Threats

Hate crimes are driving the drastic decline of indigenous Christians

Based on tolerance and community, Christianity has long held a central role in the Holy Land, with today’s Christians keen to see a pluralistic, sustainable society for all.

However the numbers of Christians in Jerusalem in particular have dwindled to a level bordering on extinction – a real possibility within a generation.

“At this rate of decline within a generation there will be no Christian communities left in the Holy land”

A small but vehemently committed group of radicals – ideologically at the intersection between ultranationalist racism and religious zealotism- are forcing families from their homes, desecrating religious sites and disrupting businesses. Today it is estimated that Christians are less than 1% of Jerusalem’s population – a decline from 11% in the middle of the last century.

Radicalised individuals are using a number of tactics to drive Christians from the Holy Land – ranging from blatant and belligerent to underhand intimidation and manipulation in the shadows.

Manoeuvres to seize property

Property ownership gives a community a foothold in an area – a place for families and businesses to take root and thrive. Through their relentless underhanded dealings that lead to lengthy legal challenges to property rights, radicalised factions are seeking to dislodge Christian communities. The most high profile of these cases is the disputed sale of properties at the Jaffa Gate, the entrance to the Christian Quarter.

Intimidation, violence and hate crimes

Christians in Jerusalem suffer intermittent violence and intimidation. Worshippers attempting to reach the Church of the Holy Sepulchre may sometimes be subject to verbal and physical abuse from radicalised individuals. Elsewhere in the city, some Churches are subjected to appalling acts of Blasphemy and abuse, such as individuals spitting on the Cross or verbal attacks around the holy site.

Arson and desecration of religious sites

Recent years have seen the desecration and vandalism of an unprecedented number of churches and holy sites. Along with growing numbers of reports from priests and local worshippers who have been assaulted and attacked. In 2020 the Church of All Nations at the Garden of Gethsemane was badly damaged in an arson attack. The problem is compounded because there is also a lack of apparent deterrent for these incidents. To date there has been no reports of any prosecutions that match the magnitude of the violations.

Local governance and its effects

Aspects of local government discriminate against the Christian community. In Jerusalem there is no Christian representation on the municipal council. A recent decision around taxation – council tax in particular – tended to work against Churches, and had threatened to bankrupt them.

Resources

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     www.alaraby.co.uk
  • Meeting Biden, J’lem Christian leader describes ‘attacks by Israeli radical groups’

     www.timesofisrael.com
  • East Jerusalem’s Judaization threatens survival of Christian heritage

     www.laprensalatina.com
  • Old City hotelier facing eviction: ‘Biden, give Christians 10 minutes of your visit’

     www.timesofisrael.com
  • Jerusalem: Two Hotels Acquired by the Ultra-Orthodox in the Old City

     www.fsspx.com
  • Jerusalem Patriarchate: Definitely loses legal battle over real estate in Old Town

     www.hellas.com
  • Greece Urges ‘Appropriate Action’ After Israelis Allegedly Break Into Jerusalem Church

     www.haaretz.com
  • Israeli court rules in favor of settler takeover of high-profile Christian hotel in Jerusalem

     www.wafa.ps
  • Greece Urges ‘Appropriate Action’ After Israelis Allegedly Break Into Jerusalem Church

     www.haaretz.com
  • Supreme Court upholds Greek church sales to far-right group, ending legal battle

     www.timesofisrael.com
  • Greek Orthodox Church desecrated in Jerusalem – Strong reaction from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

     www.cnn.com
  • Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the incursion into a property owned by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the desecration of a Chapel there by members of a Jewish seminary

     www.mfa.com
  • New Threats and Vandalism at the Chapel of Holy Zion

     www.jerusalem-patriarchate.com
  • New Threats and Vandalism at the Chapel of Holy Zion

     www.orthochristian.com
  • The Patriarchate of Jerusalem was targeted by extremists

     www.orthodoxtimes.com
  • King meets Christian leaders in US, warns of threats against Christians in Jerusalem

     www.rhc.jo.en
  • Jerusalem’s Christians feel backed against a wall

     www.jerusalempost.com
  • Response to Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem’s claims in the Sunday Telegraph – 24 April 2022

