Tag Archives: West Bank

this day in the yesteryear: Six-Day War Begins (1967)


Six-Day War Begins (1967)

After a period of relative calm, border incidents between Israel and Syria, Egypt, and Jordan increased during the early 1960s. Palestinian guerrilla attacks on Israel from bases in Syria led to increased hostility between the two countries. After Egypt signed a defense treaty with Jordan, Israel launched a preemptive air strike against the three Arab states, capturing the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, Old City of Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. How many were killed in the fighting? More… Discuss

BBC News – The Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem reflects on 2014: Must see video! IS the least we can do for our Christian Brothers and sisters in Syria, Gaza and elsewhere: Find out what is going on, from the source of their pain!


The Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem reflects on 2014

21 December 2014 Last updated at 00:44 GMT

In recent months, Church leaders have expressed concern about the departure of a rising number of Christians from the Middle East.

The civil war in Syria and the advance of so-called Islamic State militants in Iraq have led to appeals for greater support for some of the world’s oldest Christian communities.

In the holy land, the continuing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has also shown increasing signs of turning into a religious dispute, with a row over holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, is head of a diocese that covers much of the troubled region. As he prepares to celebrate Christmas this week he gave BBC News his reflections.

via BBC News – The Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem reflects on 2014.

Palestinian Christians


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Palestinian Christians are Palestinians who belong to one of a number of Christian denominations in Israel and the Palestinian territories, including Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglican, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholic (Eastern and Western rites), Protestant, and others. In both the local dialect of Palestinian Arabic and in classical or modern standard Arabic, Christians are called Nasrani (a derivative of the Arabic word for Nazareth, al-Nasira) or Masihi (a derivative of Arabic word Masih, meaning “Messiah“).[1] In Hebrew, they are called Notzri (also spelt Notsri), which means “Nazarene”.

Today, Christians comprise less than 4% of the Palestinian population of Israel and the Palestinian territories – approximately 8% of the Arab population of the West Bank, less than 1% in the Gaza Strip, and nearly 10% of the Arab population in Israel.[2] According to official British Mandatory estimates, Palestine’s Christian population in 1922 comprised 9.5% of the total population (10.8% of the Palestinian population), and 7.9% in 1946.[3] The Palestinian Christian population greatly decreased from 1948 to 1967. A large number fled or were expelled from the area during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and a small number left during Jordanian control of the West Bank for economic reasons. Since 1967, the Palestinian Christian population has increased in excess of the continued emigration.[4]

Worldwide, there are nearly one million Palestinian Christians in these territories as well as in the Palestinian diaspora, comprising over 10% of the world’s total Palestinian population. Palestinian Christians live primarily in Arab states surrounding historic Palestine and in the diaspora, particularly in South America, Europe and North America.

Demographics and denominations

In 2009, there were an estimated 50,000 Christians in the Palestinian territories, mostly in the West Bank, with about 3,000 in the Gaza Strip.[5] Of the total Christian population of 154,000 in Israel, about 80% are Arabs, many of whom also self-identify as Palestinian.[5] The majority (56%) of Palestinian Christians live in the Palestinian diaspora.[6]

According to the CIA World Factbook, as of 2013, the population statistics on Palestinian and related Arab-Israeli Christians are as follows:[7][8][9]

Population group Christian population  % Christian
West Bank* 214,000 8
Gaza Strip 12,000 0.7
Arab Christians in Israel** 123,000 10
Non-Arab Christians in Israel 29,000 0.4
Total Arab Christians 349,000 6.0
Total Christians (including non-Arabs) 378,000 3.0
* The figure includes Samaritans and other unspecified minorities.[dubious ]**Arab Christians in Israel do not necessarily identify as Palestinian.

Around 50% of Palestinian Christians belong to the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, one of the 16 churches of Eastern Orthodoxy. This community has also been known as the Arab Orthodox Christians. There are also Maronites, Melkite-Eastern Catholics, Jacobites, Chaldeans, Roman Catholics (locally known as Latins), Syriac Catholics, Orthodox Copts, Catholic Copts, Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholic, Quakers (Friends Society), Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans (Episcopal), Lutherans, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Nazarene, Assemblies of God, Baptists and other Protestants; in addition to small groups of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and others.

The Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theófilos III, is the leader of the Palestinian and Jordanian Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, but Israel has refused to recognize his appointment.[10] If confirmed, he would replace Patriarch Irenaios (in office from 2001), whose status within the church became disputed after a term surrounded by controversy and scandal given that he sold Palestinian property to Israeli Orthodox Jews.[11] Archbishop Theodosios (Hanna) of Sebastia is the highest ranking Palestinian clergyman in the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, is the leader of the Roman Catholics in Jerusalem, Palestine, Jordan, Israel and Cyprus. The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem is Suheil Dawani,[12] who replaced Bishop Riah Abou Al Assal. Elias Chacour, a Palestinian refugee, of the Melkite Eastern Catholic Church is Archbishop of Haifa, Acre and the Galilee. Bishop Dr. Munib Younan is the president of the Lutheran World Federation and the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL).

this pressed: Flash – Egypt slams Israel plan to seize Palestinian land – France 24


The Israeli West Bank settlement of Efrat on September 1, 2014The Israeli West Bank settlement of Efrat on September 1, 2014

The Israeli West Bank settlement of Efrat on September 1, 2014The Israeli West Bank settlement of Efrat on September 1, 2014

Flash – Egypt slams Israel plan to seize Palestinian land – France 24.

