Christian Contributions in the Contemporary Middle East — Villanova University

Editors’ note: The following speech was delivered at Villanova University by Sami El-Yousef, CNEWA’s regional director for Palestine and Israel, on 5 December for the 2016 Conference on Christians in the Contemporary Middle East. The subject: “Religious Minorities and the Struggle for Secular Nationalism and Citizenship.”


The Christian presence in the Holy Land and across the Middle East has always been a diverse one as it covers a wide variety of Churches and is older than many neighboring nation states. Jerusalem, for example is the seat of 13 heads of churches including the Orthodox, Catholic and the Evangelical Churches. There are also over 125 Catholic religious congregations with presence in the Holy Land (Israel and Palestine).1 (Directory of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land 2014) Some are monastic in nature, while others are apostolates of service especially in the fields of education, healthcare, and social services. For the past few centuries, these communities have operated under many governing authorities, from the Ottoman Empire to the British Mandatory Administration and the modern states of Jordan, and lastly Israel and the Palestinian Authority which has some influence on the population. As a matter of fact, people of my generation have a unique history with each successive generation born under a different governing authority. In my own family, my grandfather was born in 1890 during the tail end of the Ottoman Empire, my father in 1921 during mandatory Palestine, I was born in 1960 during the Jordanian rule, and my four children were all born after 1967 and hold birth certificates issued by the State of Israel! Four generations, born in the same city and yet each generation has a birth certificate issued by a different authority. Despite this unstable situation, what has been a constant safety net in many people’s lives has been the Church and the institutions of the various Churches that provide services in education, health care and social services. Thus, this presentation highlights this unique relationship between the living stones and the Christian institutions with focus on their contributions and challenges.

History of Religious Congregations in the Holy Land

The region has a very rich history of the presence of religious congregations. The Orthodox presence certainly predates the Catholic one, but given that the Catholic institutional presence is more diverse and in much greater numbers, the concentration will be on the developments within the Catholic Church. In 1099, the Latin Patriarchal Diocese of Jerusalem was established with the Crusaders, though there was no residing Patriarch to govern the Church. Due to this void, Pope Clemens VI asked the Franciscan Friars in 1342 to act as the guardians of the holy places and assure the presence of the Latin church in the Holy Land and ensure the growth of the local church. This lasted for approximately 500 years. In 1847 Pope Pius IX reestablished the Latin Patriarchate which marked the return of many religious orders and congregations to the Holy Land that we see today.2

There are 30 other religious orders and congregations of men maintaining convents, monasteries, schools, hospitals, academic institutions and social programs. Among the most numerous are the Salesians of Don Bosco, the Monks of Bethlehem, the De La Salle Brothers, the Benedictines, the Dominicans, the Cistercian monks, the Incarnate Word Missionaries and the Missionaries of Africa. Three of the congregations are oriental rite (one Greek Catholic and two Maronite). There are 73 women religious orders and congregations in the Holy Land. The largest is the Congregation of the Rosary Sisters, founded in 1880 by a Christian Palestinian from Jerusalem, Blessed Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas. This congregation runs many schools and other institutions and the Sisters serve in many of the Latin parishes. The first congregation of women to arrive in the Holy Land, in 1848, was the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Apparition, serving in schools, hospitals, parishes and a retreat house in the diocese.

Further, among the other congregations there are: Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Teaching Sisters of Saint Dorothy, Nuns of Bethlehem and of the Assumption of the Virgin and of Saint Bruno, Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, Benedictines, Religious of Nazareth, Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, Carmelites, Little Sisters of Jesus, Salesian Sisters, Sisters of Saint Elizabeth, Comboni Sisters, Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa, Sisters of Saint Bridget, Daughters of Saint Anne, Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara, Franciscans of the Sacred Heart, and Adorers of Most Holy Sacrament. Eight of the congregations are Eastern rite. In addition to these orders and congregations, there are 20 institutes of consecrated life in the Holy Land.3

The beginnings of the educational aspect of these religious orders can be traced back to the 16th century when the Franciscans opened a school in Bethlehem around the year 1518 followed by schools in Jerusalem and Nazareth. However, due to the prevalent political climate the work of such congregations was limited in nature until the 19th century. Towards the end of the Ottoman rule, most services provided to the Arab communities in education, health, and social services were indeed offered by these religious congregations given the neglect of the governing authorities. As a matter of fact, the official records of the Department of Education for the years 1913-1914 demonstrate that 90% of all elementary school students in historic Palestine were educated at congregational schools, while a mere 10% were educated at public schools.4

