CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION STATUS
Religious affiliation in Israel is divided between Judaism (75%), Islam (16.9%), Christian (2%), Druze (1.7%), and others (3.8%). In the West Bank, Muslims (mostly Sunni) comprise 75% of the population, Jews 17%, and Christians and others 8%. In the Gaza Strip, 99.3% of the population is Muslim (mainly Sunni) and Christians 0.7% (CIA World Factbook).
Social unrest dominates the tensions between Palestinians and Jews and regional tensions, such as rocket attacks by the Lebanon-based militant Hezbollah party. A key issue is the continued expansion of Israeli settlements on land claimed by Palestinians and settlers’ freedom to come and go without the military restrictions Palestinians experience. The lack of access to land for Palestinians, including the restrictions caused by Israel’s security barrier, adds to their economic difficulties. Unemployment rates contrast sharply with those for Israelis. In the Gaza Strip, some 38% of people live below the poverty line (CIA World Factbook).
Besides a few local channels, Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip have access to multiple channels via satellite TV. Israel’s press is the only one in the region rated ‘free’ by Freedom House. SAT-7 programming is watched by Arabic speakers in the Holy Land.
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