'Witness in the Holy Land' by Dr Maria Khounry

 JERUSALEM - 26 September 2003 - 364 words

A collection of first-hand accounts of life in the dwindling Christian community in the Holy Land has been issued this week.

'Witness in the Holy Land' by Dr Maria Khounry is a collection of pieces first published in the Olive Branch, the internet newsletter from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The new book has been was printed to bring awareness to the Housing Project in the village of Taybeh, the only Christian village remaining today in Palestine.

For the last few years, Maria Khoury, who holds several degrees including a Doctorate, is a volunteer for the St George Greek Orthodox Church of Taybeh and is raising money to build houses for homeless parish members. The Orthodox Housing Project will help improve the living conditions of thirty families and sustain the Orthodox Christian community in Taybeh for years to come.

The author hopes funds raised by the book will help the Taybeh housing project build at least one home for a needy family.

Christians are now less than 2% of the total three million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Most Christians in the Holy Land are Orthodox Christians and can trace their roots back to the early church. The wars, poor economy, lack of educational opportunities and the Israeli occupation are forcing them to leave in catastrophic numbers.

Maria's husband David, is a Christian Palestian. After being educated abroad, he returned to his home village of Taybeh and is helping to boost the Palestinian economy by producing the first and only micro-brewed beer in the Middle East.

Taybeh Beer was founded and established by the Khoury family and is the first Palestinian product to receive franchise and be produced in Germany under the Taybeh beer license.

The last three years the Holy Land has been devastated by the Israeli military occupation and the constant bloodshed and violence so the brewery operates less than 15% of its capacity.

For more information about the book, which is being sold at 14.99 US dollars, contact: Maria Khoury, PO Box 867, Ramallah, Palestine via Israel

e-mail: khourymaria@hotmail.com

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