Patriarch al-Rahi Prays with Exiled Lebanese in Israelإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi celebrated mass with exiled Lebanese on Wednesday as part of his controversial trip to Israel.
Hundreds of Lebanese Maronites came to Saint Peter's church in the village of Capernaum on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where Christ is said to have delivered many of his most famous teachings.
But those who attended on Wednesday, a fragment of the thousands who fled across the border with Israeli forces in 2000 when Israel ended its 22-year occupation of Lebanon, said al-Rahi's historic visit would do little to change their circumstances.
Trained, financed and armed by Israel, the Christian South Lebanon Army (SLA) battled Palestinians and Hizbullah fighters during the occupation of southern Lebanon.
Many SLA veterans feel they have been abandoned by Israeli authorities in their adopted home, often working in low-paying factory, restaurant or cleaning jobs, but unable to return home for fear of retribution from Hizbullah and others who considered them traitors.
"The patriarch will not grant us anything," Boulous Nahra, originally from the town of Qlaiaa, told Agence France Presse, adding he would consider going home if the circumstances allowed.
"We never wanted to leave our country and the patriarch knows that," said Henry Al-Ghafri.
"Israel is not our country, I want to return to Lebanon (but) a lot of people in Lebanon... have disowned us now," he added.
But Victor Nader, former commander of an SLA special forces unit, said he was content with his new life.
"We are very happy here and my son is serving in the Israeli army," he said.
Al-Rahi came to Israel earlier in the week to join a brief visit by Pope Francis.
The Maronite Patriarch was condemned by media close to Hizbullah, which said travelling to arch-enemy Israel would be a "sin".
Lebanon remains technically at war with Israel and bans its citizens from entering the Jewish state.
But Maronite clergy are permitted to travel to Israel to minister to the estimated 10,000 faithful there.
Earlier on Wednesday al-Rahi visited the derelict Israeli Christian village of Kufr Bir'im, near the Lebanese border, whose inhabitants were evicted by the Israeli army in 1948, six months after Israel was established, and never allowed to return.
The same happened in the nearby village of Iqrit, and al-Rahi vowed to help the Christians of both places, who now live in nearby towns and cities, to reclaim their homes.
"We will work through the Vatican and lobby the pope until the world hears your case," he said.
"Many SLA veterans feel they have been abandoned by Israeli authorities in their adopted home".
So much for Israel being hospitable, LOL.
In Israel, they are free to practice any occupation, unlike your apartheid treatment of Palestinians who can't own land , or practice 54 professions in Lebanon!!!
every country in the world limits certain professions and land ownership to its own citizens.
Naharnet can you please put up some pics of Lebanese flags inside israel.
The one with the girl is cute, nd so is the big banner...
I like seeing Lebanese flags in Israel .. more pics?
ALSO can someone please tell me who his security bodyguards are? are they Lebanese or Israeli or Palestinian??? army /civilians???
Info would be good!
God bless this patriarch. He is the best in a long time to come for the Maronites and for Lebanon. National reconciliation calls for all those who wish to return, to return to Lebanon. The feared retributions never happened on the SLA militiamen and their families in 2000.
This trip was an excellent campaign on his part and one day the walls will be gone. Bravo Rai!
this is out of line. making a mass for those who are allied with the enemy of not only lebanon but its constitution 3eyb
You are the enemy of Lebanon and they sought Israel's help from the likes of you. They had to fight jihadists from North Africa and as far as Chechen.
Blame Christians ft always blame Christians.
Rahi should bring them back, no reason they should be exiled, Lebanon full of traitors, sold to Iran and Syria. Why not to Israel ?
Good thing if he has the power to choose his own hat let alone bring back war criminals to lebanon. May Allah swt never make these criminals set foot in lebanon ever again except to humiliate them more than they already have been humiliated.
cedre? are you telling me that since lebanon is sold to syria and iran it should be as well to Israel instead of working together and eliminating this solderie?
If the SLA are your heroes, you should move to Israel. You can be against Hezballah, the Syrian regime, the Iranian regime, etc, (as I am) without supporting traitors like the SLA.
Batrak is feeling important these days meeting with war criminals kamen. Good thing he has a nice hat at least.
Abdullah, are you jealous that they are more civilized than your group who make their women wear headscarves and are an embarassment to the Lebanese? If not for the atrak and his people, Lebanon would have been backwards like Syria, Yemen and Jordan and your Islamic friends in Iran--
May Allah make you stand next to them on the day of judgement since you love these rapists and torturers so much.
I support Hezbollah(as an armed resistance group not as a political party) but at the same time, i don't think the way the things were wrapped up to stop the war in Lebanon was fair. Hezbollah and other parties worked with the Syrian and Palestinian occupation who killed more Lebanese than Israel and affected Lebanon more negatively than Israel. Those people should be given pardon so Lebanon fixes another issue and proceed to definitively close the war period.
