A leading Israeli evangelical, Botrus Mansour, head of the 77-year-old Nazareth Baptist School, is attempting the impossible: to be realistic and hopeful at the same time about peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
In late July 2013, Palestinian and Israeli peace negotiators restarted talks on key political issues, including a permanent Palestinian state, its borders, the status of Jerusalem and the Israeli settlements. Official negotiations had been on hold since 2009. By mid-2014, negotiators will report on the talks' progress.
Mansour, author of When Your Neighbor is The Savior, grew up in Nazareth, where his father (Atallah Mansour) was an influential Christian journalist at Haaretz, Israel's oldest daily newspaper. After practicing law for many years, Mansour joined Nazareth Baptist staff. The school gained national prominence when Israel's Ministry of Education ranked its K-12 academic program as one of the top five nationwide.
Timothy C. Morgan, senior editor, global journalism, interviewed Mansour during the Mansour's recent visit to the United States.
Do Israeli-Arab Christians influence the peace process?
Unfortunately, our influence is minimal. Arab Christian citizens of Israel are two percent of the country. There are just two Christian members of the 120-member Israeli parliament (Knesset). Christians in America have more influence [in Israel].
Some Christians in America have been hardliners and pushing the Obama administration to stand with Israel. They see Palestinians as the enemies of the Israelis. [But] if Christians are pushing for no compromise, you are not going to reach an agreement. Other Christians, mainly mainline Protestant groups and Catholics, are pushing for some ...