Jesus was arguably the matchmaker for the Rev. Munther Isaac and his wife, Rudaina: The two met when Munther, a theology professor, spoke at a Christian conference Rudaina had organized while attending college.
And it is conviction that keeps the Palestinian couple in the town in the occupied West Bank where Christians believe Jesus was born.
“It is my husband’s belief that it is God’s will for us to be in this country,” Rudaina Isaac, 31, an architect, said as her husband conducted Sunday service at the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem.
But faith may not be enough to keep the family rooted in the Holy Land, where Munther heads Christ at the Checkpoint, a biannual event critical of Israeli policies.
“I don’t know how they will take this mission,” Rudaina says, referring to sons Karam and Zaid, her wide smile fading and her voice breaking. “Most of the Christians here only think of emigrating.”
Rudaina believes that American evangelicals who form a vital base of support for hard-line Israeli policies — and helped propel President Donald Trump to power — have made the local Palestinian Christian community’s suffering more acute.
“If we are sisters and brothers in Christ — they should understand,” she says. “They want Jews to control this land, but Christ came for all the nations.”