04/12/2023, 19.05
Send to a friend

Orthodox Easter: Israel cancels travel permits for Gaza Christians

The Saint Porphyrios Orthodox Church announces the cancellation on social media. Israel has given no reason for its decision. At least 700 Christians got a travel permit to go to Jerusalem. Recent tensions with Gaza, Lebanon and Syria are the probable cause.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Religious freedom for Christians in Gaza and the Holy Land suffered another blow at a time of high tensions and repeated attacks against symbolic sites and places of worship.

As celebrations for Orthodox Easter get underway, Israeli authorities cancelled travel permits granted to Gaza Christians planning to go to Jerusalem and the West Bank for the festivity and to visit relatives.

The Saint Porphyrios Orthodox Church in Gaza posted the news on its Facebook page after receiving information from the Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs. So far, the Israeli government has not given any reason for its decision.

According to local sources, recent tensions on Israel's borders with Gaza, Lebanon and Syria are the likely reason for the cancellation. Over the past week, multiple rockets have been fired at Israel while Israeli planes have struck targets across the border.

The National News, a news website based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), reports that Israel had issued about 700 permits for Gazan Christians.

A similar number was granted for Christmas, as Jerusalem Patriarch of the Latins Pierbattista Pizzaballa told AsiaNews, but according to him, for this Easter, ”just under 200” permits were issued.

Orthodox Easter is celebrated a week later than Catholic Easter, 16 April instead of 9 April.

Although the Gaza Strip is ruled by Hamas, local Christians who wish to travel to Jerusalem and West Bank locations like Bethlehem for Christmas or Easter must apply for an Israeli permit, allowing them to attend religious services as well as visit families and friends.

Gaza Christians numbered around 3,000 ten years ago, but are now down to an estimated 1,000, mostly Greek Orthodox with some Catholics (Holy Family parish) and Protestants.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Pain and grief in Jerusalem for Christian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
12/05/2022 14:26
Patriarch Pizzaballa's visit to Gaza to heal the wounds of war
15/06/2021 13:37
Palestinian worried about escalation, as occupation remains unresolved
21/04/2022 16:35
Christmas: Archbishop Pizzaballa notes that Christ was born for the heart of man, not power
24/12/2019 15:00
Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
24/06/2016 13:47


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”