Due primarily to religious persecution, the Christian population in the Palestinian Territories has dropped dramatically.
For instance, the persecution of Christians in Bethlehem has caused the population to slump to 7,500 from 20,000 in 1995, the year the IDF left the city. (Since Israel’s withdrawal Bethlehem and its surroundings also became hotbeds for Hamas and Islamic Jihad supporters and members.)
Today, Christians make up just 1% of the mainly Muslim population of the Palestinian territories, down from around 10% in 1948.
Inversely, the Christian population in Israel proper has risen from 34,000 in 1948 to over 150,000 today.
That the only growing Christian population in the entire Middle East exists in the sole country in which Islam does not prevail is essential to understanding the fate of Christianity in that part of the world – context about the contrasting religious freedom, tolerance and democratic values in the only Jewish state the Guardian will never report. (CiF Watch)