Does Israel Persecute Christians?

Tucker Carlson suggests so in a new interview, but the facts tell a different story.

What’s happening: Tucker Carlson released an interview with a pastor from Bethlehem to argue Israel oppresses Christians.

  • Missing context: Bethlehem is under the civil and security control of the Palestinian Authority (P.A.), not Israel. Additionally, the pastor who was interviewed commended the “strength” of Hamas terrorists one day after the October 7 attack.

In Israel: There are more than 200,000 Christians in Israel who have full civil and political rights, participate in government and civil society, and fight in the army alongside Jews.

  • The numbers: According to a 2021 poll, 84 percent of Christians in Israel say they are satisfied with life there.

  • Outside Israel: A century ago, Christians made up 20 percent of the Middle East and North Africa region; today, it is only 4 percent. Persecution and murder of Christians are pervasive in places where Islamist groups or governments gain power, but Carlson has not drawn attention to their plight.

In Bethlehem: In the few short decades since Israel withdrew from the West Bank city in the 1990s, Christian persecution by the P.A. changed Bethlehem’s composition from more than 80 percent Christian to 80 percent Muslim.

  • The details: A Muslim from Hebron was appointed Bethlehem’s mayor and expanded the city’s boundaries to create a Muslim majority.

  • Also: In 2002, Palestinian terrorists orchestrated an armed takeover of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem — holding a priest and nuns against their will — to hide from an Israeli counterterrorism operation.

  • Gaza: After Hamas took power in Gaza in the late 2000s, two-thirds of the Christians fled. The pastor is correct to note, however, that the current war has taken a significant humanitarian toll on the Christian community — just as it has on all communities in the strip.

Join the conversation

or to participate.