Christians in the Holy Land Extended Excerpts

Watch more of Kim Lawton’s interviews about the plight of Christians in the Holy Land and faith-based efforts to support them with sociologist Bernard Sabella, professor at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem; David Parsons, media director at the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem; Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols; and Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.


  • Alan Hoffman

    Historically, on the eve of World War I, the Christian population was about 70,000 – 10% of the population. Over the 20th century, while absolute numbers increased, the relative number of Christians declined. By 1947, on the eve of Israeli independence, the Christian population in Mandatory Palestine was 143,000 – 7% of the total population. 34,000 Christians remained within the borders of the State of Israel, less than 3% of the population. Today, within the borders of what was “Mandatory Palestine” — the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority — there is a total of 180,000 Christians, just over 2% of the total population.


    While the percentage of Christians relative to the growth of Jewish and Muslim populations is lower, the overall number of Christians have more than doubled since WW1 – a relative, not absolute, decline. Since Jews, Muslims and Christians live in the same area affected by the same local conditions, one has to wonder why Christians are not growing faster (rather than declining). Christians in Israel are growing, Christians in PA controlled areas are declining. Christians are protected by law in Israel, and can seek justice in the courts if need be. Israel’s economy is booming, while the Muslim areas are not. Standard of living is higher in Israel than in the PA controlled areas.

    By contrast, Jews in the USA are not increasing as fast as non-Jewish Americans, with BOTH relative and absolute numbers declining.. But that has nothing to do with living in the same local conditions. That is by its own group behavior. That is also independent of group prosperity. Why would it be different elsewhere?