     www.protectingholylandchristians.org
  • US congresspeople call on Blinken to protect Jerusalem’s Christians

     www.jerusalempost.com
  • Democratic, Republican Lawmakers Warn Blinken About Rising Attacks Against Christians in Jerusalem

     www.haaretz.com
  • Clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians continue at the Al-Aqsa mosque

     www.npr.org
  • Christians celebrate Holy Fire ceremony in Jerusalem after row with Israeli police… many pilgrims who arrived hours ahead of the ceremony were not permitted by police to enter the church

     www.thenational.com
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     www.abcnews.com
  • Israeli restrictions on ‘Holy Fire’ ignite Christian outrage

     www.washingtonpost.com
  • An Anti-Christian Disgrace In Jerusalem

     www.theamericanconservative.com
  • Israel police limit number of Christians marking Easter celebrations in Jerusalem

     www.middleeasteye.net
  • Canon Ian Ellis: Christians face assaults from Holy Land radicals

     www.newsletter.co.uk
  • ‘There’ll be no Christians here in 50 years’: Faithful fight to reclaim Jerusalem’s Christian Quarter

     www.telegraph.co.uk
  • ‘The Holy Land is turning into Disneyland’: Christians are being driven out of Jerusalem by hate crimes and economic hardship which will leave the site nothing more than a ‘tourist theme park’

     www.dailymail.co.uk
  • Christians face attacks and restrictions in Jerusalem’s Old City

     www.thenational.com
  • Jerusalem, site of the Easter story, faces a fraught time

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  • Jerusalem’s Christian churches resist Israeli settlers

     www.france24.com
  • Greek Orthodox Church says Israeli police unfairly limiting worshipers at yearly Holy Fire ritual

     www.greekcitytimes.com
  • JERUSALEM PATRIARCHATE PROTESTS UNJUST RESTRICTIONS ON HOLY FIRE SERVICE

     www.orthochristian.com
  • Holy Land: WCC condemns Easter restrictions on access to churches

     www.indcatholicnews.com
  • Greek Church says police unfairly limiting worshipers at Holy Fire ritual

     www.timesofisrael.com
  • Athens expresses concern over illegal intrusion in the Little Petra Hotel in Jerusalem

     www.helenicnews.com
  • Years of legal battle: Settlers from the Ateret Cohanim organization break into historic building in Jerusalem’s Christian Quarter

     www.fides.org
  • Orthodox Church slams partial takeover of historic hotel in Jerusalem by Israeli settlers

     www.aa.com
  • Orthodox Church slams partial takeover of historic hotel in Jerusalem by Israeli settlers

     www.yenisafak.com
  • Church Leaders Denounce ‘Illegal’ Takeover of Property by ‘Extremist’ Settlers in Jerusalem

     www.palestinechronicle.com
  • A statement regarding the trespassing of Little Petra Hotel by a radical group

     www.orthodoxtimes.com
  • WCC expresses solidarity with Jerusalem church leaders as settlers occupy Petra Hotel

     www.indcatholicnews.com
  • Greece slams Ateret Cohanim’s intrusion of Greek Patriarchate’s property as “illegal”

     www.greekcitytimes.com
  • Greek Orthodox Church decries ‘extremist’ takeover of Jerusalem hostel

     www.thesouthafrican.com
  • Greek Orthodox Church leaders on Tuesday denounced what they called the “illegal” takeover by Israeli “extremists” of a Jerusalem hostel operated by Palestinians.

     www.france24.com
  • Greek Orthodox Church decries ‘extremist’ takeover of Jerusalem hostel

     www.msn.com
  • King Abdullah discusses ‘avoiding escalation’ with Abbas as Israeli settlers seize more land in Jerusalem

     www.thenewarab.co.uk
  • Jordan condemns Israeli settlers’ storming of hotel in Jerusalem

     www.jordantimes.com
  • Israeli settlers and police seize part of historic hotel in East Jerusalem’s Old City

     www.middleeasteye.net
  • Greek Orthodox patriarchate warns Israeli settlers breaking into church property could ignite turbulence

