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CMEP Weekly Bulletin: The Fearless Pursuit of Justice for Shireen Abu Akleh

A look at historic ordination, political deadlock, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

CMEP’s Bulletin is a weekly round-up of news from the Middle East and represents an array of perspectives on the issues we cover. CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the articles, and they do not speak on CMEP’s behalf.

Image: The killing of a renowned Palestinian American journalist shines a light on Israeli military practices in the Occupied Territories. (Illustration by Rami Kanso)

The fearless pursuit of justice for Shireen Abu Akleh


“Palestinian American Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed in May 2022 while covering an Israel Defense Forces raid on a refugee camp in the Palestinian West Bank village of Jenin. Abu Akleh had been standing with a group of other journalists and was wearing a blue vest with the word PRESS printed across it when she was shot; her producer was shot in the back but survived. Hours after Abu Akleh’s death, Israeli police went into her home, took away Palestinian flags, and prevented the singing of Palestinian nationalist songs.”

Image: Sally Azar became the Holy Land's first woman pastor at an event at the Lutheran church (Munther Isaac)

First woman pastor in Holy Land ordained

“In many parts of the Christian world, female church leaders are no longer unusual. But until now, the Holy Land - where events in the Bible are set - had not seen a local woman ordained. On Sunday (January 22), a Palestinian from Jerusalem, Sally Azar, became its first woman pastor at an event at the Lutheran church in the heart of the Old City, attended by hundreds of international well-wishers. ‘I got more excited seeing the excitement of other people,’ Reverend Azar told me. ‘It's an indescribable feeling to take this step with the support of the church.’”

Image: Lebanese lawmakers gather to elect a president at the parliament building in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Lebanese pound hits new low as political deadlock persists

AP News

“The value of the Lebanese pound hit a new low on Thursday (January 19), trading at 50,000 to the dollar, as the country’s deeply divided Parliament failed to elect a president for the eleventh time. The cash-strapped Lebanon’s currency, once valued at 1,500 to the dollar, has been tanking since late 2019 and has since lost over 90% of its value. The financial crisis has plunged three-quarters of the population into poverty, with millions struggling to cope with some of the world’s sharpest inflation. Experts blame the country’s entrenched ruling elites for decades of corruption and financial mismanagement.”

What's Happening at CMEP

Limited time opportunity to support CMEP while you shop! 

Have you heard? The Amazon Smile program is ending at the end of February. Please click here and select Churches for Middle East Peace. Using this link you can support CMEP’s peacebuilding work and there are NO additional costs to you. OR you can help us fulfill our Amazon Wishlist for some of our basic office supplies, event materials, and tech needs.

Save the Date! Join Churches for Middle East Peace for our first in person Advocacy Summit since 2019.

On April 20 we will hear from keynote speakers and panelists from Israel/Palestine and the U.S. including Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac, and Rev. Dr. Jack Sara. Participants will have the opportunity to take the stories they have heard and advocate on behalf of human rights in Israel and Palestine with their Congressional offices on Friday, April 21. We hope you will consider joining us for fellowship, learning, and the chance to raise your voice on Capitol Hill this April.  Keep on eye on CMEP Events page, social media, and your email for registration and pricing in the coming weeks.

Week of Prayer For Christian Unity 2023: Do good; seek justice (Isaiah 1:17)

Join Churches for Middle East Peace, the World Council of Churches, and Christians around the world for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 18-24, 2023. The theme for 2023 is “Do good; seek justice (Isaiah 1:17).” CMEP will be hosting a religious leader live from the Middle East from January 18, 19, 23, & 24 for a time of prayer and reflection at 10 am Eastern. Join us on zoom as we pray together in hope of Christian Unity. 


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CMEP has repeatedly called for a peaceful resolution to conflicts in the Middle East. Please donate to help amplify this message.


Image: Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, including militants, who were killed in an Israeli raid, during their funeral in Jenin in the Israeli-occupied West Bank January 26, 2023. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)

Israeli troops kill nine in Jenin clash with Palestinian gunmen, medics say

“Israeli troops killed nine Palestinians, including an elderly woman, and wounded 12 others during clashes with gunmen on Thursday (January 26) in a flashpoint town in the occupied West Bank, witnesses and medics said. The Israeli military confirmed that an operation was under way in Jenin but did not immediately provide further details. The Palestinian armed groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad said their gunmen were battling troops who had swept into Jenin refugee camp, a militant bastion where such deep raids are rare.”

Image: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a hearing at the Magistrate's Court in Rishon LeZion, Israel, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

Netanyahu flies to Jordan for surprise meeting with king

AP News

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a surprise trip to Jordan on Tuesday (January 24) to meet with King Abdullah II for the first time in over four years, seeking to shore up ties that have strained since he took office at the helm of Israel’s most right-wing government in history. The rare meeting between the leaders, who have long had a rocky relationship, comes as tensions grow over Israel’s new ultranationalist government, which took office late last year.“

Image: Drone footage shows protesters takeover of central Tel Aviv. (BBC)

Israelis stage giant protest against Netanyahu court reform

“An estimated 110,000 people have packed the streets of Tel Aviv, in one of Israel's biggest anti-government protests in the past decade. The rallies spread across the city centre as banners were hoisted calling for an end to the ruling coalition, which is the most right-wing and religious-nationalist in Israel's history. ‘This is a dangerous government,’ said Yaara Ben Geraluf, a teacher from Jaffa, a western suburb on the coast.”

CMEP's Bulletin is a weekly round-up of news from the Middle East and represents an array of perspectives on the issues we cover. CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the articles, and they do not speak on CMEP's behalf.

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
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