Beit Jala, Palestine, lies only two kilometers from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Its name comes from Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, and means "grass carpet". The city is considered to be one of oldest in Palestine, and its' first municipal council was established in 1912.
Beit Jala is the home for about 15,670 people of Palestinian Christians and Muslims living together in harmony, respect and cooperation as a great example of coexistence between religions. Many of its citizens were forced to flee during the past century due to poverty and armed conflict in the area. The estimated number of the expatriates and their ancestors of Beit Jala living in Chile, Central and South America in addition to the United States is approximately 100,000 people.
Beit Jala is famous for its religious, educational and health organizations that serve the citizens of the city, the neighboring cities of Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and all nearby villages and refugee camps. In addition, there are several organizations for children, women and youth care, not to forget to mention the several resorts and tourist sites in the city that represent one of the most significant means of businesses for the city.
Beit Jala City consists of five neighborhoods; each of which includes several families as follows:
1. As Sama'na Neighborhood, which includes three families: As Sama'na, Al Hseinat and Atha'albah.
2. As Sarar Neighborhood which includes ten families: Ash Shamamsa, Al 'Ararfa, Ar Rzooz, Al Khuwara, Ath Throuf, Al Jirban, Al mutasaribon, Al Khirfan, Ad Daqamqa, and Al Qatatna.
3. Al Iraq Neighborhood, which includes three families: An Nawawiya, Al Ghawali and Hseinat Al Iraq.
4. Ad Deir Neighborhood, which includes five families: Al 'Asatna, Al Ghneimat, Al Habahba, Al Mafadwa and Al Marawna.
5. Al Knees Neighborhood, which includes four families: Al Jweijat, Ash Shamara, An Naqawla and Al Qasasfa.
The population of Beit Jala City
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) shows that the total population of Beit Jala in 2007 was (13,845) whom 6,859 are males and 6,986 are females. There are 3,093 households living in 3,917 housing units. (excluding the areas of Beir Una and khalet Hamameh)
According to the statistics of 2012 the total population of Beit Jala city is (15,670) including the areas of Beir una with a total population of (761) and Khalet Hamameh area with a total population of (1601).
Age Groups and Gender:
The distribution of age groups in Beit Jala according to the PCBS in 2007 is as follows:
31 percent are less than 15years, 59.3 percent are between 15 - 64 years, 6.1 percent are 65 years and older, and 3.6percent are unknown. Data also showed that the sex ratio of males to females in the city is 98.2:100, meaning that males constitute 49.5 percent of the population, and females constitute 50.5 percent of the population.