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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Holy Landís only Christian TV station closescomment (0)

January 3, 2008


BETHLEHEM, West Bank — Nativity Television, the only Christian television station in the Holy Land, has been forced to shut down for lack of funding. Known in Arabic as “al-Mahed,” the 11-year-old station broadcast a mix of Arabic-language church services, films and talk shows out of a studio near the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
The station owner, Samir Qumsieh, is a Greek Orthodox Christian who has been an advocate for the Christian community in Bethlehem, which has been declining in number for several years. He said Christians are leaving the West Bank because of economic problems and pressure from Islamist groups. By several estimates, the Christian population of Bethlehem stands at less than 20 percent today, down from about 90 percent in the 1940s. Unemployment stands at about 65 percent.

“Emigration is our great nightmare,” Qumsieh said. He said he would now look for work abroad, just like his four brothers had done.
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