National Geographic : 1996 Sep
Dwindling year by year, Arab Christians are also a minority in Gaza, as they are throughout the Holy Land. The Greek Orthodox church in Gaza City still gets a good turnout on Palm Sunday (below), but many Christians are discouraged by the lack of economic opportunity and feel threatened by the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. One Christian friend, however, is doing very well in his busi ness -supplying satellite dishes to the wealthy families of Gaza. I ran into him recently, and he said, "Business is great, but I'm getting out-if and when I can get a visa." "But don't you want to stay and build your country?" I asked. "No way," he replied. "You see that grass over there? It's just like Hamas. You cut it, it grows back even stronger." Introduced to Gaza in the first decades after Christ, Christianity has coexisted with Islam here since the seventh century, when a wave of Muslim expansion reached the Mediterranean. Today Christians in Gaza num ber perhaps 3,000 and are renowned as merchants and artisans of gold.