This is the first of a series of articles highlighting a unique and inspiring movement among the oldest Christian community in the world: the Aramean Christians of Israel.
By Amit Barak—
Not many people in the world are familiar with the Christian community in Israel and there are even many who are not even aware that these Christians are Israeli citizens. Most of the Christians in Israel are Arabic-speaking, or, as the common but anachronistic term describes them, “Christian Arabs.”
This community is deeply rooted in the Land of Israel with many being descendants of Christians from the days of Jesus and his followers who formed the first churches. They are also descended from the inhabitants of the land who received Christianity during the Roman Empire. This Byzantine Empire took on Christianity as the official religion in 324 CE. At that time, Christians became the majority in Israel, only losing this status after the conquests of Islam and the Arab tribes.
As 2019 begins, the number of Christians in Israel stands at about 175,000, constituting about 2 percent of the population. 80 percent of the Christians in Israel are Arabic-speaking.
The Arab-speaking Christians in Israel generally belong to the Catholic Church (Greek Catholics) and the Greek Orthodox Church. Others are Maronites, Copts, Protestants, Baptists, Evangelicals and others. Alongside them are the Armenians living in Israel, many of whom also speak the Arabic language. However, today the families are mixed and there is marriage between Christians of all denominations.
In Israel, Christians are considered well-educated, since many of them study in the private schools run by the churches in which the education is of a very high standard. In fact, this is the group with the best data in terms of education in Israel based on matriculation certificates for university entrance requirements: 64 percent of the Christians qualified for university last year as compared to 50 percent of the Druze, 39 percent of the Muslims, and 53 percent of the students in the Hebrew education sector. As a result, the average economic condition of most of the Christian Arabs is also very good. Continue Reading….