Scots at church

Sir, – We are deeply disappointed by the tone of “Cleric critical of Israel slated to take over Jerusalem church” (June 18) regarding the appointment of Rev. Páraic Réamonn as minister of St. Andrew’s Scot’s Memorial Church.

Far from being a “relatively quiet posting,” Rev. Réamonn’s appointment is a significant one for the Church of Scotland. He will be responsible for the worship life of the congregation and for developing relationships with the Church’s partners from all the Churches and faith communities that richly intermingle in Jerusalem.

The Church of Scotland has a long history of engagement with the people of the Holy Land, and our General Assembly has consistently supported efforts for a just and peaceful end to the Israeli occupation, as well as recognizing the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians to a secure and peaceful future.

The Church is called to stand in solidarity with the least in society, to support those who are marginalized and to build a world in which all citizens enjoy their full human rights and have their human dignity and worth affirmed and upheld.

Rev. Réamonn has worked for these same aims and I am confident he will pursue them vigorously at St. Andrew’s. It is unfortunate that some people seem bent on undermining his ministry even before he has taken up his post.

IAIN CUNNINGHAM
Edinburgh

The writer is a reverend and convenor of the World Mission Council of the Church of Scotland Sir, – As a longstanding but former member of the Church of Scotland, I was not surprised by the appointment at St.

Andrews of one who has been active in standing against the Israeli position.

Since the early half of the 20th century this denomination, like others, has been split between the conservative and biblically minded on the one hand, and, on the other, the liberal wing, with its cavalier, cherry-picking approach to scripture, blinded to the unconditional and eternal nature of God’s promises to Israel. The latter camp has come to be the controlling force in everything to do with the Church’s role in Israel.

I know of one minister, a passionate supporter of Israel, who would jump at the chance of a Jerusalem posting but realizes he’d have no chance at all because of his “misplaced” passion.

These people are representative of neither the Church of Scotland nor Christianity as a whole. The remit of believing gentiles is to support and help Israel.

The policies of St.

Andrews in Jerusalem distress not only Israelis and Christians, but also the head of the Church, Jesus the Christ.

“Jesus wept” is relevant to the St. Andrews situation in 2014.

MARGARET E. SALMOND
Aberdeen, Scotland

Not their problem


Sir, – With regard to “Jerusalem Municipality expected to ratify policy doubling property taxes on ‘ghost apartments’” (June 18), this bizarre, undemocratic policy would be nothing less than an outrage.

Overseas owners invest in their apartments and pay already sky-high property taxes. They do so to enjoy their properties at their own convenience, and if it goes against the customs and practices of small-minded, communistic bureaucrats, it should not be their problem. In a democracy a person can own two apartments, even if one is not in constant use and even if other people can’t afford them.

The work on the 1,500 abandoned apartments seems like a much more sensible way to go even though it would not be the easy way (i.e., to declare that people who own apartments but do not use them often enough deserve to be fined for their chutzpah).

Imagine what a policy of double taxation would do to the people who are thinking of making an investment in Israeli property!

MARCELLA WACHTEL
Jerusalem

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