Ethnicities in the Holy Land
The Armenian population counts to around 12,000 Armenians in the Holy Land today. There are a few Armenian Catholics and Armenian Evangelists, but the majority is the Armenian Orthodox which is under the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem. Churches like Saint Elias (in Haifa) and Saint Nicolas (in Jaffa) and Saint James’s Cathedral (in Jerusalem) all belong to the Armenian Patriarchate.
In this region particularly, Bedouins are a group of people living in rural areas, mostly the Negev desert down south. They currently count around 240,000 in the Negev region. Their basic needs such as water and food are limited. Between 1968 and 1989, many towns were built in the North East of Negev specifically for the reallocation of Bedouins. Others were and remain today unrecognized officially by the government of Israel. There are some in the Galilee up north but most of them if not all settle in recognized urban areas. Today, much less Bedouin camps are erected in the desert and across the country, but the ones already present are expanding and prospering in order to get recognized sooner rather than later.
The Druze people are one of the minorities of Israel mainly living in the north of the country. They are officially recognized as a separate religious entity with its own norms and values. Their culture and language is Arabic (coming from the Levant). We can find Druze people that are Christian, Muslim or Jewish, all adapting the monotheistic religion. Concerning cultural and religious sites, there are none at present that belong to the Druze, but they do institute gatherings and reunions at significant sites to discuss community affairs and to celebrate holidays.
The Jewish people are the evident majority in the Land. There are several religious beliefs among the Jewish people such as “Haredim” (Ultra Orthodox), traditionalists, Conservatives, “Hiloni” and reformed Jews. Their main religious site is the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Significant Jewish population centers such as Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem are continuously thriving in all aspects like technology, agriculture and economy. They majorly adapt the “Kashrut” which is a religious dietary law and have their holy day on “Shabbath” – Saturday. Population reach is approximately 6.5 million.
Palestinians come in as the second majority in the country, reaching 1.8 million spread across the region. The two main religions are Islam and Christianity living is dense like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Nazareth. Both also have important religious sites like the Aqsua Mosque for Muslims and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for Christians. Just like the usual adopted weekly holiday, the Christians have it on Sunday and Muslims have it on Friday.
They are very few in comparison to other ethnicities in Israel, reaching only 5000 today. We can find certain Circassian schools around the upper northern area of Israel that teach Circassian as well as English Arabic and Hebrew. They are strongly attached to their culture, just like other ethnicities, celebrating an annual Circassian festival in August at Reyhaniye to expand the knowledge of their culture. There also traditional Circassian dishes made by local Circassians that are worth trying.
They are also part of the various ethnicities in Israel. Today, the Samaritans, mainly settle in Nablus and in Tel Aviv, reaching only 800 residents. They comprise several lineages that were present in the land’s History. While the Samaritan communities in both the West Bank’s Nablus and Israeli Holon have assimilated to the surrounding respective cultures, Hebrew has become the primary domestic language for Samaritans.