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Israel (Including The West Bank And Gaza)Hostile
The decades-long conflict between the Israeli government and Palestinian authorities over the city of Jerusalem, the temple, the land and the status of Palestinian refugees remains among the world’s most volatile issues. During this conflict, both Jews and Muslims have been coming to faith in Christ despite their religions’ instructions to reject Christ as Lord and Savior. Christian activity is routinely opposed by Islamists among the Palestinian Arab populations of the West Bank and Gaza, and occasionally opposed by ultra-Orthodox and other anti-missionary Jews in Israel proper. Despite this opposition, some evangelical churches include both Jews who have accepted Christ as the Messiah and Arabs who have left Islam and placed their faith in Christ. Active ministry efforts among both groups involve Bible distribution, discipleship, evangelism, church planting and theological education. The Palestinian Authority maintains some control over the West Bank under Israeli federal authority, while the militant Muslim group Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. Both groups are adamantly opposed to Christian activity and indoctrinate their populace to hate the West, Jews and Christians.
The two major religions in Israel are Judaism and Sunni Islam, with Christians composing a 2 percent minority, including less than 1 percent evangelicals.
In Muslim regions, Christian converts from Islam face severe persecution from their families, society, Palestinian government authorities and Hamas. In Jewish communities, Jews who follow Christ risk rejection, social pressure and occasional violence from ultra-Orthodox Jews and organized anti-missionary groups.
What It Means To Follow Christ In Israel (Including The West Bank And Gaza)
Christian converts from Islam in the West Bank and Gaza face violence at the hands of their family members and local governments, which are run by the Palestinian authorities. Christians in Israel proper often experience family rejection, low social standing and limited hope of job advancement. Jewish anti-missionary groups, especially Yad L’Achim, sometimes protest outside churches, cursing Christians and vandalizing their buildings. The anti-missionary activities have at times included violence against Christians.
Access To Bibles:
Bible societies operate in Israel, including the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Christians have access to Bibles throughout the country, though they are dangerous for Christians or seekers to possess in Islamist-controlled areas. Give Bibles
VOM supports front-line workers in key regions, supports training for local churches and helps with Bible distributions. We also provide legal aid for Messianic (Christian) Jews who are harassed or deprived of their legal rights. Give to VOM’s Global Ministry
- Pray for Messianic congregations that have been increasingly targeted by anti-missionary groups.
- Pray for Christian families in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip who face continual pressure.
- Pray for Christian converts from Islam in Palestinian areas, especially those who have lost jobs.
- Pray for young believers from Orthodox Jewish backgrounds trying to restart their lives with little education.
- Pray for African congregations and other ethnic churches that face discrimination.