Despite its marked decline throughout the Middle East, the Christian population is growing in Israel, a country with provisions regarding freedom of worship for all of its citizens. According to figures released by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, around 175,000 Christians live in Israel, comprising about 2 percent of the country’s total population. Most of Israel’s Christians are Arabs (around 77 percent), and live in the northern part of the country. By contrast, there are around 1,000 Christians remaining in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, down 50% from when Israel controlled the territory. The historic city of Bethlehem, where Jesus was believed to have been born, has witnessed a similar decline in the Christian population since the Palestinian Authority took over its leadership, as its constituency is down from 80% to 12%.