Christians in Israel Essays

2877 Words Sep 24th, 2013 12 Pages
Christians in Israel
Israel is one of the most unique countries in the world because of its demographic makeup, especially in looking at the country from the perspective of an American. This is because it is the only country that is made up of a primarily Jewish population. In Israel, it is the Christians who are the minority. It is specifically these minority Christians that I am investigating in this paper. I will primarily answer the question, “Who are these Christians living in Israel?” I will examine this by looking into what specific denominations these Christians represent, what historical backgrounds they have living in the country of Israel, and how their culture meshes with that of Israel as a whole.
Making up only about 2
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What does immediately stand out about these Christians, though, is that for the most part they are by and large constituted by Palestinian Arabs. While there are some variances in the make-up of the clergy of these different denominations, the laity is comprised almost entirely of these Palestinian Arabs. In assessing the place of who these Christians in Israel are, this feature must not be overlooked. These are generally not Jewish converts or even western transplants; they are
3 Jewish Virtual Library, “The Christian Communities of Israel”
4 McGahern, Una, Palestinian Christians in Israel: State Attitudes towards Non-Muslims in a Jewish State, p. 42

Arabs.5 The importance of this is highlighted anecdotally through conversations with some of these Palestinian Arab Christians in Donna Rosenthal’s Chapter on Christians living in Israel. Because the vast majority of Palestinians are Muslim, the Christians are a minority even within their own minority status as Palestinians in the Israeli state. She gives one example of a Palestinian Christian woman living in Jerusalem. Her father, a shop owner in the Christian quarter, was pressured by more nationalistic Palestinian Muslims to prove his loyalty as a Palestinian. When told to strike, he would close his shop. He was often forced to pay ‘intifada taxes,’ which the woman describes as “protection money to

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