Israel to ease restrictions on Palestinian Christians over Christmas

IDF official meets Christian leaders in east Jerusalem; thousands expected to converge on Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity.

December 24, 2013 10:03
Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem prepared for Christmas, Dec. 23, 2013

Church of the Nativity in Brthlehem 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Israel will permit 21,000 Christian residents of the West Bank and 5,000 Christians from the Gaza Strip to enter the country during the Christmas holiday, according to Israel Radio.

The announcement was made late Monday night by the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories, IDF Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, during a meeting he held with Christian leaders in east Jerusalem.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Dangot was quoted by Israel Radio as saying that the defense establishment will ease restrictions on Palestinian movement in the territories in order to enable Christians to celebrate the holiday in a way that is "fitting."

The IDF traditionally decreases its activities in the Bethlehem area around the holiday in order to facilitate Christmas celebrations among the Christian community. Pilgrims usually make their way to Bethlehem from Jerusalem.

Tens of thousands of tourists are expected to visit the country this Christmas, many of them Christian pilgrims.

Midnight Christmas mass at the 1,700-year-old Church of the Nativity, constructed at the spot where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, attracts thousands of worshipers every year.

Related Content

August 31, 2014
Rioting resumes throughout east Jerusalem Saturday night