In the crossfire: Without perspective in the midst of nationalist-religious violence - International Reports
Christians and their institutions shape the social and economic life in the Palestinian territories. In total, there are 296 Church-affiliated agencies, most of them in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, which are particularly active in health and education. About 1.9 million Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip benefit from the provision of such facilities every year - regardless of religious affiliation, social status or political beliefs. But these institutions and their work are endagered because many Christians leave the Holy Land. The proportion of the Christian population in Jerusalem has fallen from over 20 percent a hundred years ago to less than two percent today; in Bethlehem the proportion of Christians has fallen from an estimated 86 percent in 1948 to 35 percent in 1967 and only 12 percent today. In the occupied Palestinian Territories, the Christian population of around 47,000 people is only around one percent. On the one hand, this is due to the birth rate of Christian families, which is below the average of the Muslim society, and on the other hand, it is to the higher emigration rate among Christians, who are leaving their home mainly because of the poor economic prospects and the everyday confrontation with the military occupation.
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