Israeli Christians Are Growing in Number, and Are One of the Nation’s Most-Educated Demographic Groups

Dec. 23 2021

On Tuesday, a number of Christian leaders in Israel published a statement complaining about the situation of their flocks, asserting that “radical local groups with extremist ideologies” have made their lives “unbearable”—a message amplified by the archbishop of Canterbury. The truth is very different, the Times of Israel reports:

Israel’s Christian community grew by 1.4 percent in 2020 and numbers some 182,000 people, with 84 percent saying they were satisfied with life in the country, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said in a report released ahead of Christmas.

According to the CBS, Christians make up about 1.9 of Israel’s population. Christians make up 7 percent of Israel’s Arab population, and 76.7 percent of Christians in Israel are Arab. . . . The statistics revealed that Arab Christian women had some of the highest education rates in the country. It showed that 53.1 percent of Arab Christians and 35.4 percent of non-Arab Christians went on to get a bachelor’s degree after finishing high school, compared to 34 percent of the total number of high-school graduates in the Arab school system and 47.2 percent of all high-school graduates in Hebrew education.

The report also found lower numbers of Christians signing up for unemployment benefits compared to the Jewish and Muslim populations. The findings present a contrast to recent statements by Christian leaders.

There is an easy explanation for the discrepancy between these leaders’ public comments and the survey results: given their precarious position in Muslim-majority Arab society, Middle Eastern Christian must make an extra effort to prove their anti-Zionist bona fides. It is of course in Palestinian-controlled parts of Israel, Gaza especially, where they have faired the worst.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israeli Arabs, Israeli society, Middle East Christianity

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada