In “Christians abandon birthplace of belief” (The West, 24 Dec 2013), Palestinians reportedly blame Israeli checkpoints and settlements for the mass exodus of Christians from Bethlehem. However Bethlehem is ruled by the Palestinian Authority, which is responsible for its residents’ safety. Yet since the Palestinian Authority took over the city, Bethlehem’s Christians have been exposed to intimidation, beatings, land theft, firebombing of churches, denial of employment, torture, kidnappings, forced marriages between Christian women and Muslim men, and extortions.
The Bethlehem exodus is but part of an ongoing Christian exodus from the Arab world including from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. Christian Copts, for example, in Egypt suffer the same Muslim persecution as Christians in Bethlehem.
There is one important exception in the Middle East where Christians actually are growing in numbers: Israel. In 1948, when Israel gained independence, there were 34,000 Christians in Israel. Today, that number has grown to about 150,000.
In fact, under Muslim rule, Christianity is threatened with extinction, but it thrives and grows in the Jewish state.Regards...
25 December 2013
Under Muslim rule, Christianity is threatened with extinction, but it thrives and grows in Israel
The following letter sent to the editor of the West Australian newspaper has, to date, not been published: