rafi ghattaz.jpg

Bio express

Age: 24 years old

Job: journalist

City: Jerusalem

Church: Latin Catholic

Rafi

"The youth is the present of this land. Not its future"

How are you involved in the church?

 

I was nominated as General Secretary of the Youth of Jesus Homeland for 3 years in 2019. But I started my service in the church a long time ago. When I was 12, I went to my priest and told him : “Abuna, why do the elementary school and the university have a youth group and we don’t ? Try with us !” So he challenged me and I organized a youth group for 25 people of my age.

 

Is it something important?

 

It's important to get involved. Youth is the present of this land. Not its future. Young people are deciding the future of this country today: and that means decisions like staying or leaving.  If it is up to us to stay, then institutions like the Church also have a role to play. Rather than handing out money, which I respect, the Church should have the keys to build our future. This could be done, for example, by making Christian schools, which are currently very expensive, free for Christian students.

 

Does the Church need to evolve? 

 

The church has to start listening to the youth, working with us, giving us its trust ; and stop giving all the power to the priests, or the old persons. If nothing is done and if the church stays the same, we will be the last christian generation here. Inside the church, saying that you stand with the youth is a way of gaining support from the people. Almost like saying, as an arab leader in the Middle-East, that you’ll free Palestine. But these are only words. The facts are in our churches : where is the youth ? As of today, it can’t create a good relationship with us, because it doesn’t let us be part of. Doing activities for Christmas is not enough. We should be included in the decision process. 

 

What do you dream of for the church ?

Three years ago, I was in Ramallah for my nomination as general secretary, and I said that I dreamt that one day, all the christians of the Jesus homeland, the people from West Bank, Galilee, Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, can gather together for the Christ King Festival we organize every year. Because of Israel occupation, it is almost impossible. This year, for whatever reason, the Galilee youth made it to Bethlehem. It is my hope that one day, this land will become one again.

Interview by Cécile Lemoine