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Israel’s Christian Population Continues to Grow

On the eve of Christmas, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released figures showing that 177,000 Christians were citizens of the Holy Land as of the end of 2018, a growth of 1.5 percent over the previous year. Christians currently make up about 2% of Israel’s total population, with the largest communities located in Nazareth (21,900), Haifa (16,100) and Jerusalem (12,700). On Christmas, which commemorates the birth of Jesus, many Israeli Christians pray at the Church of the Nativity in West Bank city of Bethlehem, where historical accounts claim he was born. There are some 1.3 billion Roman Catholics worldwide in addition to some 1.1 billion Christians of other denominations. Together, Christianity remains the world’s most populous religion, with Islam coming in second with just under 2 billion adherents split between Sunnis and Shi’ites and other smaller sects. Meanwhile, there are an estimated 14 million Jews across the globe.