The Christian population in the State of Israel grew 50% faster in 2017 than the year before—increasing by 2.2% versus 1.4%—and now numbers approximately 175,000 people, according to the latest numbers published by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). While accounting for just 2% of the Israeli population, the success of Christians underscores the egalitarian nature of Israel. Christians on average are doing well from an employment perspective—roughly two-thirds of all Christians in the country aged 15-years-old or older were employed, compared to 65.1% of Jews per CBS numbers from 2015.
Educationally, 78.5% of Christian 12th grade students in Arab education were entitled to receive a matriculation certificate in the 2016/2017 school year, just 0.2% behind the students receiving a Hebrew education. Over 77% of all Christians in Israel are Arab, but they have had more success than their Muslim counterparts: just 59.5% of Arab Muslims were entitled to graduate from 12th grade in the 2016/2017 school year.
In addition, when compared with Arab Muslim students, there are a higher number of Arab Christians in Israel studying engineering, law, architecture, and medicine.
Christian families are not growing as fast as their Muslim or Jewish counterparts, however. Christian families had an average of just 1.89 children up to age 17—compared to 2.39 such children in Jewish families and 2.83 in Muslim families.
A key reason for the increase in population growth for Christians in 2017 was actually due to immigration— 597 Falash Mura Christians from Ethiopia moved to Israel last year.
While the Christian population may be small in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took time on Sunday to mark the upcoming civil New Year with Christian soldiers in the IDF. In comments released by his office, Netanyahu told the Christian troops, “We are proud of you; the entire nation is proud of you. You belong to the most moral army on earth.”
As for where Christians live in Israel, ethnicity plays an important role. Over 70% of Arab Christians live in the Northern District—with the City of Nazareth home to the most Arab Christians at 22,100. For non-Arab Christians, 40.9% live in the Tel Aviv and Central Districts, versus 33.8% in the Northern and Haifa Districts.
While most Arab Christians live up north, not all of them are there. Jerusalem hosts the third-most Arab Christians of any city in Israel, with 12,600 residents.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, December 25, 2018)