Flash – Israel plan to seize West Bank land ‘alarms’ UN’s Ban – France 24


Flash – Israel plan to seize West Bank land ‘alarms’ UN’s Ban – France 24.

The Dead Sea


The Dead Sea

The lowest body of water on the surface of the Earth, the Dead Sea is a landlocked salt lake bordered by Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan. One of the saltiest water bodies in the world, the Dead Sea hosts few life forms. The high salinity makes bathing here a unique experience, as one cannot help but float in its waters. It is also common practice when visiting the Dead Sea to coat one’s body with its mineral-rich mud. What health issues do some people believe the Dead Sea and its mud can cure? More… Discuss

Tale of two Easters: Holy Land Catholics, Orthodox to celebrate as one


Tale of two Easters: Holy Land Catholics, Orthodox to celebrate as one


Christian pilgrims carry palm branches during the traditional Palm Sunday procession last year on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. (CNS/Debbie Hill)

By Judith Sudilovsky
Catholic News Service

JERUSALEM (CNS) — Ghassan Rafidi, 53, remembers enjoying celebrating Easter twice as a child in his village of Jifna. 

“We had two times to celebrate and two vacations. My father’s family gave us gifts on the Greek Orthodox date, and my mother’s family on the Catholic,” said Rafidi, the son of a Catholic mother and a Greek Orthodox father. 

But today the Christian community has shrunk, and it is important that the celebrations be united, he said. Employers honor vacation on only one of the celebrations, putting pressure on families to decide which to celebrate, he said. 

“The Muslims always ask us how many Jesuses do we have,” he said. 

There are many families like Rafidi’s, both in Israel and the Palestinian territories, with members belonging to the Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Protestant churches.

For the past 15 years, Catholic parishes throughout the Palestinian territories and many in Israel have been celebrating Easter on the Greek Orthodox date. Now, following a directive from the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, within two years all Eastern Catholics and the Latin Patriarchate in the Holy Land will officially adopt the Greek Orthodox Julian calendar date.

The Latin Patriarchate calls the move a “decisive step toward ecumenism.” The official directive will take place after completion of the decree and approval by the Vatican.

“The main reason for the unification of the Easter celebration is for members of the same family, village and parish to be able to have one celebration, and one calendar, and to show the unity and enjoy the unity. We want to give a good example of unity to our non-Christian neighbors,” said the Latin Patriarchate chancellor, Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali.

The Latin-rite diocese of the Holy Land includes Israel, the Palestinian territories and Cyprus. Parishes in Jerusalem and the Bethlehem, West Bank, area will be exempt this year because of the Status Quo, the 1852 agreement that preserved the division of ownership and responsibilities of various Christian holy sites. The parish in Tel Aviv has also received an exemption for this year since there are many foreign workers who are members of the parish.

The Greek Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar and did not adopt the Gregorian calendar, which was implemented by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 to correct a miscalculation in the rotation of the earth. 

Next year, Easter falls on the same day according to both calendars, so the change by decree will only be adopted in 2015.

The spirit of the holiday is lost if it is celebrated on separate dates, said Father Raed Abusahlia of Holy Family Parish in Ramallah, West Bank. Easter in the Eastern church is all of Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday, and includes special prayers during the week, he said.

“The liturgy is very beautiful if done together as a family. It can’t be spiritual if it is only part of the family,” he said. During the week following Easter there are traditional holiday family visits as well, he added.

Father Ilario Antoniazzi of St. Anthony Parish in Rameh, Israel, has been celebrating Easter with the Greek Orthodox for 15 years; he said the date is not important. 

“The most important thing is to be together on the feast, to give a good example of our love and to show that we are united in our love,” he said.

In the northern Israeli port city of Haifa, the change did not come easily for some parishioners, said Father Agapios Abu Saada of St. Elijah Melkite Catholic Cathedral, who has been pivotal in pushing for unifying the celebration.

“My experience in seeking solidarity … was not a smooth one,” he said. “The decision was not unified even within the same congregation.” 

He said those initially opposed to the idea were swayed by the joint religious processions during Holy Week.

“Unifying the feast is a vivid Christian testimony in a multicultural and multireligious society,” he said. “Christians in the Holy Land are a minority that keeps dividing itself to inner minorities within the minority, creating diverse subcommunities … which deteriorate the goal of Christians as one unrestricted community living in a multicultural and multireligious society.”

Father Abusahlia said some of his parishioners are “a little bit disturbed” because the Greek Orthodox Easter comes so late this year: May 5. 

“In the past years, we celebrated it together or with a difference of one week, so they didn’t feel it. Now it is very late, with a difference of 35 days. But we will celebrate together, it is good and important,” said he said.

The change also involves celebrating Lent and the period between Easter and Pentecost, said Bishop Shomali.

“Christmas is just Christmas and Epiphany, but when we unify the calendar (on Easter) we are unifying 90 days of the year. It is important,” he said.

He said he would be happy to see the unified celebration adopted universally by all Christians.

“The solution is to fix one Sunday in April as the date,” he said.

Bishop Shomali said although the Catholics did not ask the Greek Orthodox Church to celebrate Christmas according to the Gregorian calendar, he expects they will do so to unite Christians for that feast.

END

Enhanced by Zemanta