detail - Foundation Office Palestinian Territories
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Dr. Mitri Raheb, president of the Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture, discussed during his presentation five waves of migration that compelled Palestinain Christians during the past 100 years to leave their homeland. The Palestinian Authority's 2007 census suggests that there are still around 50.000 Christians remaining in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. While the absolute number of Christians in Israel and Palestine increases, their share in the societies decreases. More recent statistics will follow soon, based on a new Palestinian census that is currently being carried out.
Dr. Varsen Aghabekian presented the results of a study conducted in the Palestinian Territories during the current year. Key findings include:
- On a scale from 0 (no freedom) to 10 (full freedom), Palestinian Christians classify the level of religious freedom at 7.5; among Muslims the value is 7.9;
- 50% of Christians and 54% of Muslims are optimistic about the future;
- 17% of Christians and 11% of Muslims feel insecure;
- 23% of Christians and 12% of Muslims have a family member who emigrated last year;
- 72% of Christians who left their homeland did so because of the economic situation, 13% because of the political situation and 9% for social and religious reasons;
- 28% of Christians and 24% of Muslims are considering to leave their home;
- For 27% of Christians and 20% of Muslims, the political situation in the Middle East reinforces the desire to leave Palestine. 41% of Christians and 47% of Muslims say that the policies of the Arab regimes contribute to Christians leaving the region;
- Those who do not want to leave refer to their attachment to the country (41% of Christians, 49% of Muslims) or family ties (34% of Christians, 36% of Muslims);
- A majority of Christians and Muslims are of the opinion that the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is a religious conflict.
The study is available at DIYAR.