Beit Sahour is a small, West Bank city lying directly to the east of Bethlehem. About 80% of the population of 15,000 is made up of Christians of various denominations, while the other 30% is Muslim.
Beit Sahour is known as "Shepherds' Fields", since it is believed to be the place where the angel appeared to the shepherds to convey the good news of Jesus' birth more than two thousands years ago. There are now two sites that are claimed by the Greek Orthodox Church and the Latin Church, i.e. Roman Catholic, to be the place where the shepherds were watching over their flocks when the angel appeared. Regardless of whether or not one of these places – or even a third, unknown place – marks the true location of the Angel's appearance, both the Catholic and Orthodox sites serve as a wonderful remembrance of the joyful happening.
Alongside tourism, the economy is largely based on the manufacture of religious objects carved out of olive-wood as well as fine art made from mother of pearl. Nevertheless, the city suffers noticeably from the political and economic relationship between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Unemployment is high and job wages low.