A church leader in Jerusalem has expressed concern over the steep decline of the holy city’s Christian population over the years, Anadolu News Agency reported.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Wadih Abu Nassar, the spokesman for the Council of Heads of Catholic Churches in Jerusalem, said in 1992, Christians constituted about 25 percent of the population of Jerusalem. That number, however, has since fallen drastically to less than 1 percent, he noted.
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According to Israeli sources, the population of Jerusalem was 936,000 as of 2019. Jews made up 62 percent of the city’s population, with Palestinians making up the remaining 38 percent.
Abu Nassar said the Christian population accounts for less than 10,000 of the total number of Jerusalemites.
He attributed the drop in the number of Christians to a combination of reasons, ranging from economic to political.
Abu Nassar said economic challenges have played a massive role in the decline of the Christian population in Jerusalem, with the coronavirus pandemic being the final blow that denied the city the income it earned from foreign tourists.
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Abu Nassar has also blamed attacks by Jewish extremists on Palestinians and the expansion of illegal settlements as another key reason behind the decline in Jerusalem’s Christian population.
“There is an increase in illegal settlement activity in many neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, and this is not a secret, and it targets many places, including some Christian holy sites,” he said.
Abu Nassar slammed the Israeli authorities for not putting “enough effort” to hold the extremists accountable.
He pointed out that the heads of churches expressed concern about the existence of some kind of threat to Christians in Jerusalem and their holy places.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)