Christian Population in Palestinian Authority-Controlled Areas Dwindles as Christianity Thrives in Israel
A Christian leader from Bethlehem: “They are pushing us out. You live among a people who doesn’t want you.”
While Christians thrive socially and demographically in the State of Israel, their population experiences a sharp decline in the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories, newly-published statistics and reports show.
Christians in the biblical city of Bethlehem, under the control of the Palestinian Authority, are being forced to leave their ancestorial home amid threats and intimidation from Palestinians, The Times of London reported Friday. Once an overwhelmingly Christian city, Bethlehem’s Christians today make up for only 20 percent of the overall population, the UK daily noted.
From The Times of London:
More than two billion Christians around the world will remember Bethlehem in their prayers and carols this Christmas but in the modern West Bank city the centuries-old Christian population is dwindling and afraid. (…)
The city’s Christian population has dropped from 84 per cent of the total a century ago to about 20 per cent today, and is falling further in the face of discrimination and threats from elements of the Muslim majority.
“There is a campaign to buy Christian homes and businesses and on Friday you will hear the sheikh on the loudspeakers from the mosques speaking against Jews and Christians…it’s hatred you hear in their prayers,” one Christian leader told The Times. “They are pushing us out. You live among a people who doesn’t want you. Christians are afraid and if they have the chance to leave, they do.”
Khalil Sayegh, a senior research fellow at the Philos Project, a Christian advocacy group which conducted a recent poll of 1,000 Palestinian Christians, said the survey “reveals a very high degree of concerns over sectarian discrimination targeting Christians by their Palestinian Muslim neighbors.”
The picture is just as dismal across the Palestinian Authority-held territories of the West Bank and Gaza.
In the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank, the Muslim population has exploded, while the Christian presence is on the verge of disappearing. “When the Ottoman era ended in 1922, Christians were 11 percent of the population of Palestine—about 70,000 people. According to the 2017 census by the Palestinian Authority (PA), they now number 47,000—barely 1 percent,” the U.S. magazine Christianity Today noted in its August 2020 issue.
In Gaza, where the Islamic terrorist group Hamas calls the shots, the Christian population has dropped by over 75 percent, from 4,200 in 2007 to an estimated 1,000 in 2022. Gaza’s shrinking Christian population faces relentless jihadist incitement, threats, and deadly attacks.
Gaza-based Palestinian Jihadists not only dream of destroying Israel but of conquering the globe and purging the world of Christianity.
Days ahead of Christmas, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar declared on an Arabic TV channel that after the “Battle of the Promise of the Hereafter,” a reference to the jihad for global dominance, the “planet earth will come under [a system], where there is … no Zionism, no treacherous Christianity.”
View the MEMRI video here:
Christianity Thrives in the Jewish State
Meanwhile, Israel’s Christian community grew by 2 percent last year and numbers around 182,000, the data released by the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) showed.
According to the latest figures, Christians now make up nearly 2 percent of Israel’s overall population of 9,6 million.
The Israeli TV channel i24News reported Sunday:
According to the data, as of Christmas Eve, Christians comprise less than 2 percent of the Israeli population. Of those 182,000 Christians, 75.8 percent were Arab Christians – who constitute 6.9 percent of the total Arab population of Israel.
The vast majority (70.2 percent) of Arab Christians reside in the Northern District or the Haifa District (13.6 percent). Additionally, 39 percent of the non-Arab Christians live in the Tel Aviv and Central Districts, compared to 36.3 percent in the Northern and Haifa Districts.
Nazareth – known as “the Arab capital of Israel” – has the largest Arab Christian population, at 21,100 people. However, only 30.9 percent of its predominantly Arab population is Christian. The other localities with large Arab Christian populations are Haifa (16,700), Jerusalem (12,900), and the northern city of Shefa-Amr (10,500), which has a Sunni Muslim majority. (…)
In 2021, 2,434 babies were born to Christian women, about 72 percent of whom (1,749 infants) were delivered to Arab Christian women. Interestingly, the average size of a household headed by a Christian was 3.06 people – similar to a Jewish person’s household size. However, this was found to be lower than the size of households headed by a Muslim person (4.46).
When it comes to higher education, the Christian women are the gest performing female demographic group in Israel, a report released by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics in 2020 shows. “The proportion of women among the Christian students was higher than the women’s proportion among the total number of students in all degrees and particularly in advanced degrees: 64.1% and 53.2%, respectively, of those studying for a PhD, and 72.9% and 63.8%, respectively, of those studying for a master’s degree,” the report revealed.
The Christian demographic growth is higher than that of the Jewish population and slightly lower than the growth rate among Muslims in Israel. “In 2021, the growth rate of the Christian population was 2%. For comparison, the growth rate of the Jewish population was 1.6%, and of the Muslim population – 2.2%,” The Jerusalem Post reported citing the CBS data.DONATE
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