1 November, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 12/27/2010
ISRAEL – PALESTINE
Record number of pilgrims visits Bethlehem as thousands throng Manger Square for Mass
Israeli authorities say some 100,000 visitors took part in Christmas festivities this year, twice as many as last year. This was the merriest Christmas in the past ten years, since 28 September 2000 that is when the second intifada broke out. The area’s economy is also picking up steam.

Bethlehem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A record number of pilgrims took part in Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem as tens of thousands of the faithful crowded the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square. Israeli military officials, who coordinate movement in and out of the West Bank, said over 100,000 pilgrims came to the town since Christmas Eve, compared to about 50,000 last year.

They also said this was the merriest Christmas seen in Bethlehem in years with the highest number of visitors for the holiday since 2000 when the second intifada began.

There were so many people that many pilgrims had to follow Christmas services from Manger Square in front of the Basilica of the Nativity.

This year’s record comes after a rebound began five years ago as the level of violence between Israeli and Palestinians decreased.

At present, only a third of Bethlehem’s 50,000 residents is Christian. In 1950, Christians represented 75 per cent of the population, but war and economic hardships have pushed many to leave.

However, the local economy has been picking up and the recovery of religious tourism is an indication of the turnaround.

The town's 2,750 hotel rooms were booked solid for Christmas week, and town officials say more hotels are under construction.

Nevertheless, signs of past violence are everywhere. Visitors entering the town must cross through a massive metal gate in the separation barrier Israel built between Jerusalem and Bethlehem following a wave of Palestinian attacks a few years ago.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
11/30/2004 PALESTINE
Between old fears and new hopes, celebrating Advent in Bethlehem
12/27/2008 PALESTINE - ISRAEL
Tens of thousands of pilgrims in Bethlehem for Christmas
03/17/2010 PALESTINE
Palestinian Authority shuts down the only Christian TV broadcaster in the Territories
12/27/2013 PALESTINE
Gaza Christians banned from Bethlehem and celebrations even at Christmas
12/03/2008 EGYPT - PALESTINE
Hamas: no pilgrimage to Mecca for faithful of Gaza Strip

Editor's choices
IRAQ - ITALY
Letter from Archbishop of Mosul: Thank you for your aid, supporting the plight of refugees
by Amel NonaThe donations made through the "Adopt a Christian from Mosul" campaign are used to buy food, warm clothes, blankets for refugees and rent houses or caravans given the early onset of winter and. Two women have defended their Christian faith before the Islamist militants who wanted to convert them, despite the threat of death. A refugee among refugees, Msgr. Nona discovers a new way of being a pastor.
IRAQ - ITALY
Almost 700,000 euros raised as the 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraA second instalment is sent with funds raised in September. The fate of East-West relations is being played out in the Middle East and Iraq. Pope Francis and the Synod issue an appeal. Governments are lukewarm. Aid is coming from around the world. A new international community is defeating the "globalisation of indifference."
IRAQ-VATICAN
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": Archbishops’ thanks as first aid arrives
by Amel NonaMsgr. Amel Nona, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, who is also a refugee himself, thanks all the donors to the AsiaNews campaign. The situation is increasingly difficult given the huge number of refugees and the arrival of winter and snow, making outdoor shelters and tents impossible. The crisis, an occasion that activates the faith of Christians.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.