Such religious congregations intensified their work in the second half of the 19th century with the establishment of schools, hospitals, clinics, orphanages, and old age centers and during that period various churches were involved including the Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Churches. The work of such religious congregations was dramatically expanded during the British Mandate of Palestine given the encouragement and support provided by the British government. A number of additional schools, special needs centers and orphanages were started in addition to the expansion of existing institutions such as schools, clinics and hospitals. This expansion continued after the 1948 war in both Israel and Palestine and became an integral part of the services provided in these sectors. Though with the passage of time, a small number of institutions closed down due to reductions in external funding, most other institutions continue to provide their services until today. What has further characterized the work of these church institutions is the quality of services provided, especially in education and health as these institutions were manned by religious people who had vocations in these disciplines.

Statistics on the Christians in the Holy Land

In 1947, the Palestinian population of then historic Palestine was 1,845,559 including 1,076,783 Muslims, 608,225 Jews, and 145,063 Christian.5 That translates to the Christian population being 7.9% of the total population, or 11.9% of the Palestinian population. Today the combined population of Israel and Palestine is approximately 13.3 million. Had the Christian population been maintained, there should be approximately one million Christians in the same geographical territory as in 1948. However, our reality proves otherwise.

Israel today has 8.52 million people; 74.8% of whom or 6.38 million are Jewish; 20.8% are Arab or 1.77 million people; while the rest being 4.4% or 374,000 are classified as “Other”, who are mostly non-Arab Christians and other religions. Of the Arab population, the indigenous Christians constitute 165,000 people or just under 2% of the population of the State of Israel.6

The Palestine scene paints an even bleaker picture, where Christians constitute at best about 51,760 in a population7 of 4.82 million (2.94 million in West Bank including East Jerusalem and 1.88 million in Gaza).8 This is a mere 1% of the population and gradually decreasing. If we review the statistics for Bethlehem, being the birthplace of Christ, the number of Christians back in 1947 was about 85%, but by 1998 the figure declined to 40% while today that number is estimated to be 18%.9 If we also look at the figures for the Gaza strip, the Christian population there is a mere 1,31310 or 0.07% of the population compared to 3,000 people just a few years ago.

The reasons for these sharp declines in the Christian presence are many and varied. The main reason is the political instability and the repeated conflict between Israel and the Palestinians leading to harsh economic conditions; lack of freedom and security; and more recently the spread of fanatic Islamic movements across the Middle East.

With these declines in the Christian population, we can see why these trends have become very important, especially that they do not match in any way the Christian institutional presence in our region and its value and active contribution to the service sectors.

Christian Institutional Presence — Disproportionate Contributions

To be able to truly appreciate the Christian contributions in Israel, today there are 47 Christian schools serving a total of 33,000 students of all faith traditions including Christians, Muslims, Druze and Jews.11 In addition, there are approximately 40 kindergartens serving the Arab population. These schools serve 50% of all Arab students in Nazareth; 80% of this group in Haifa; and 40% in Jaffa.12 As far as the health sector, there are four major hospitals and numerous clinics and dispensaries with five institutions catering to the needs of people who are physically or mentally challenged. As for other institutions, there are no less than four institutions that provide safe havens to the youth as well as 15 community centers that cater to the general public. Finally, one of the striking presence is in the large number of scout troops that belong to the two largest churches where there are 18 Catholic scout troupes and 14 Orthodox.13 Not only are scout troops visible during religious and national celebrations, but more importantly embody the value set of volunteerism and community service that is instilled in the upbringing of the youth in addition to the traditional scouting principles.

As for the Palestine scene, one of the bright stars in this Holy Land are the institutions of the various churches providing services in the areas of education, health care and social services. According to a study by Diyar Consortium in Bethlehem conducted in 2008, there are 261 institutions of the various churches in Palestine including 121 working in education such as schools, colleges, vocational training centers, and higher education; 29 providing services in the health sector such as hospitals and clinics; 30 providing social services including orphanages and old age centers; and 73 working in a variety of other sectors including sports, youth, environment, and culture. Further, and according to the same study, this constitutes some 45% of the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) sector in Palestine.14 This certainly is a disproportionate contribution of service to the community, where the demographics of our region is such that the indigenous Christians are around 210,000 people or 1.6% in Israel and Palestine combined. It should be stressed that the services provided are in all instances open to all segments of society with no discrimination in any way, and in most instances targeting the marginalized and poor. In some geographic areas, and I point to Gaza as a very clear example where about 1,300 Christians live in a population of close to two million Muslims, you can bet that the recipients of the services of the Christian institutions are predominantly non-Christian. This is an example of how the Christian community influences society indiscriminately.

