On Christmas Eve
of 2012 the Christian population in Israel numbers 158,000 and comprises 2% of the Israeli population, according to data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics
(CBS) on Sunday.
A whopping 80.6% of Christians are of Arab ethnicity while the rest are originally from the former Soviet Union having
made aliyah together with their Jewish family members under the Law of Return.
The CBS data revealed that 71% of Arab Christians
reside in the northern district of the country, 13% in the Haifa
district and only 9.5% in the Jerusalem area.
Most Christian Arabs reside in the north (Photo: Ziv Reinstein)
Non-Arab Christians on the other hand were more evenly distributed, with 38.6% residing in Tel Aviv and the central districts, 34.7% in the north and Haifa, 14% in the south and 11.6% in the Jerusalem area.
The communities with the largest number of Arab Christian residents were Nazareth with 22,400, Haifa with 14,400, Jerusalem with 11,700 and Shfaram with 9,400.
In contrast, non-Arab Christians were concentrated in three major cities: Haifa, with a population of 3,400, Jerusalem with 3,000 and Tel Aviv with 2,900.
In terms of child-birth, in 2011 the average number of children born to a Christian mother stood at 2.2, and was the lowest birth rate among all religious groups in Israel. In comparison, a Muslim woman will bear an average of 3.5 children during her lifetime, a Jewish woman 3.0 and a Druze 2.3.
The CBS noted that when taking into account the data recorded over the years, Christian Arabs fared the best in terms of education in comparison to any other group receiving an education in Israel.
For example, in 2011 the number of Arab Christian students eligible for a high-school diploma stood at 64% in comparison to only 48% among Muslim children, 55% among Druze and 59% in the Jewish education system in general.
They were also the vanguard in terms of eligibility for higher education. Some 56% of Arab Christians, compared with 50% of Jewish students; 36% of Druze students and 34% of Muslims received a high school diploma that met the basic demands of Israeli universities.
In the 2011/2012 school year, some 5,700 students affiliated with Christianity studied in one of Israel's higher education institutes and comprised 1.8% of Israel's student population.