Assessing the Kirk’s report on theologies of land in the context of Israel/Palestine

Michael Marten, Ekklesia, May 24

At a meeting of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly, on 23 May 2013, a report from the Church and Society Council on theology of land in the context of Israel/Palestine was discussed: The inheritance of Abraham? A report on the ‘promised land’ (*.PDF document). There are two broader contextual elements to this report that are worth outlining in brief.

Firstly, the Kirk has a long tradition of engaging in one way or another with Palestine, and then Israel and Palestine. In modern history, engagement in the 19th and first half of the 20th century was primarily in the context of missions, in the mistaken belief that, first, it could convert Jews to Presbyterianism and, second, that this was a desirable thing to do (it should be noted they were largely unsuccessful).

For a number of years, the Church of Scotland has backed a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim, while critiquing the fundamental injustice of Israel’s illegal occupation.

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