Published: 00:01 GMT Standard Time - Tuesday 06 March 2012
Lent Prayer - Holy Land
Project(s): 65-420, 65-377
Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Holy Land
The familiar story of the life of the infant Jesus and His family’s desperate flight to escape King Herod’s plans to destroy Him resonates today in the experience of Christ’s people in Bethlehem, and throughout the Holy Land. Their homeland has long been racked by wars and uprisings generated by competing claims to the territory, and they are caught in a conflict that is not of their making. In many places they live amidst violence and acute insecurity.
|Barnabas provides food parcels
to help Christian families meet their basic needs in the land where our Lord Jesus Himself lived
For example, in the 1950s, 90% of Bethlehem’s population were Christian, but today, the Christian population is estimated at only 30%. The economy of Bethlehem is heavily dependent on the tourist trade, but after the second Palestinian intifada (uprising) began in 2000, tourist numbers dropped. Many Christians were employed in the tourist trade and therefore lost their jobs. Tourism has now begun to pick up in Bethlehem, and at present, more Christians have employment than at any time since 2000. Despite this, living conditions in the Bethlehem area are not easy, and Christians can also face discrimination and other pressures. Prices are also continuously rising.
Christians living in the Gaza Strip have been under the rule of the Islamist group Hamas since 2007. Their daily lives are extremely difficult. Several Christian stores and schools have been vandalised by Muslim extremists, and Christians are regularly harassed and intimidated. The Hamas government says it is committed to protecting the Christian minority, but no arrests have been made, and so crimes against Christians go largely unpunished and under-reported.
The number of Messianic Jews is small but growing and is estimated at approximately 10,000. They can experience violence, harassment and discrimination from Orthodox Jewish groups.
Barnabas Aid projects include:
- Christian school in Bethlehem (Ref. 65-420)
- Needy Christians in the Holy Land (Ref. 65-377)
This article is taken from
“Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent 2012” -.