Who are the Christian communities in the Holyland?

An announcement from the Israeli army caught my eye.

The Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, and the Head of the Civil Administration in Judea, Brig. Gen. Yoav (Poly) Mordechai, met today (22.12.09) with Christian leaders, including ……the head of the Franciscan monastery, the Custodian of the Holy Lands, the Ambassador of the Vatican, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, the Armenian Patriarch, and the Latin Patriarch to ……….

And that does include Prostestants and others. Can you imagine the logistical and security nightmare, ensuring that every group gets to its fair share of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem? And all in 12 days.

Israel is considered the one country in the Middle East, where the numbers of Christians is rising. About 5% of the total population, the largest single group belongs to the Eastern Orthodox churches. But not all have had an easy year.

Start with those Protestants who live in the southern Negev desert. The largest group are the Black Hebrews, originating from America. Over the past few years, they have endured thousands of rocket bombings from Hamas. “Only” 200 were launched in 2009, a decrease of over 90%. My teenage son was talking to the community last week, and they felt that things were returning to normal.

Life in Gaza for the 3,000 Christians has rarely been easy since Israel departed 4 years ago, and especially more so with the onset of Hamas rule. As opposed to the past, it is hoped that this year, over 300 pilgrims will be permitted by the Islamic authorities to journey to Bethlehem.

In the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority has been more accommodating, although life is not without periods of harassment.

In an effort to promote further harmony, President Peres has sent a message to Christian communities throughout the area. It is now 25 years, when Peres became the first acting Prime Minister to take part in the ceremonies in Bethlehem.

Next year? Who knows. But Israel must be doing something right if Christians find security there coupled with the basic freedom of worship. Here is a seasonal message for others in the Middle East to read and learn from.

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2 Comments on “Who are the Christian communities in the Holyland?”


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by michaelhoresh, stylelistroom. stylelistroom said: RT @michaelhoresh: Christian communities in Holyland at Xmas. https://michaelhoresh.wordpress.com/2009/12/24/who-are-the-christian-commun … […]


  2. […] more from the example source: Who are the faith communities in the Holyland? « Afternoon Tea … Share and […]


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