JERUSALEM (AP) — In a story Sept. 6, The Associated Press reported that the Christian population of the Holy Land has shrunk over the decades. Since Israel's founding in 1948, the country's Christian population has grown, albeit at a lower rate than the Jewish and Muslim populations, and in part with a boost by immigration from the former Soviet Union, according to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics. But the Christian community has dramatically shrunk in percentage terms when compared to other religions. According to the Vatican, Christians constituted 10 percent of the Holy Land's population before the war surrounding Israel's establishment. Today, they are just under 2 percent of Israel's population, according to official figures. The Vatican also estimates the Christian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to be below 2 percent of the overall population. The Vatican and Christian experts say the community has suffered from a lower birthrate than other sectors as well as emigration by people fleeing conflict or seeking better opportunities abroad.
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