- Jul 24, 2021
Mahmoud Hawari, director of the Palestinian Museum in the West Bank, says olive wood carving has been a livelihood for Holy Land Christians in Bethlehem since the fourth century A.D., the Byzantine period. Christians there hope the new conflict created by President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem doesn’t scare tourists away.
The Holy Land Family Hospital of Bethlehem, operated by the Order of Malta, helps deliver about 70 percent of Bethlehem’s babies.
The fourth annual Holy Land Festival was held July 15 in Washington. The festival cultivates a conversation of hope around the Holy Land, with many groups coming together to engage visitors with the situation of Christians and of peace in the Holy Land.
The Church of the Nativity, built by Roman Emperor Constantine in the fourth century, sits in Bethlehem above what’s believed to be the birthplace of Jesus. Since 2013, Italian experts have been working with the Palestinian government to overcome cultural and religious differences and forge ahead with an ambitious restoration.
In Bethlehem, a big white Christmas tree made of lights was set up in Nativity square and locals hope for conflict free holidays as they set up Santa Claus decorations and holiday light in their shops. After two years where political reality replaced holiday cheer, Christians dare to hope again.
This weekend Francis will become the fourth pope to visit Israel, and while the country is officially preparing to roll out the red carpet, there’s also alarm among organizers that the pontiff’s reception may not be uniformly positive. Some Israelis, for instance, have taken the pope’s schedule as an implied
Pope Francis leaves next Saturday for a brief but intense three-day outing to Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, and Israel, a region Christians traditionally call the “Holy Land.” He’ll become the fourth pope to make the trip, which is always a religious and political high-wire act. Four challenges await him, beginning