The last Christian village in the Holy Land
This week, veteran 60 Minutes producer Harry Radliffe threw Overtime a real plum: the story of Taybeh.
He and correspondent Bob Simon stumbled on the tiny village of Taybeh while they were in the West Bank, reporting on the Holy Land’s vanishing population of Christians.
What makes Taybeh the last all-Christian village in the Holy Land? The village has no mosque and is home to three distinct Christian communities: Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Melkite Greek Catholics.
Taybeh’s roots are deep, and for Christians, important: the biblical name of the village is Ephraim. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ came to Taybeh from Jerusalem before his crucifixion. John 11:54 states: "Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples."
The name of the village was changed from Ephraim to Taybeh around 1187, by the Islamic leader Saladin.
Today, Taybeh’s population is dwindling, down to around 1500. The majority of Christians there are Greek Orthodox.
But have faith. The town’s resident Roman Catholic priest, Father Raed Abu Sahlia, isn’t going anywhere. As he told Bob Simon with a smile:
"I will assure you that even if all the Christians of the Holy Land will leave, and I will remain alone, I will get married, we will start another new generation."
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