Israel is the only place in the Middle East where the Christian population is growing.
Christians are being ethnically cleansed throughout the Middle East, including areas under Palestinian Authority and Hamas control.
A report last spring commissioned by then British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt found:
Pervasive persecution of Christians, sometimes amounting to genocide, is ongoing in parts of the Middle East, and has prompted an exodus in the past two decades, according to a report commissioned by the British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
Millions of Christians in the region have been uprooted from their homes, and many have been killed, kidnapped, imprisoned and discriminated against, the report finds. It also highlights discrimination across south-east Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and in east Asia – often driven by state authoritarianism.
“The inconvenient truth,” the report finds, is “that the overwhelming majority (80%) of persecuted religious believers are Christians”.
The exception is in Israel, where the Christian population is growing:
The Christian population of Israel currently stands at approximately 177,000 citizens, or 2% of the overall population, according to data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) ahead of Christmas.
Last year, the population grew by 1.5%, compared to 2.2% in 2017. Over three-quarters (77.5%) of Christians living in Israel are Arabs, the CBS said, representing 7.2% of all Israeli-Arab citizens. The majority of non-Arab Christians living in Israel are citizens who immigrated to Israel since 1990, together with Jewish family members under the Law of Return.
Some 70.6% of Arab-Christians live in northern Israel today, while 13.3% reside in the coastal city of Haifa and 9.5% live in Jerusalem. The nation’s most populous Christian cities are Nazareth (21,900 inhabitants), Haifa (16,100), Jerusalem (12,700) and the Galilee city of Shfaram (10,300)….
The average fertility rate among Christians in 2018 was 2.06 children per woman, below the average rate for Muslim women (3.2), Jewish women (3.17) and Druze women (2.16).
Christians are excelling in the Israeli educational system, including higher ed:
The Christian population in Israel is slowly growing, and their educational achievements are rivaling those of the majority Jewish population, according to figures released this week by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.
The data revealed that 70.9 percent of Christian high school students in Israel achieve college-entry matriculation grades, which is slightly higher than the figure among Israeli Jews (70.6 percent). Among Israel’s Druze the figure is 63.7 percent, according to the report, while among the Muslim population it is 45.2 percent. Three out of four Christian students who achieve a masters degree, or 74 percent, are women, as are 63 percent of Christian doctoral students.
By contrast, Christians are being driven out of Palestinian-controlled areas:
Contrast these [Israeli] data with the figures in a report published by then-British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt in July. The report found that the number of Christians in the Middle East has dwindled from 20% of the population a century ago to just 5% – most notably in the Palestinian territories, where they have dropped to below 1.5%.
“We’ve all been asleep on the watch when it comes to the persecution of Christians,” Hunt said.
The organization Open Doors put “the Palestinian Territories” in 49th place – out of 50 – on its World Watch List, an annual report on the global persecution of Christians. The report cited “Islamic oppression” as the main source of persecution, adding that “Islamic extremist militants are also present in the West Bank, causing Christians to fear being attacked,” and that the persecution is particularly brutal for converts to Christianity.
While anti-Israel activists try to blame Israel for Christians leaving Palestinian-controlled areas, that’s nonsensical and inaccurate. The driving forces are Islamism. I wrote in 2015 about this tactic of Falsely blaming Israel for Christianity’s collapse in Gaza and West Bank.
As StandWithUs tweeted:
This week in 1995, Bethlehem became the 6th city on the West Bank to come under Palestinian rule in accordance with the Oslo accords. Since then, the Christian population has dropped by 64%. Israel is the only place in the Middle East where the Christian population is growing.
Which brings me back to a post I wrote in 2016, “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people” (quoting Bernard Lewis, emphasis added):
In the period immediately preceding the outbreak of the Six-Day War in 1967, an ominous phrase was sometimes heard, “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.” The Saturday people have proved unexpectedly recalcitrant, and recent events in Lebanon indicate that the priorities may have been reversed. Fundamentally, the same issue arises in both Palestine and Lebanon, though the circumstances that complicate the two situations are very different. The basic question is this: Is a resurgent Islam prepared to tolerate a non-Islamic enclave, whether Jewish in Israel or Christian in Lebanon, in the heart of the Islamic world? The current fascination among Muslims with the history of the Crusades, the vast literature on the subject, both academic and popular, and the repeated inferences drawn from the final extinction of the Crusading principalities throw some light on attitudes in this matter. Islam from its inception is a religion of power, and in the Muslim world view it is right and proper that power should be wielded by Muslims and Muslims alone. Others may receive the tolerance, even the benevolence, of the Muslim state, provided that they clearly recognize Muslim supremacy. That Muslims should rule over non-Muslims is right and normal.9 That non-Muslims should rule over Muslims is an offense against the laws of God and nature, and this is true whether in Kashmir, Palestine, Lebanon, or Cyprus. Here again, it must be recalled that Islam is not conceived as a religion in the limited Western sense but as a community, a loyalty, and a way of life—and that the Islamic community is still recovering from the traumatic era when Muslim governments and empires were overthrown and Muslim peoples forcibly subjected to alien, infidel rule. Both the Saturday people and the Sunday people are now suffering the consequences.
In the modern Middle East, Israel is the only place where both the Saturday people and the Sunday people are thriving.
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