Hundreds of Jerusalem Christians are loosing residency rights in their City due to policies of the Israeli Ministry of Interior. The policy that aims to reduce the number of non-Jews in the City takes its toll on families and individuals who hold residency permits at foreign countries. No matter how long they travel abroad, no matter if they were born in Jerusalem before or after Israel occupied East Jerusalem , they are considered visitors in their own city.
Palestinian Christians who make today not more than 9,000 will lose 15% of their population as a result of this policy. While Jews from all over the world and even converts to Judaism are allowed to immigrate to Israel under the Israeli “Law of Return”, the indigenous Jerusalemites are considered temporary residents. Originally, Seven years of being out of Jerusalem was the deadline for losing one’s right to live in his own city. Now, only a proof of residency in another country is enough for Israel to consider Jerusalem as not “the center of life” for this person or family and thus deny them the right of living in their home town once they travel abroad.
In addition to this particular policy, the Israeli authorities are still implementing other regulations aiming at further decreasing the numbers of Palestinian, Christians and Moslems, in Jerusalem . From freezing the law of family reunion to impossible requirements for building in the city, to the Separation Wall that separated hundreds from the center of Jerusalem . Palestinian Christians of the city will soon lose half of their population.
The local Churches in Jerusalem are gravely concerned, and join the call of their communities to put an end to Israel’s policies and refuse any kind of exclusivity over the City. At this stage Israel cannot be entrusted in the fate of this Holy City and its people. The International and Christian Communities need to act fast to defuse Israeli policies at the highest level.
We want peace and justice in the Holy Land , where followers of all faiths will live in dignity and their rights will be preserved. And we believe that the international community can help us make it happen.
Laity Committee in the Holy Land
Tel: 054 779 7719 -050 5545 179