A bunch of traitors and collaborators who slaughtered the lebanese people, who terrorized them in countless prisons like khiam, and who helped the israeli enemi occupy our land should never be allowed to smell the scent of our country. We have paid in blood to free lebanon, paid with our lives so that the next generations can live their heads up high. We will never allow someone who sold our land to the zionists back amongst us. And yes, face it. Israel is the archenemy for at least 90% of lebanese, so you either face it or go find yourself another nation to call home
Same goes for the PLO and Syria but not only they are still in our lands, but they nag that we mistreat them, despite torturing us for years.
No the same does not go for the syrian and the palestinians. We have countless things in common with fellow arab citizens, israel on the other hand is a cancerous colony of european settlers. So also face that fact, we're arab, israel is not the same as the syrians and the palestinians. That's a fact of post 1990 lebanon, and you either face it or face it because you can do nothing to change this anymore
The same goes for them whether you like it or not, they were occupier, killed,tortured and imprisoned thousands of Lebanese. Actually i don't need to do anything to change it, it is changing by itself.
Palestinians and Syrians were occupiers, anyone who stood with them in the war is a traitor more than the ones who stood with the Israeli as the latter came as a reaction to the first.
Well read your constitution. It says israel is an enemy, and it mentions our arab neighbors as "brothers". I do not blame u and understand your frustration, because the days when the lebanese far right had a significant say in lebanese politics and could affect how we lebanese identify and define ourselves are long over. This is not 1975 anymore, this is not 1982. And just for the sake of respecting the lebanese's memory and intelligence please remember who invited the syrians into lebanon in 1976 and why. The syrian government comitted atrocities in lebanon, yes. But it is a reflection of our arab identity that syria and the palestinians cannot be enemies, and it is a reflection of lebanon's national arab stance that israel is an enemy. Tht's lebanon, take it or leave it
Where have i said that Israel isn't an enemy. I'm just saying that if a group of Lebanese who collaborated with a state that was slaughtering Lebanese are traitors then all of them are, including Hezbollah. In my opinion, Hezbollah were heroes, they collaborated with Syria because they had to, just like how Bashir collaborated with Israel,because he had to. The SLA became traitors once they kept fighting after the PLO occupation left, before that ,they had every right to fight the Palestinian occupiers. All i'm saying, if we want to close the Lebanese war thingy, we should be fair, and those people should be given pardon.
" the days when the lebanese far right had a significant" Are you living in a leftist micro spot of Lebanon? Have you seen all the youth's belief about the Lebanese identity? Most of them reject that Arab identity BS.
"Who invited the Syrians" Well if you're alluding that I'm a Christian, I'm not, and they invited Syria to help the Lebanese authority, but the traitor Assad became an occupier just like the Israelis and did more awful stuff than Israel.
Arab states cannot be enemies ? lol.
For me, Syria, Israel, PLO are all as bad as each other. The problem is that Lebanese feel only with the pain of their community, not the country in general. Oh and btw, i've already "took" Lebanon, but i won't stay silent about unfairness and the shitty state that Lebanon has been drowning in ever since those Arabists got some power, and sacrificed Lebanon for the cause/hypocrisy of other countries.
It happens that the picture in which you would like to see lebanon is long dead and burried, good luck in not "staying silent". Don't listen to me, just read your constitution. Israel is an enemy and NOTHING makes it ok to collaborate with them. And surprise half of your country is made of syrians and palestinians (a lot of whom are loyal to the syrian gov and the plo respectively), mayb if u got out of your ghetto you would consider fighting these "enemies and occupiers". If you would get out of your ghetto (plus read your constitution) you would probably realize that the days when there was a question around lebanon's identity are long over. And well good luck with your "youth who believe were not arab" coz well hate to break it 2u but you guys couldn't change anything beyond the first few months of 2005 9 yrs ago.. Well mayb you need another 9 years, just to realize u got urself a beating..again
And we'll have to define "lebanese authorities" that the syrians were invited to help. Last time I checked it was the "lebanese front" al jabha al lubnaniyya tht the syrians came 2 help. And well unless they recently changed history these were not the lebanese authorities. And then u know, when u coordially invite a foreign power 2 enter ur country, they usually (usually) tend 2 stick around for some time. So its either the lebanese right was utterly stupid at that time 2 invite syria and expect assad to pack his stuff and go asap, or its that the remnents of the lebanese right today are a bunch of hippocrits in building a case around a fatal mistake they themselves committed
I think this argument will be endless so this is the last reply.
I didn't say Israel was not an enemy, I, not being a sectarian under disguise, do feel with the pain of Lebanese whether in the North.in the south or wherever not unlike some who have selective memories and only feel with their group of people. My point is, if you want to punish those who worked with occupiers who killed,tortured,imprisoned thousands of Lebanese, than do it regardless if they worked with Israelis, Syrians or Palestinians regardless if they are NOW enemies or not.