Catholic School

Out of all the Christian institutions, the largest network of schools operating in the Holy Land is by far the Catholic schools network followed by the Greek Orthodox Schools. As for the Orthodox schools, there are 19 schools serving the Holy Land with only two in Israel; seven in Palestine; and 10 serving in Jordan. In total, 6,883 students attend these schools.15 By comparison, there are 108 Catholic schools serving in the same territory providing a quality education to 56,594 students and employing 6,762 teachers and support staff. The overall percentage of Christian students is 48%. However, this percentage varies greatly from location to location. The schools that cater to students with special needs have a particularly low percentage of Christian students of about one percent. In other locations where the Christians are in the majority, in a rural setting for example, the percentage is in the 90-100% range. As for the trend in enrollment in Christian schools, there has been a an overall slow but steady decline in Christian students enrollment of four percent with the highest decline in Palestine amounting to seven percent. The table below provides key statistics for the Catholic schools:16

Number of SchoolsTotal Number of StudentsPercentage ChristianStudent trend in 5 yearsChristian students decline (5 year trend)Christian Students RangePersonnel (Teaching, Admin and support)

Unfortunately, similar statistics for the other Christian schools are hard to come by, but the profile is similar to the Catholic schools. In many of the geographical areas where these schools operate, the majority of the student population is a non-Christian population, and the statistics solidify the fact that these modern day schools do not exist to serve the Christian community, but rather the society at large. What is noticeable is the five year trend in enrollment which witnessed a general decline of three percent in Israel at a time when the general Palestine enrollment increased by five percent while in Jordan by five percent. Thus the most dramatic case is the one in Palestine where the Christian enrollment declined by seven percent at a time when the overall enrollment increased by five percent. This is quite significant and is an indication of the continued immigration of Palestinian Christians due to a variety of reasons, the most obvious one is the continued occupation and the political deadlock. However, other studies suggest that in some locations, enrollment is on the decline in the number of Christian students due to economic reasons as less Christian families can afford the cost of private education or the cost of transportation. One example is in Gaza where a study of the Christian community there revealed that only 54.2% of the Christian students attend a Christian school while 36% attend public schools and 9.8% attend United Nations (UNRWA) schools as they are registered refugees.17 This was certainly a striking finding as one would have expected a much larger percentage of the Christian students attending Christian schools given that there are five such schools in Gaza and given the unique circumstances of Gaza. This example demonstrates that the Christian community in many instances faces the same challenges of society at large in which they are fully integrated.

Christian Values

The guiding principles of the Christian community and the Christian institutions are the value set that is practiced within Christian families. Thus, Christians apply these traditions and instill them in the mission and work of the Christian institutions. These values are much needed today than ever before, values that Christians not only live by and teach to their children, but also teach to anyone who becomes affiliated with them. Thus instilling the much needed values of faith in God; respect; self-control and moderation; honesty and integrity; kindness and compassion; contentment and thoughtfulness; patience and perseverance; peace and humility; and loyalty and commitment.

In my own line of work, being the regional director of the CNEWA-Pontifical Mission for Palestine office in Jerusalem, a temporary agency of the Holy See set up in 1949 to do humanitarian and development work in service of the poor and weak in the countries where we operate, I am frequently on field visits to various institutions and communities throughout Israel and Palestine. In many instances, such services are directed to non-Christians. In all my field visits and encounters with recipients of our institutional services, I have yet to come across a person who has not been touched in one way or another by our Christian values. Some will come out and say it in very clear terms that they cherish the value set they are privileged to encounter. In others, you see the value set in the attitude and behavior! One of the most touching encounters I have ever had in my life was when I assumed the duties of my current work at the Pontifical Mission some seven years ago, and was asked to go to Gaza, out of all places, to check on the work that was just concluded rebuilding a clinic belonging to the Near East Council of Churches that was reconstructed and fully equipped after it was completely demolished by an Israeli F-16 jet in the last days of the first war on Gaza in January 2009. As one of my very first duties I reluctantly went to Gaza questioning our involvement in Gaza given there are only 1,300 Christians there, none of whom is a recipient of the services of this clinic which is located in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Gaza city in the Shajaia neighborhood. I walked into the clinic and it was packed with Muslim women along with their children since this is a Mother and Child clinic. Out of curiosity, I went straight to two of the women and I asked them a very simple question: why do you come to this clinic for service while there are other clinics nearby offering similar services, all of them are free of charge. The two women answered without any hesitation: “this is the only place where we come to receive a service and we are treated as human beings, with full respect while preserving our dignity!” Even for someone who lived in this land throughout my life and worked for Catholic institutions for over 30 years, never before did I ever get such a qualified response on how much the value set is instilled through our Christian institutions.

