Israel Memorial Day: Remembering Christians who fell 

Thus said Hashem: Do what is just and right; rescue from the defrauder him who is robbed; do not wrong the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow; commit no lawless act, and do not shed the blood of the innocent in this place.




(the israel bible)

April 24, 2023

5 min read

The Islamist terrorism that targets the Jewish state is fueled by antisemitism but, tragically, it also harms Christians who love Israel. On the eve of Israel Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron), the day when Israel remembers the soldiers who fell defending the Jews’ ancestral homeland and the victims of terrorism, Israel365 News is commemorating the Christians who died alongside the Jews. 


On April 7, Alessandro Parini (age 35), a Christian lawyer from Monteverde, Italy who was in Israel for Easter, was killed in a car-ramming attack on the Tel Aviv promenade.

A few hours after landing in Israel, Alessandro was walking on the promenade with a group of tourist friends when a car was driven onto the promenade, ramming the group of tourists. Alessandro was killed in the attack and seven others were injured. The terrorist, who was identified as an Israeli-Arab, was killed by a policeman who was in the vicinity of the attack

Islamic Jihad claimed credit for the attack.


Taylor Force, age 28, graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute and from West Point in 2009 and later became an officer in the US Army until leaving in 2014. While in the army, Force served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Force came to Israel in March 2016 as part of a study group from Vanderbilt University in global entrepreneurship.

While the group was strolling on the promenade of the Tel Aviv beach, a 21-year-old Palestinian man from Qalqilya went on a stabbing spree. Force was killed in the attack and eleven others were injured, including a pregnant woman, an Arab Israeli, and a Palestinian who was illegally residing in Israel. 

The family of the murderer receives a monthly pension from the Palestinian Authority Martyr’s Fund equal to several times the average monthly wage in the Palestinian Territories.

The Taylor Force Act is a legislative bill co-sponsored in the United States Senate was passed in 2016 which made it illegal to provide US economic aid to the Palestinian Authority until the PA changes its laws to cease paying stipends funneled through the so-called Palestinian Authority Martyr’s Fund to individuals who commit acts of terrorism and to the families of deceased terrorists. On March 23, 2018, the Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump.

On August 24, 2018, the United States cut more than $200 million in direct aid to the PA.] Also in August 2018, the United States stopped giving aid to UNRWA, representing an aid cut of US$300 million.

Upon entering the White House, the Biden administration reinstated funding to the PA. In December 2022, America First Legal filed a lawsuit against President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken for violating the Taylor Force Act. 

Ironically, Biden was on a vice-presidential visit to Israel and his wife Jill and their grandchildren were dining on a Tel Aviv beach at the time of the attack. Biden was meeting former Israeli President Shimon Peres several blocks away. 


Kristine Luken, aged 44, was an American citizen and a member of the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people (CMJ).  She was born in Texas and lived for many years in Virginia before moving to Nottingham, England, where she worked as a ministry staffer. She first visited Israel in 2007 as part of a Christian pilgrimage to holy sites. Luken met Kay Wilson, a British-born Israeli citizen, in August 2010 on a trip to Poland where Wilson was guiding. They became friends and when Luken, a keen hiker, came to Israel for a visit in December 2010, they went hiking in the Mata forest, near the town of Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem. 

The two women were attacked by two Arab men armed with a large knife. The women attempted to fight back, Wilson managing to stab an attacker with a pocketknife before they were subdued. In an attempt to avoid being attacked, Wilson tried to convince the Arabs that they were not Jewish, but this did not dissuade them.  

After half an hour of being held at knifepoint, the two women were separated and forced to kneel on hands and knees. The two women begged for their lives to be spared but were then stabbed multiple times.

Wilson was stabbed 13 times but survived the attack; Luken’s body was later found by Israeli police, bound and stabbed to death. The Palestinian terror cell that perpetrated the attack was later arrested. During the investigation, the cell members also confessed to the murder of Neta Sorek, whose stabbed body had been found earlier that year near the Beit Jimal Monastery in the Judean Hills. 


In April 2017, Hannah Bladon, a 20-year-old British student studying the Bible in Israel, was stabbed to death by a Palestinian while riding the light rail in Jerusalem on the Christian holy day of Good Friday. She was a University of Birmingham student on an exchange program at the Rothberg International School. She was also studying archaeology and Hebrew.


On March 19 2004, George Khoury, age 20, a Christian Arab and the son of well-known veteran attorney Elias Khoury of Beit Hanina, was shot to death from a vehicle while jogging in the north Jerusalem neighborhood of French Hill. The Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which claimed responsibility for the attack, later published an apology.


In addition to being a pilgrimage destination, Israel also hosts foreign workers from many countries. In May 2021, over 4,340 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza. Three of the 12 people killed in Israel were foreign workers. 

In one case, two men in their 30s who had come from Thailand to work in agriculture were killed in a direct hit to a packing house in a community close to the border. The strike injured eight other people, including one seriously and another moderately. Another of Three of the 12 people killed in Israel 

In March 2022, Police officer Amir Khoury, a Christian Arab from Nof Hagalil, was murdered while responding to a Palestinian terror attack in Bnei Brak. Khoury was hailed as a hero and his actions undoubtedly saved many lives.

In the same attack Victor Sorokopot and  Dimitri Mitrik, two Ukrainian nationals who were employed in construction and living in Bnei Brak for about three years, were killed while sitting outside a grocery store. 

A  total of five people were killed in the attack.


According to data from Israel’s Defense Ministry,  among the 24,213 people who have died during military service to the country since 1860, 427 were Druze, 221 Bedouins, 27 Christians, and approximately 10 were Circassians. Currently, approximately 100 Christians serve in various positions and units in the IDF.


While Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Patterson did not die defending Israel, he was the first Christian who came to the defense of the fledgling Jewish state. Born in 1867 in Ireland, to a Protestant father and Roman Catholic mother, he joined the British Army in 1885 and served in World War I. Patterson eventually attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel before retiring in 1920. 

Although he was himself a Protestant, he became a major figure in Zionism as the commander of both the Zion Mule Corps and later the 38th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (also known as the Jewish Legion) which would eventually serve as the foundation of the IDF decades later. The Zion Mule Corps, which served with distinction in the Gallipoli Campaign has been described as “the first Jewish fighting force in nearly two millennia”.

After his military career, Patterson continued his support of Zionism. He promoted the formation of a Jewish army to fight the Nazis and to stop The Holocaust. He energetically continued working toward the establishment of Israel though he did not live to see it, passing away less than one year before Israel gained independence. As per his dying request, his ashes were interred in a special plot at Moshav Avihayil, overlooking the military section of the local cemetery, which holds the remains of numerous Jewish Legion veterans

According to Benjamin Netanyahu, his father named his older brother, Yonatan Netanyahu, after Patterson. Patterson attended Yonatan Netanyahu’s circumcision and gave him a silver cup engraved with the words “To my beloved godson Yonatan from Lt.-Col. John Henry Patterson”.

March 19 2004- George Khoury, 20, a Christian Arab and the son of well-known veteran attorney Elias Khoury of Beit Hanina, was shot to death from a vehicle while jogging in the north Jerusalem neighborhood of French Hill. The Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which claimed responsibility for the attack, later published an apology.

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