News in Brief

A Pilgrimage Reception Centre Begun at the Sheperds' Field

Located in Beit Sahour, a stone's throw from Bethlehem, the Shepherds’ Field is one of the flagship sanctuaries for pilgrims, where Christian tradition commemorates the proclamation of the Saviour’s birth to the shepherds (Lk 2:8-16). The constant lack of space, especially during Christmas celebrations, forced the Custody to enlarge and redevelop the site: 10 chapels were built thanks to donations from different countries, as well as a sacristy and a reception and catering area for pilgrims.


Churches Stand Against a British Embassy in Jerusalem

"This is a decision that would harm the peace process." That says it all. In a joint statement issued on October 10, the Patriarchs and heads of the 13 Christian churches in the Holy Land said they did not want to hear about any plans to move the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They expressed "their deep concern," saying it would violate the holy city's "special status" and "holy character" and fuel tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. The consideration of such a project was raised last month by British Prime Minister Liz Truss during an informal discussion with her Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid, while they were attending the United Nations General Assembly on September 21. Such a relocation of the embassy is reminiscent of former US President Donald Trump's controversial decision in 2018 to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.


Schools in Jerusalem Begin to Teach Arabic

Nearly 30 schools in the city will begin teaching Arabic to Jewish students. According to Madrasa, the organization that oversees the program, 95 % of Jewish Israelis cannot communicate in Arabic. This is despite the fact that 22% of Israel's total population speaks Arabic as its mother tongue. According to the mayor of Jerusalem, speaking at the launch of the educational program, the goal is to reduce linguistic and social barriers between East Jerusalem, which is predominantly Arabic-speaking, and the western part of the city, which is predominantly Jewish and Hebrew. Rather than literary Arabic, which is less widely used, the Palestinian dialect will be taught.

Source: Times of Israel

Jews are Only 47% in Israel and Palestine

Statistical percentages are always a subject of careful study. Arnon Soffer, professor of geography at the University of Haifa, has shown that Jews are in fact a minority of the total population of Israel and the Palestinian territories, if one relates the number of Jews to the total population of these regions and includes those people who live in the area without Israeli citizenship (expatriates, religious).  According to him, they represent 46 to 47% of the inhabitants of the area stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. He suggests that the Israeli population is not aware of the democratic danger into which the country is sinking by becoming a minority in the region.

Source: Times of Israel


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