Published January 3, 2008
(BP) — 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. He said Christians are leaving the West Bank because of economic problems and pressure from Islamist groups. By one estimate, the Christian population of Bethlehem is 40 percent today, down from about 90 percent in the 1940s.
“Emigration is our great nightmare,” Qumsieh told the Guardian Unlimited news service. He said he would now look for work abroad, just like his four brothers had done.
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