This week is Christmas, which celebrates the birth of Jesus in the land of Israel. With his birth also began the start of the Christian faith in Israel, which then spread to the rest of the world. Often now people ask if there are Christians in Israel.
According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics there are now approximately 182,000 Christians in Israel. This is up 1.4% since last year and make about 1.9% of Israel’s population.
Of these, there are about 76.7% of Christians in Israel identify as Arab. The other Christians in the country include messianic Jews and others who have moved into Israel bringing their faith with them.
The majority of Christians in Israel that are Arab are adherents to the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, a church within the Catholic Church and the Holy See. Its headquarters are located in Damascus, Syria. The church claims its origins back to the very beginnings of Christianity. They are considered to be among the most educated groups in Israel.
An interesting fact is that Arab Christians are considered the most educated cultural group in Israel. Over 60% of them have at least a college education, which is the highest of any religious group.
The next biggest church of Christians in Israel is the Eastern Orthodox church. During your tour around Israel you will see churches, monasteries, and seminaries ran by the Eastern Orthodox, mostly in Jerusalem. They are one of the governing churches who hold mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, along with the Roman Catholics, and the Armenian Apostolic Church.
The Armenian Orthodox Church is also present in Israel, in fact inhabiting an entire quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem. Although it is considered it’s own distinct quarter, though it’s not actually a quarter but rather 14% of the Old City. It is centered around the St. James Monastery. The Armenians in 2000 said the following about it’s relationship with the Christian Quarter:
“We regard the Christian and Armenian Quarters of the Old City as inseparable and contiguous entities that are firmly united by the same faith.”
There are those that identify as Messianic Jews and Hebrew Christians in Israel. There are roughly 20,000 who openly identify as Jewish believers in Yeshua and perhaps more who do not openly share their beliefs, but that is difficult to estimate or know.
There is also a community of Russian Orthodox Christians from Russia. Around 17.% of Israelis speak Russian, as an example of how many people in Israel have Russian ties.
Finally, there are some protestant communities in Israel as well. The owner and founder of Immanuel Tours is part of one of these congregations.
Where do Christians in Israel Live?
There is of course a strong presentation of Christianity in Israel, though being a very definite minority. You will see throughout Israel the preservation of Christian sites related to Jesus’s life, as well as the establishment of Christianity and church history. These places are included on Immanuel Tours itineraries for you to enjoy and see! Contact Immanuel Tours for you no risk itinerary proposal and quotation!
Everyone at Immanuel Tours wishes that you have a very blessed Christmas!