Only two isolated Christian families remain in the Israeli-held part of the Golan Heights on the strategic plateau on the Sea of Galilee where Jesus walked on water. Once, this village contained 600 Christians and 300 Druze but with the outbreak of war most Christians fled and were unable to return. The church in the center of the village rarely opens its doors but Christians from the area have come to visit in solidarity with the two families. Without such visits, this small Christian community and their church would have faded into oblivion. Without support, many other Christian communities could disappear from their historic homes in the Middle East. Many Middle Eastern Christians feel they no longer have a home to come back to.
06/30/2017 Golan Heights (i24 News) – Few Christians remain on the Israeli-held part of the strategic plateau northeast of the Sea of Galilee, where Christians believe Jesus walked on water.
Only two isolated Christian families still live there, according to the families themselves and a researcher on the Golan Heights.
Their churches open only on rare occasions, such as for a recent solidarity visit by Arabs from the Israeli cities of Haifa and Nazareth.
Without such visits and the perseverance of the Adibs, the last Christian family left in the village of Ein Qiniye, the Maronite church perched on hills overlooking the Sea of Galilee would have faded into oblivion.
Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.
Before that, says Assaf Adib, 57, about 600 Christians and 300 Druze lived in the village but with the outbreak of war most of the Christians fled westward to the disputed Shebaa Farms area along the Lebanon-Israel ceasefire line.
In Ein Qiniye today, he says there are 1,800 Druze — an offshoot of Shiite Islam — while the Christian population has shrunk to the 12 members of his family.