Enclosed by a ghetto wall, deprived of its agricultural lands, cut off from Jerusalem, deserted by pilgrims and tourists, Bethlehem is in crisis. The birthplace of Jesus needs our support. Leicestershire Holy Land Appeal is working with others to develop links with Bethlehem. Leicester and Bethlehem are both multi-faith cities in which Christians and Muslims live together in harmony. We aim to get Leicester to twin with Bethlehem. In the summer of 2007 children from the Ghirass cultural centre in Bethlehem visited Leicester for a second time. In the summer of 2008 we will be visited by Children from the Lajee Centre in Aida Refugee Camp.
Palestinians often link Saint George to the Islamic figure Al Khader. There are many traditions about Saint George or Al Khader that are shared by Christian and Muslim Arabs in Palestine and neighbouring countries. There is an interesting video on You Tube about St. George and his significance for Palestinians.
A Greek Orthodox church of Saint George is built above his tomb in Lydda. Sharing a courtyard garden with the church is a mosque named after Al Khader and Omar.
The symbolism of the dragon story is good overcoming evil and sin with the help of God.
The icon is typical of Icons of Saint George in the Eastern Churches.
Note the lack of aggression in the face and posture of Saint George, and how the dragon seems to be submitting, even opening its mouth to accept the spear. Evil and sin willing itself to be overcome by good and God.
He talked about the land:-
Our land is an important source of food and a supplement to income. We produce Olive oil and make our own olive oil soap. Many grow wheat and ground flour, animals graze on uncultivated land. Many families now stand to lose all or most of their land with construction of the illegal separation wall. A few days a relative of mine was ploughing his land near the Beit Arye settlement and was forced to leave by settler gunmen.When he returned he saw that 75, half of his Olive trees had been marked for removal as they are on the proposed line of the wall. The rest are close by, he fears these will also be lost as the bulldozers are likely to dump soil and rubble on them. In total Aboud will lose 5200 Olive trees with construction of the wall.