     www.wafa.ps
  • Jewish Settlers Move Into Historic Building in Jerusalem’s Old City Christian Quarter

     www.haaretz.com
  • Jerusalem Christians condemn attack on church

     www.christiantoday.com
  • Charges Are Pressed Only in 4% of Settler Violence Cases

     www.haaretz.com
  • Greek Orthodox Patriarch says Zionist extremists want to expel Christians from the Holy Land

     www.wafa.ps
  • How Palestinian Christians are being driven out of Jerusalem

     www.alaraby.co.uk
  • Jerusalem church leader says Israeli extremists threaten Christian presence in city

     www.reuters.com
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     www.mondoweiss.net
  • Christians are under threat in the cradle of their faith

     www.thetimes.co.uk
  • Herzog holds New Year’s reception for church leaders: ‘I am committed to freedom of worship’

     www.timesofisrael.com
  • Herzog, Shaked declare commitment to freedom of worship, religion

     www.jpost.com
  • Jerusalem churches unite to preserve one of the world’s oldest Christian communities

     www.deseret.com
  • After Birthright exception, Holy Land Christians decry Israel’s ‘racist’ travel ban

     www.timesofisrael.com
  • Christian leaders sound “alarm call” in Jerusalem

     www.bbc.co.uk
  • Jerusalem church leaders: ‘Radical’ Israeli groups driving Christians from Holy Land

     www.timesofisrael.com
  • Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby – discussing threats facing Christians in Holy Land on ITV News 21.12.21

     www.youtube.com
  • Jerusalem Churches Protest ‘Systematic Attempt to Drive Christians Out of the Holy Land’

     www.haaretz.com
  • Archbishop of Canterbury echoes fears for Christians in Holy Land

     www.christiantoday.com
  • Church leaders warn of a ‘systematic attempt’ to drive Christians out of Jerusalem and the Holy Land

     www.insider.com
  • Holy Land Christians are at threat of extinction

     www.telegraph.co.uk
  • HOLY LAND: Bishops: ‘Christian presence facing extreme threat’

     www.acnuk.org
  • Christianity is vanishing from the Middle East – Haaretz

     www.haaretz.com
  • Young man spits on entrance to Armenian Church

     www.facebook.com
  • Squeeze on Christians in the Holy Land – the Times

     www.thetimes.co.uk
  • Christian Church in Jerusalem Attacked for Fourth Time in a Month – Daily Sabah

     www.dailysabah.com
  • Attack on Gethsemane Church intended to ‘drive Christians from the Holy Land

     www.christiantoday.com
  • By The Jaffa Gate, Final Showdown Looms in Battle over Jerusalem’s Historic Hotel – The Guardian

     www.theguardian.com
  • We Go Back 800 Years – Palestinian Fights Settler NGO’s Takeover of Jerusalem Hotel- Haaretz

     www.haaretz.com
  • Christian leaders protest sale of Jerusalem church properties to Jewish group

     www.timesofisrael.com
  • Christian Leaders Blast Decision to Sell Jerusalem Properties to Settler Group – Haaretz

     www.haaretz.com
  • Christians are at risk of being driven out of the Holy Land

     www.theguardian.com
  • Cardinal backs Jerusalem Patriarch in defending Christians in Holy Land

     www.thetablet.co.uk
  • Christians in Israel: Patriarch pleads for help to protect the ‘status quo’

     www.thetablet.co.uk
  • Mosques & Churches Vandalized in Israel – Haaretz

     www.haaretz.com
  • Israel Arrests Two Jewish Teens for Jerusalem Monastery Vandalism – Reuters

     www.reuters.com
  • Jewish Extremists’ Attacks Rattle Christians in the Holy Land – National Geographic

     www.nationalgeographic.com
  • The New Jerusalem – Jews are Buying Up Arab Properties Aiming to Reclaim its Ancient Quarter – The Guardian

     www.theguardian.com
  • Vandals Hit Mixed Suburb of Jerusalem – New York Times

     www.nytimes.com
  • Christian Leaders Call For Holy Land Protection

     www.huffpost.com
  • West Bank Settlers: We’re Here To Stay – The Guardian

     www.theguardian.com