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Bethlehem Emigration and Diaspora Relations

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Chapter Summary

For more than three generations of Bethlehem Christians emigration has represented a gateway to better, safer and wealthier lives in other parts of the world. This chapter focuses on emigration as an economic strategy and as a response to shifting realities since late Ottoman times. It shows how certain events in Palestine have triggered large-scale emigration in different periods, and how, with time, Palestinian Christians have established extensive family networks throughout the Americas and later in Europe. With the aid of individual and family histories, the chapter illustrates the need for a transnational approach to understanding the historical developments of emigration as a way of life, and as a response to local hardships among Palestinian Christians. In looking at the role and impact of emigration from Bethlehem, the chapter explores the relationship between a global Bethlehem diaspora and the home community in Bethlehem.

Keywords: Bethlehem diaspora; Christian emigration; economic strategy; Europe; late Ottoman times; Palestine; transnational approach



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