Being Christian in Palestine

IMG_6823Being Christian in Palestine: Many of the volunteers who decide to work with us usually come from country in which Christianity is the main religion, such as European countries and the Americas. What is it like to be a Christian in a land where Islam is the religion of the vast majority of its inhabitants?

Being Christian in Palestine will not be neither a danger nor a hindrance to your travels. In fact, you will not be the only one: approximately, the 6% of West Bank’s population is Christian, and they live in peace and tranquility with the Muslim majority. The clearest example of this peaceful coexistence can be found in Bethlehem: you will see that Omar’s mosque faces the Church of Nativity on the opposite side of the Manger Square, in the city center. Subsequently, people will not be surprised if you tell them you are a Christian, even in cities like Hebron in which the population is 99% Muslim. Furthermore, Palestinian Christian are a very diverse group which include many cults: Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, some branches of Protestantism and so on.

If you are a Christian you will have plenty of things to visit during your stay here in Palestine. In Hebron, you will find the al-Maskobia church and the Tombs of the Patriarchs, which hosts the sepulchers of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah. In Bethlehem, important sights are the Church of Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, the Milk Grotto, where the Holy Family found refuge during the slaughter of the innocents. Jerusalem (in Arabic, al-Quds) is indeed full of sites worth of pilgrimage as well: the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Via Crucis are a must for a Christian believer.

In addition to that, not only isn’t being Christian a problem, but it also grants you some privileges. Christians are welcome anywhere, both Israel and the West Bank, and you can be sure about the fact that no one is going to ask questions about your religion at any checkpoint. Palestinian people will welcome you very friendly and warmly, as Nick, 21 years old from Utah, “I felt completely comfortable being a Christian among all the Palestinians. Many of them had very nice things to say about other Christians and they enjoyed my company very much.”

In conclusion, being a Christian in Palestine will affect your stay in Palestine in a positive way. After all, isn’t Palestine the cradle of Christianity as well?