Interfaith Dialogue — The Lived Experience

Another dimension where Christian institutions shine is in the area of interfaith with three core values: understanding, respect, and dialogue. As mentioned earlier, in many instances, our institutions offer services to beneficiaries of different faith traditions. In Palestine, this clientele is mostly Christian and Muslim beneficiaries. In Israel, in some instances, depending on the location and the type of service, the beneficiaries are Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Jews. One can only imagine the interfaith dialogue that is “lived” rather than being taught or discussed in academic conferences or between religious hierarchs including Muftis, Rabbis, and Bishops… students of all faiths that study together, grow up together, learn to respect each other, and form lifelong relationships inspired by the Christian values end up developing into solid citizens of the country and forming the next level of leaders. What better interfaith appreciation and dialogue than what goes on in the classroom, or in a hospital room where patients regardless of their faith tradition learn to appreciate each other as equal human beings believing in the one God. Even when there is violence on the streets and societies are completely polarized, these institutions remain immune to the calls for hatred and revenge that you hear on the streets.

Humanitarian Support and Response to Crisis — The Case of Gaza

In 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza evacuating all Israeli settlers in the process and gradually isolating the area. In 2006, the Palestinians had open and free elections that favored Hamas, a fundamental Islamic party, and gave them a landslide win in the Legislative Council. In 2007, Hamas had a coup against the ruling Fatah party and took over the Gaza Strip forming its own government and imposing a fundamental Islamic rule over Gaza. Needless to say, this heightened tensions as the Christian community and institutions had to face new realities. One of the most controversial moves was by the Ministry of Education there to segregate students and teachers by sex. This would have impacted all five Christian schools serving a total population of over 3,000 students, most of them Muslims. All Christian schools in Gaza offer a co-educational experience. Ultimatums were given to the schools that unless they segregate, they will be shut down. In addition, Christian symbols became clearly unwelcome and even Christmas trees were not allowed in public display. Christian women students studying in some universities in Gaza had to conform to the traditional Islamic dress code. In short, this was a dramatic shift in lifestyle for the Christian community and for the Christian institutions involved. This tension lasted for a few years without any major change.

On the other hand, Gaza witnessed three wars in a span of six years. The first one lasted for 20 days between December 2008 and January 2010, the second one was shorter but no less devastating and lasted for eight days in November 2012, while the last one was the most intense and lasted for 51 days in July and August 2014. The amount of physical destruction in all sectors spanning from education to health, infrastructure and the economy was simply beyond imagination.

What was noticeable was that the first responders were the Christian institutions during each active war. Convents, Christian schools and community centers opened their doors as temporary shelters to receive the internally displaced as over 50% of the land of Gaza was declared a closed military area. At the height of the conflict, an estimated 485,000 people — twenty eight percent of the population of Gaza were internally displaced.18 The sole Christian hospital as well as the clinics remained operational despite bomb raids, electricity shortages, and limited supplies providing critical lifesaving medical services; hygiene and food packages and clean water were distributed by the major Christian humanitarian organizations in addition to local Christian organizations. In short, the few Christian organizations in Gaza were the shining stars in a sea of desperation. This certainly did not go unnoticed by the local government and by the community at large. Such appreciation was shown immediately after the war as the tension that preceded in relation to the Christian community receded dramatically. The first Christmas bazaar took place a few months after the last war and Christmas trees were no longer forbidden. The highest political figures in the Hamas hierarchy met with the religious leaders and Christian dignitaries to bid them congratulations for Christian feasts. The Greek Orthodox Scout Troop is making a comeback in Gaza, and the segregation issue at the Christian schools has been shelved for the time being.

Life in Gaza continues to be a great challenge and I do not wish to paint a rosy picture for the Christian community or for Christian institutions there as they continue to face many challenges, but I wish to stress the role Christian institutions play in an emergency setting and what impact this had on changing the perception and attitude that eventually got appreciation of society and the government and relieved tension.

