Paul Calvert of Focus On Israel-Radio speaks with David Suchet, a well-known English actor and believer. David is visiting Israel and talking to Christians, Muslims and Jews to get their point of view and find out where they stand on the challenging issues.
Listen to the interview in the video above or read the transcribed interview below:
I’m with David Suchet here in Manger square Bethlehem. Now David what are you doing here in the Holy land?
Well we are on a trip really, we started in England on a big series for Audiable, Amazon on David Suchet’s questions of faith and the first one is can there be peace, what we are doing is speaking to the three Abrahamic faiths. We’re talking to the Christians, the Muslims and to Jews and getting their point of view, challenging, finding out where they stand. Here in Bethlehem I have had the privilege of speaking to Imam, Christians and Christian Palestinians to see if I can find out what the tensions are and what is if anything is unifying them because what seems to be in Bethlehem everybody is holding up this city as an example to the world of how Christians and Muslims in this place of Bethlehem really co-exist and get on.
Has it given you a heart and understanding about the Palestinian people ?
I’m learning, I’m learning every day, this is a real journey for me I don’t come here with, A, I’m not a theologian, B I’m an actor and I’m talking to people and learning as I go. The more I learn the more well the more desperate I feel in my heart because although there is a possibility for peace and if everybody is working together but its these great big theological issues, literal translations of the bible, possession of land etc.,etc., which is separating people and yet we all come from the same Abrahamic root, it’s sad.
Now you are here in Bethlehem and Bethlehem is where it all started as the Christian faith, how has it been for you, has it been a spiritual experience just being here in Bethlehem?
Oh its much lovely for me for me this is not my first time, the very first time I came here many many years ago when it was a very different place that was in 1975, But it is a very special place for me as a Christian coming here, you know the Manger square and the Church of the Nativity it really is, I go down into the cave and see the place where Christians believe that Jesus was born and its very moving yeah, yes and its grounding, I think every Christian needs to come to the Holy Land because it is the 5th gospel.
Now you are going to Jerusalem next and speaking to Jewish people, what do you want to hear from them?
I want to hear their point of view, I want to hear their stance, I want to learn where they are coming from, I want to know what supports their beliefs, I want to speak to both liberals who believe it is possible to unite and get together, I want to speak to Zionists, I want to speak to all sorts of people to give me a really good overview of the problem as it is, I want this to relate to all the time to the 3 Abrahamic faiths which should if you listen to Jesus, the belief of what he says should all love one another.
Are you wanting to come across in a very balanced way to understand the Palestinian side and the Israeli side ?
I want to come across as every man in the world who’s walking the streets of ordinary cities outside of the middle east saying “What is going on”.
Now this is a lot different than playing Poirot, do you miss being Poirot?
I do, I miss the old boy, he was a great part of my life for quarter of a century, Yeah I do miss him, I’m told he is on TV every day somewhere in the world of which I am very pleased and grateful for but he was a great part of my life, part of him will be with me forever because you can’t do one roll for 25 years and just put him on the shelf and forget.
Jesus plays a very important part in your life, how did you become a believer?
That’s a very big question which needs a very long answer, basically I had a conversion experience in America in Seattle and then Portland Oregon, that’s where it all began in 1986 where I was metaphorically picked up by the scruff of the neck and my head pushed into the bible and I went straight to not really convinced about Jesus at that time in any way whatsoever because I only did him for examinations you know and GCE and those sort of things, I opened Paul’s letter to the Romans and by the time I had finished that I was sufficiently moved and motivated to find out a lot more and that was the first step.
Now there is a lot of conflict here in the middle east, what is your prayer finally for the Middle East?
My prayer is the prayer of St Francis “But for all the world may Christians, make me an instrument of thy peace where there is conflict let there be hope where there is hatred let there be Love etc. etc., that wonderful prayer. My Prayer is for the 3 Abrahamic faiths to come together in love and peace.”