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Armenians in Israel are Armenians with Israelimarker citizenship. There are around one thousand Israeli-Armenians with Israeli citizenship, residing mainly in Jerusalemmarker, Tel Aviv Jaffamarker and Haifamarker. When taking into account the total number of Armenians in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, the Armenian community in Israel and the West Bankmarker added, the number of Armenian may total around four thousand.

The Armenian community has been resident in the Holy Land for two millennia. After the 1948 Arab–Israeli War and the establishment of the State of Israel, a number of Armenians residing in what had been the British Mandate of Palestine took up Israeli citizenship, whereas other Armenian residents of Old City of Jerusalemmarker and the territory captured by Jordanmarker took on the Jordanian nationality. .

Thus, after 1948, two groups of Armenians emerged:
  • Armenians with Israeli citizenship living within the borders of the newly established state of Israelmarker
  • Armenians with Jordanian nationality, in Jerusalem's Armenian Quartermarker, East Jerusalem, and the Armenians residing in the West Bank.


After the 1967 Six-Day War, the Armenian population specially in East Jerusalem and the West Bank saw important decrease in its numbers because of emigration.

Armenia–Israel relations

Diplomatic and trade relations

The Republic of Armenia has diplomatic relations with Israel. According to the CIA World Factbook, Armenia receives 4.8% of its imports from Israel, while Israel receives 7.1% of Armenia's exports.

Although both countries have diplomatic relations, neither maintains an embassy in the other country. Instead, Ambassador Ehud Moshe Eytam, the Israeli ambassador to Armenia is based in Tbilisimarker, Georgiamarker, and visits Yerevanmarker twice a month, while the Armenian ambassador to Israel stays in France.

The Armenian government keeps however a consulate in Jerusalem (at 1, Vitron street, Atolot Industrial Zone, Jerusalem). Consul Tsolak Momjian is Armenian Honorary Consul. Although the contemporary relations between Israelmarker and Armeniamarker are normally good, some anti-Armenian sentiments are still present.

Recognition of the Armenian Genocide

Armenians and Jews have both suffered genocide; the Armenians in World War I and the Jews in World War II. Some claim that it is only natural that there is affinity and understanding between the two nations.

However, since Turkey is a strategic partner of Israel and one of the few countries in the Middle East that recognizes Israel's right to exist, Israel has yet to recognize the Armenian Genocide. In the years following Armenia's independence, however, Israeli politicians, rabbis, and the country's small Armenian community have called on the Israeli government to do so. At the same time, Turkey has warned of harming ties with Israel if Israel or the United States recognizes the killings as genocide. As of 2008, there has been an ongoing debate regarding recognition in the Knessetmarker with Turkey lobbying hard to prevent it. According to The Jerusalem Post, "many Israelis are eager for their country to recognize the genocide".

Because of the warming of Israeli-Turkish relations and perceived indifference towards the issue of the Armenian Genocide, there were apparent frictions between the Jewish and Armenian communities, widely covered in both media worldwide, in particular based on some pro-Turkish declarations made by some Israeli politicians and diplomats about the Armenian Genocide.

Even the US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was involved in the controversy, after a bill came for discussion in the US Congressional committee about the Genocide. Later on, the ADL somewhat changed its stance about recognition of the Armenian Genocide and reversed its earlier statements in favor of a more accommodating pro-Armenian view.

Armenian Studies in Israel

The Institute of African and Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalemmarker established a chair of Armenian Studies program, specializing in study of Armenian language, literature, history and culture as well as the Armenian Genocide.

Religion

A great percentage of Armenians in Israel are Armenian Orthodox, with a very small number of Armenian Catholics and Armenian Evangelicals. The Armenian Orthodox remain under the jurisdiction of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the residing Patriarch under the auspices of Armenian Apostolic Church (See of Holy Echmiadzinmarker), whereas the Armenian Catholics are under the jurisdiction of the Armenian Catholic Church and Patriarchal Vicar (residing at Via Dolorosa 41 - Fourth Station).

The churches belonging to the Armenian Apostolic Church are St. Elias Church in Haifamarker and Saint Nicholas Churchmarker in Jaffamarker. Religious Israeli-Armenians also pray on special occasions in St. James Cathedralmarker (Sourp Hagopyants) at the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchremarker in Jerusalem (under joint jurisdiction of Armenian Church with other Christian churches) and the Church of the Nativitymarker in Bethlehemmarker (again under joint jurisdiction of the Armenian Church and other Christian churches). The Armenian Church also has the St. Gregory Monastery in Ramleh.

Armenians, whether in Israel, Jerusalem or the West Bank, celebrate the Birth of Christ (Christmas) and the Epiphany on a unique day, which is January 18.

It is noteworthy that fellow Armenian Orthodox communities in Republic of Armenia and worldwide celebrate Christmas and Epiphany on January 6th.

This difference between the celebration on January 6, worldwide and January 18 in Israel is because the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem still abides by the ancient Julian calendar, whereas the Armenian Apostolic Church has adopted the newer Gregorian calendar. The Armenian Catholics in Israel celebrate their Christmas on December 25, in line with all other Catholics of the Roman Catholic Church

See also



References

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