Middle East Christians In Decline (Numbers by Country)


Christian pop. under 300,000

Christian pop. 1,600,000

Christian pop. 147,000 . . .



Thanks Islam!


This is not surprising. Islamists are persecuting them severely. :frowning:


I think the “Israel” part is misleading. The Christian population of Israel was 34,000 in 1949. It’s about 150,000 now. It is dropping as a percentage of the total because the Christian birth rate is lower than that of the Muslims and Jews in Israel. And, of course, there has been a major influx of foreign Jews since 1949.


The dropping in Iraq is the result of the US invasion, the dropping in Lebanon is the result of lower birth rates, the Nakba, emigration due to the civil war (induced by a combination of the Cold War and the Nakba).

However the massive exodus of Palestinians Christians is Israel’s fault.


Saddam Hussein was responsible for a million deaths. So, would you put him back in power if you could?

The exodus of Christians from the West Bank and Gaza is hardly Israel’s fault. They’re not fleeing Israelis. They’re fleeing Islamism and the gangs that rule the Palestinian world.


Put him back in charge? No
Wish the invasion never happened? Yes
That’s the opinion of many Iraqis.

Every Christian Palestinian I’ve ever met has cited the occupation making life unlivable.


If the invasion had never happened, then Saddam Hussein would be in power still. So the wish for one is the wish for the other. And frankly, if many Iraqis now wish it had not happened, it is because we abandoned them to the endless war between Sunnis and Iran, not because Saddam Hussein was removed from power.

Unliveable? Inconvenient, perhaps, because of the security barriers and the difficulty in transiting to Israel for jobs. Ever hear of Zafer Al-Masri? He was the mayor of Nablus. He arranged a deal for the free and unimpeded passage of Arabs into Israel from Nablus for work. He was, of course, assassinated by Black September for daring to do such a thing.

Since then, of course, Nablus, which was formerly majority Christian is now no longer so.
And not because of Israel, either. Because the gangs in the West Bank make life difficult or deadly for Christians.

But it’s not so difficult for Palestinians who are Muslim. Like this fellow, for instance. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munib_al-Masri. Check him out. Read, especially the part about how he worked with an Israeli to bring supermarkets to the West Bank in a joint Palestinian/Israeli enterprise. Of course, he was blocked from doing it by Palestinians who are more interested in making their people martyrs than in making their lives better.

Oh, and do you know where Fatah has invested the stolen money it got back from Arafat’s wife after Arafat’s death? Not in the West Bank, I can assure you.


Regarding Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s “Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians” (op-ed, March 9): No doubt, his piece will be compelling for many readers. Christians in North America are generally sympathetic to Christians who suffer elsewhere. More negatively, many respond well when blame for that suffering is placed on Muslims. The biggest problem with Mr. Oren’s analysis, however, is that it stands in sharp disagreement with the perspectives shared by those he presumably wants to protect. Mr. Oren seeks to speak for Palestinian Christians before he has spoken with them.

Palestinian Christians have produced major studies of Palestinian Christian demographic trends. Difficulties created by Israeli occupation policies far outweigh pressure from Muslim neighbors as reasons for Christian migration from the West Bank. According to a study by the Bethlehem-based Diyar Consortium, “most of those who choose to emigrate” are “aggravated by the lack of freedom and security.” At “the bottom of the scale,” they found, “are family reunification, fleeing religious extremism and finding a spouse.”

It is irresponsible for Amb. Oren to make political points among some segments of the U.S. population by intentionally disregarding factors contributing to Palestinian Christian migration away from their homeland. By blaming their condition on Muslims alone, while ignoring the negative effects of Israeli occupation policies, including the debilitating economic effects of the separation barrier, Mr. Oren is using anti-Muslim sentiments among some Americans to hide the effects of Israeli policy. This cynical political rhetoric fuels extremism and does not promote peace.

The Rev. Robert O. Smith


I am a Palestinian Christian, and the numbers and facts given by Mr. Oren are erroneous and misleading. With the creation of the state of Israel, 80% of Palestinian Christians were forced into exile. The number of Christians in Jerusalem dropped dramatically since the occupation of the city in 1967, and Palestinian Christians are denied access to Jerusalem. To pretend that their numbers greatly increased contradicts all statistics, including Israeli statistics. Allowing “holiday access to Jerusalem’s churches to Christians from both the West Bank and Gaza” is denying free access, and those permits are given selectively, in small numbers and revoked often with the “closure” of the occupied territories. Pretending to defend the interests of the Christians contradicts facts on the ground, where Christians suffer the same consequences of military occupation as all Palestinians. Most of the land belonging to Christians in Bethlehem is being confiscated with the building of the separation wall. Is that the “respect and appreciation” the Christian community receives from the Jewish state?

Fr. Jamal Khader, D.D.

Dean of the Faculty of Arts

Bethlehem University


I am one of those Palestinian Christians that Mr. Oren refers to, who live inside Israel. At no time in my life have I ever felt the “respect and appreciation” by the Jewish state which Mr. Oren so glowingly refers to in his last paragraph. Israel’s Christian minority is marginalized in much the same manner as its Muslim one, or at best, quietly tolerated. We suffer the same discrimination when we try to find a job, when we go to hospitals, when we apply for bank loans and when we get on the bus. In my daily dealings with the state, all I have felt is rudeness and overt contempt.

Fida Jiryis

Fassuta, Israel

Amb. Michael Oren presents a distorted and inaccurate account of Christians in Palestine. He conveniently omits gross Israeli violations against the Palestinian Christian community, such as Israel’s revocation of residency rights to many whose birthplace was Jerusalem, or the fact that it restricts their right to worship in their holy sites by imposing an onerous permit system to access the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem or the baptism site on the River Jordan. Even family visitations between Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem are heavily restricted.

It doesn’t stop at that. Recently there has been a spate of attacks by Jewish extremists vandalizing Christian properties and spray-painting slogans denouncing Jesus and Mary and attacking Christianity.

Finally, Palestinian Christians are a vibrant component of Palestine’s social, cultural and religious fabric. Many of our most prominent figures in politics, academia and the arts are Christian. This is the case precisely because of a long history and deeply rooted culture of tolerance and integration in Palestine.

Wall Street Journal

Then there is the joys of “price tag” attacks.


This is an interesting pro-Palestinian piece, but it is simply wrong to say the Christian population in Israel has decreased when it has, in fact, gone from 34,000 in 1949 to 150,000 today. There are Christians in the Israeli government. How many are there in the governments of the Arab states?

And it ignores the fact that Christians have been leaving all the Muslim states in large numbers; states over which Israel has no control whatever.


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