Monday, November 26, 2018
The community of Christians in Israel, Gaza and West Bank is diminishing. European church should pay more attention. ECPM members hosted a much-needed seminar in the European Parliament.
The seminar was initiated by Bas Belder MEP, co-hosted by Branislav Škripek, Marek Jurek and Arne Gericke, MEPs.
The Research analysis: “Christians in the Holy Land" was presented by Nashat Filmon, the director of the Palestinian Bible Society and Esther Grisnich, ECR policy advisor. The aims was to investigate the Christian Palestinian population's life circumstances in terms of vulnerability and marginalization in the West Bank and Gaza as well as the situation of Palestinian- Israelis in parts of Israel.
The findings on economic status are alarming: “Despite a relative high level of education within the Christian population, the level of unemployment, especially among the youth remains high. Discrimination at the job market, mainly because of religious motives, and a lack of job perspectives in the small villages are reasons for poor future perspectives.”
Demographics and immigration in numbers: “Around 40.000 Christians are living in the West Bank, 1.4% of the total population. In Gaza there are only between 700 and 900 Christians left. With a low birth rate and immigration of around 900 Christians a year, the population is rapidly declining. 42% of the population has ever considered emigration. 84% of the youth are having serious intentions, mainly because of the economic situation, lack of job perspectives, and the political situation.”
MEPs together with guest speakers identified education, social cohesion and freedom of religion among the greatest challenges of the Christians in Israel, Gaza and West Bank.
ECPM's long-term stand for the state of Israel must go hand in hand with advocating and promoting of Christian community in this region.