Impact of the Current Political Stalemate

There are many challenges facing the Holy Land today, the most difficult of which is the continuation of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. A conflict that formally started 68 years ago with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, and solidified in 1967 or 49 years ago with the illegal occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Thus, the continuing occupation coupled with the breakdown of negotiations between the two sides have led to repeated conflicts, some of them major ones including the first Intifada (1987), the second Intifada (2000), and three successive wars for various periods on Gaza in December 2008, November 2012, and July 2014. But apart from labels, one must acknowledge that the current situation is a very dangerous one indeed where we see total polarization between two people and three faiths who are supposed to live as good neighbors side by side in peace and harmony. Government incitement level on both sides seems to demonize the other and spread hatred and suspicion of the other. The Separation Wall which has been under construction for over 10 years meant not only a physical barrier, but a very psychological barrier since the human face is lost between the two sides. Most of the younger generations of Palestinians and Israelis do not interact with each other, and stereotypes are entrenched. For any Palestinian child, and after the construction of the wall, their only encounter with Israelis is that of soldiers conducting raids at night and arresting their friends and neighbors, or with settlers stealing more land and constructing more Jewish only settlements. For them every Israeli is their jailor as Israel created the largest open air prison with the construction of the wall denying the Palestinian masses most of their basic human rights.

Likewise for every Israeli child, the construction of the wall was a necessary evil so that they are “protected” from the Palestinians who are all labeled “potential terrorists” and who only wish to harm Israelis and ultimately destroy Israel, thus the Palestinians have brought this harsh life upon themselves! Where is the human face in this sad reality? I believe when Pope Francis visited Bethlehem in May 2014 and departed from his regular tour in Bethlehem and asked to stop by the separation wall, got out of his car, touched the wall, and prayed for its removal, his Holiness knew very well the great psychological damage it is creating as well as the destructive impact it is having, especially on the younger generations on both sides. In this regard, as the message on the streets is one of hatred and revenge, the only places where you experience the message of peace, love, respect, coexistence, acceptance, and tolerance is at Christian institutions. This should never be underestimated as eventually this message filters through leaving an impact on those who are affiliated with these institutions.

Challenges for the Christian Institutions — Continued Funding

In Israel, Christian institutions providing services in many sectors including education, health and social services receive subsidies from the various relevant ministries for taking a load off similar public institutions. With the exception of schools, such subsidies cover most of the operating costs and the challenge then becomes with capital development projects and equipment needs. All these institutions are subject to reviews by government inspectors who would demand that such institutions meet certain codes or face fines and eventually closures. Since most such institutions are housed in old buildings that are in some instances 150-200 years old, meeting modern codes is very expensive and extremely challenging. A case in point is Saint Louis Hospital in Jerusalem built in 1879 and run by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Apparition underwent this challenge. Six years ago, the inspectors of the Israeli Ministry of Health found many deficiencies and gave a long list to the hospital management in order to maintain their license. Realizing that the works will require major structural work in the building, the hospital was given five years to complete the works and meet the codes. Given the good connections of the hospital administration and a very energetic young director, a multi-million dollar five year plan was devised which ultimately saved the hospital from being shut down. Though this was a clear success story, other institutions were not as lucky and some of their operations were suspended. The operations of the orphanage at the St. Vincent de Paul home in Jerusalem were suspended as the Sisters could not secure the funding in time to do the renovations and meet the deadline set by the inspectors of the Ministry of Social Affairs.

In the sector of education, the challenges are different, as the trend in recent years has been to cut the subsidies to the 47 Christian schools in Israel serving 33,000 students of all faiths. Over the past several years, the cuts amounted to 45% where at the present time only a mere 29% of the operating costs of the schools are covered by the government.19 This has created a serious financial crisis as not only do the schools have to worry about much needed renovations and equipment upgrades, but also a large percentage of their operating costs must be fundraised from external sources. Thus the whole sector of Christian schools in Israel is in crisis mode and must try to find alternate sources of funding, and thus some major decisions will have to be made in the very near future.

In Palestine, the situation is completely different given that the private schools, including all Christian schools, do not receive any government subsidies and are mostly on their own. Luckily the Latin Patriarchate network of schools relies on the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem to provide funding for their schools, the Custody of the Holy Land provides funding for the Terra Santa Franciscan network, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate for their network of schools etc… This is by far not an easy task given that as the economic conditions worsen from year to year, parents’ ability to pay the tuition becomes more challenging. As far as international donors are concerned, the scenario is all too familiar in that they do not provide funds to cover operating costs. Despite the many financial challenges, these schools until now continue to make ends meet and provide quality services under extremely challenging conditions.

