The United Nations has said that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020, due to the complete economic blockade imposed by Israel. Gaza is predominantly Muslim but is home to a small Christian community with roots that go back to biblical times.
Thirteen years ago, there were more than 5,000 Christians in Gaza, but the number has dwindled to 1,000, as a result of the Israeli blockade and the succeeding wars. Many who were able to leave did so. Sohail Aiadis, a Christian born and raised in Gaza, does not want to join them. “I won’t leave Gaza,” he says. “I love Gaza.”
Aiadis says the crisis caused by the Gaza blockade affects Christian and Muslim alike. He worries about the economic crisis, which has led to steep unemployment levels. He invested all of the resources he could in his children’s education, but two of his sons have been unable to find employment. The third son is employed by the Orthodox Church and is now the main provider for the extended family.
Church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza is affiliated with the Greek Orthodox Church. The number of Christians in Gaza now is around 1,000. MCC photo/Mostafa Al Naffar
Aiadis says help for Gaza will come “only from God.” He holds onto hope that the world will stand beside Gazans in seeking their freedom. His request: “Please help all the Palestinians, with no discrimination between Christians or Muslims. We are all people.”
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