Palestine Culture and Religion


Culturally, Palestine belongs to the Arab world, the countries of which are connected with each other through Standard Arabic as a common language and through shared values, traditions, customs, knowledge and experiences.

There is a wealth of Palestinian folk art, including music, dance, singing, handicrafts and handicrafts, as well as addicting culinary arts.

Bethlehem is famous for its mother-of-pearl work, Hebron for the manufacture of glass (mainly in blue), Jerusalem since the beginning of the 20th century for Armenian ceramics.

Among the most famous Palestinian writers and poets include Suad Amiry, Samira Azzam, Liana Badr, Mourid Barghouti, Ahmed Dahbour, Mahmoud Darwish, Emil Habibi, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, Ghassan Kanafani, Sayed Kashua, Sahar Khalifa, Zakaria Mohammed, Ibrahim Nasrallah, Samih al -Qasim, Adania Shibli, Mahmoud Shukair, Fadwa Touqan, Ibrahim Touqan,Ghassan Zaqtan, Tawfiq Zayyad and May Ziadeh. For many of them, the focus of their work is the loss of home, alienation, the search for identity and / or life under occupation.

According to RECIPESINTHEBOX, the painters Sliman Mansour, Ismail Shammout and Ayman Essa, the performance artists Raeda Saadeh and Khaled Jarrar, the directors Hany Abu Assad, Annemarie Jacir, Mai Masri, Elia Suleiman and Sameh Zoabi, the singers Rim Banna are also known far beyond the borders and Amal Murkus, the oudplayer trio Joubran, the hip hop group Dam and the band Apo & the Apostels, founded in 2012 in Bethlehem.

The most famous Palestinian draftsman is Naji el Ali. He died in 1987 in London as a result of an assassination attempt. His trademark was the “Handala”, a little boy who always turned his back on the reader and represented the displeasure the artist felt when looking at the political and social situation of the Palestinians.

The Palestinian cultural scene is very diverse, despite the difficult situation. The monthly magazine This Week in Palestine provides up-to- date information from and into the scene and is available free of charge in many locations.

There are numerous exciting cultural projects and cultural institutions in the East Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem areas in particular. These include the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, the Ashtar Theater and the Kasaba Theater in Ramallah, the Popular Art Center (PAC) in El-Bireh, the International Meeting Center (Dar Annadwa) in Bethlehem and the Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, The Palestinian National Theater Al Hakawati and Palestinian Art Court-Al Hoash in East Jerusalem. The Goethe Institute in Ramallah also organizes interesting cultural events. Yabous Productions in East Jerusalem holds the Jerusalem Festival once a year. After 25 years in East Jerusalem, the Al Quds Cinema reopened in February 2012 and the Palestinian Heritage Museum of Dar al-Tifel opened in May 2012 . Birzeit University’s virtual gallery gives an overview of the rich Palestinian art scene and current exhibitions. The Palestinian Museum in Birzeit was opened in May 2016. In November 2016, the Yasser Arafat Museum opened in Ramallah right behind his grave. The focus of the exhibition is the history of the Middle East conflict and Palestine. There is also the Freedom Theater in Jenin and inYes Theater in Hebron.

Palestine Culture


In terms of religion, too, the Palestinians are not a homogeneous people. The Muslims make up about 98.5% of the population. Most of them belong to the Sunni direction of Islam. All four Sunni schools of law, ie those of the Hanafis, Malikites, Hanbalites and Shafiites, are represented, with the Hanafi school of law predominating.

There is also an ever decreasing number of Palestinian Christians (around 1,100 of whom live in the Gaza Strip) and more than 350 Samaritans in Kiryat Luza on Mount Gerizim near Nablus, if you consider the more than 656,000 Jewish-Israeli Refrains from settlers who – illegally under international law – live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Christians are strongly represented in the Palestinian upper class and make up 2/3 of the Palestinian middle class. Because of this socio-economic profile, there is an extremely high rate of emigration among Christians in Palestine. The main reasons for this were the uncertain (security) political situation and a lack of job opportunities.

Christians and Muslims share the same historical experience of flight, displacement and occupation as well as a very long positive tradition of Christian-Muslim coexistence on the basis of the Omar Pact of 638.

On the other hand, their own social group – especially since the Second Intifada – has increasingly become the frame of reference for the Palestinians. Contacts outside the own group are rare and often not wanted by the members. (This also includes Christian-Muslim love relationships.) So each religious group usually remains for itself.