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.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Times of Israel

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

 

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia