In February, the IDF will promote a Christian soldier to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, making him the first soldier of his faith to achieve that rank. This comes as the result of a six-year process intended to help the indigenous Christian community integrate into mainstream Israeli society.
Last week, the Israel Bureau of Statistics published the 2018 figures on Christians living in Israel. According to the report, approximately 175,000 Christians currently live in the Holy Land making up two percent of the total population. Of those, 77.7 percent are Arab Christians. This represents a 2.2 percent growth in Israel’s Christian population in the past year.
“Our sovereignty over Jerusalem will never compromise the freedom of worship and religion of all peoples of faith in Jerusalem and in all of Israel,” said Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
The candle-lighting ceremony highlights the challenges faced by the Hebrew-speaking Christian community. The community of about 1000 people was born at the tail end of the 1950s, when interfaith couples arrived in Israel, as did Christians who moved to Israel, integrated into the secular life of Israel and spoke Hebrew, all the while retaining their Catholicism.
“A meeting with the heads of the Christian communities is always important to me, but when we face troubled times it becomes even more important.”
The initiative is part of Jerusalem’s annual Christmas preparations, which involve decorating areas where the holiday is observed with lights and flags.
Meet some of the Israeli Christians who are proud to serve their country – the Jewish state!
President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday morning marked the civil New Year welcomed with the traditional annual reception for leaders of Christian communities in Israel.
From Jerusalem to Nazareth to Bethlehem, here’s how Christians in Israel are taking to the streets to celebrate this very happy holiday!
“Showing this population that they are accepted and welcome is the best route that I can think of to increase peace in the land.”