Just the Facts: Christian Emigration from the Holy Land
Understanding Christian Emigration from the Holy Land: Just the Facts…
- Christians were 80 percent of the population in and around Bethlehem when Israel was founded.
- Christians make up just 12 percent of that population today.
- There are between 200,000 and 300,000 Christians in Israel and Palestine.
- About half of Christians in the Holy Land are Greek Orthodox.
- In Latin America, Christian Palestinians make up approximately 85 percent of all Palestinian immigrants.
- 20 to 25% of Christians in Palestine feel discrimination when searching for jobs or when seeking government services.
- Surveys show that the desire to emigrate is much higher among Palestinian Christians than Palestinian Muslims.
- Because of the Nakba, Christians in the Holy Land dropped from 8% to 2.3% of the population.
- 32.6% of Christians cite lack of freedom and security as a reason they emigrate.
- 26.4% cite the worsening economy as the reason for their emigration.
- Christians in other Middle Eastern countries, such as Syria and Egypt, have also faced problems and persecution that are leading to emigration.
Just the Facts comes from
- Palestinian Christians: Emigration, Displacement and Diaspora by Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb. You can also read his “Palestinian Christians in Modern History: Between Migration and Displacement.” (And watch his Christmas greeting for CMEP.)
- “Why Christians Are Fleeing the Holy Lands” by Klaus Wivel for Forward.
- “Migration of Palestinian Christians: Drivers and Means of Combating it” from Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR).
- “Holy Land Christians feel abandoned by U.S. evangelicals” from NBC News.
You might want to start with the short PDF book Faith Under Occupation: The Plight of Indigenous Christians in the Holy Land from EAPPI.
Then there are:
- “’The last generation’: How occupation is driving Christians out of Palestine” by Peter Oborne for Middle East Eye.
- “Forbidden Pilgrimage” by Ahmad Damen on Palestine Remix from Al Jazeera.
“5 facts about Israeli Christians” by Becka A. Alper for Pew Research Center.
- And the short video, “Are there still Christians in Palestine?” from AJ+.
To learn more about the Christian community in Palestine and how it relates to its neighbors you can read two recent issues of Sabeel’s Cornerstone:Cornerstone #79 on interfaith and interreligious dialogue. Cornerstone #80 on “Living in Community.”