Israel rejects Alive! ‘inaccuracies’

Ambassador pens letter to Fr Brian McKevitt

A row has broken out between Israel’s Embassy to Ireland and monthly freesheet Alive! with the embassy accusing the publication of “inaccurate” reporting.

Following a recent article in Alive! Ambassador of Israel Boaz Modai wrote to editor Fr Brian McKevitt OP accusing him of being one-sided and ignoring Israel’s voice and challenged Fr McKevitt to use his publication to highlight the persecution of Christians.

The letter, a copy of which has been seen by The Irish Catholic, was about a recent Israeli Supreme Court order for a temporary halt to the country’s security wall.

In the letter the ambassador expresses his anger insisting that “this article was not balanced but rather promoted one narrative, without giving an Israeli viewpoint, and included some comments which were inaccurate”.

The Alive! article, building on the visit of Catholic prelates, two of them Irish, to Israel and Gaza, was entitled ‘Bishops call on Israel to halt “illegal” wall’ and focused on the Churchmen’s criticisms of the wall and negative impacts on communities, such as the Salesians of the Cremisan Valley.


However, Ambassador Modai writes: “Considerable effort has been made to accommodate requests from the Salesian clergy and to preserve in as far as possible the daily life of the surrounding communities in the Cremisan Valley. A succession of Israeli civilian courts have heard the arguments from all sides over the years and have given their decisions in accordance with Israeli law and international standards of justice.”

Mr Modai points out that courts have ordered changes, including route alterations and gate installations, to the security wall, towards keeping access open to local communities.

Pointing out that Israel is under attack from the same elements currently persecuting Christian communities across the Middle East, Mr Modai challenges Alive! to report “the real persecution of Christians in the Middle East right now; in Arab countries at the hands of Islamists.

“By contrast, in Israel Christians have freedom to worship and have equal rights under the law and indeed the Christian population of Israel has been growing in recent years, while in neighbouring countries Christians are suffering the worst persecution for many centuries.”

When contacted for comment, Fr McKevitt had not returned calls at the time of going to press.