Gaza churches are in jeopardy
Gaza’s Christian community is struggling to survive after years of steady decline in numbers. Only an estimated 1,000 Christian remain in the Gaza Strip, an area of more than 2 million residents and that is third most densely populated political unit in the world.
Christians are exiting the territory due to a combination of factors including a squeezing Israeli blockade, economic woes, and internal pressures faced from radical Islamist factions in the Hamas-controlled territory.
Christians of all denominations have played an important and out-sized influence on healthcare, education and business in the Gaza Strip for centuries. Today, among evangelicals, only one known Protestant church continues, it’s leadership struggling to lead its flock ever since the Bible Society’s Christian bookstore’s manager was martyred in 2007 by local Islamist militants; this was followed by an exodus of church leaders.
The Greek (which make up most of Gaza’s Christians in numbers) and Catholic churches face daily pressures from the ruling administration of Hamas’ Islamization efforts while at the same time suffering from the negative economic and restricted movement effects that come with the Israeli blockade of Gaza.