Greater responsibility for Christian Institutions and the Need to Sustain them

The construction of the Separation Wall and the continuing occupation has created a situation that only fosters more polarization, demonization, hate, and fear of the other. Thus, more emphasis must be placed on the Christian institutions to work harder than ever before, to instill that message of hope and faith in the people under their care. This will help the younger generation see the human face in the other, and adopt the Christian value set that is so desperately needed today more than at any time in the past. Our Christian institutions have been through similar trying conflicts and crises as some of them predate all the recent troubles with some schools and hospitals established over 150 years ago. Thus the accumulated experience of earlier conflicts coupled with emphasis on the value set should place our institutions ideally to help the population at large deal with this conflict as they have done repeatedly before. This certainly assumes that the external environment will not dramatically change as it has in some of the neighboring countries such as in Syria and Iraq.

Christian contributions in education, health care, and social advancement are huge in comparison to the size of the Christian presence and constitute a disproportionate contribution to the building of the various societies. This institutional presence is the pride of the Christian witness as services are provided to all segments of society with no distinction to religion, ethnic group, gender or nationality. Further Christian institutions constitute the backbone of the Christian presence in the various countries where they are present. Generation upon generation has been able to carry this tradition and keep these institutions open and thriving. However, with the changing face of the Middle East at large and the Holy Land in particular, will we be able to maintain the tradition, and keep this Christian witness alive? Will the living stones remain or will they emigrate leaving a Holy Land consisting of Churches and monument Holy sites manned by a few religious men and women. This is the challenge for all of us as we move forward.

Foot Notes

1(Directory of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land 2014)
2(Bathish 2005)
3(Claudia 2014)
4(Farah 2003)
5(Official Records of the Second Session of the General Assembly Supplement No. 11 1947)
6(Israel Population on the Eve of the 68th Independence Day 2016)
7(Collings, Kassis and Raheb 2012)
8(Estimated Population in the Palestinian Territory Mid-Year by Governorate,1997-2016 2016)
9(Pacini 1998)
10(Murad, Abuzeid and Bandi 2014)
11(The Office of Catholic Schools in Israel 2015)
12(Farah 2003)
13(Mansour 2012)
14(Collings, Kassis and Raheb 2012)
15(The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem 2016)
16(Secretariat of Solidarity 2016)
17(Murad, Abuzeid and Bandi 2014)
18(United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2014)
19(Ambroselli 2016)


Ambroselli, Miriam. Israeli Ministry of Education classifies Christian schools among the best in the country. Jerusalem, August 22, 2016.

Claudia. Churches in the Holy Land — Religious Congregations in the Holy Land. Jerusalem, March 19, 2014.

Collings, Rania A, Rifat O Kassis, and Mitri Raheb. Palestinian Christians in the West Bank Facts, Figures and Trends. Bethlehem: Diyar, 2012.

“Directory of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land.” Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land. Jerusalem: Latin Patriarchate Printing Press, 2014. 6-10.

Estimated Population in the Palestinian Territory Mid-Year by Governorate,1997-2016. Statistical Report, Ramallah: Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics, 2016.

Farah, Fouad. The Living Stones — Christian Arabs in the Holy Land. Nazareth: Al-Hakeem Press, 2003.

Israel Population on the Eve of the 68th Independence Day. Media Release, Jerusalem: Central Bureau of Statistics in Israel, 2016.

Mansour, Johnny. Arab Christians in Israel Facts, Figures and Trends. Bethlehem: Diyar, 2012.

Murad, Rami, Ali Abuzeid, and Ali Bandi. Survey of the Christian Community in the Gaza Strip. Survey, Gaza: Young Men’s Christian Association, 2014, 29.

Official Records of the Second Session of the General Assembly Supplement No. 11. Report to the General Assembly Volume 1 A/364. Report to United Nations, New York: Lake Success, 1947.

Pacini, Andrea. Socio Political and Community Dynamics of Arab Christians in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Clarendon Press, 1998.

Secretariat of Solidarity. Statistical Data for Catholic Schools Israel — Jerusalem & Palestine — Jordan 2015-2016. Statistical Report, Jerusalem: Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land, 2016, 6.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Administrative Structures/Educational Centers. 2016. (accessed November 12, 2016).

The Office of Catholic Schools in Israel. ,em>Statement of Christian Schools in Israel. Jerusalem: Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, August 31, 2015.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Occupied Palestinian Territory: Gaza Emergency Situation Report (as of 4 September 2014, 08:00 hrs). Emergency Situation Report, United Nations, 2014.

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