- Apr 18, 2021
It will be a quiet and subdued Christmas this year in Bethlehem, with almost 7,000 people involved in the tourism sector out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Bethlehem Mayor Anton Salman.
Only a few dozen people attended the lighting of the Christmas tree in the biblical city of Bethlehem on Saturday night, as coronavirus restrictions scaled back the annual event that is normally attended by thousands.
As the Christmas approaches, Franciscan Father Rami Asakrieh of St. Catherine Parish said he has been overwhelmed with requests for help — people have been out of work and with no income for almost nine months.
Israeli police arrested a Jewish man after he allegedly threw a firebomb inside the Basilica of All Nations at Gethsemane Church on the Mount of Olives Dec. 4.
When Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa makes his first entrance into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher as patriarch, he will continue the balancing act of representing everyone in the Holy Land.
The coronavirus has cast a pall over Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem, all but shutting down the biblical town revered as Jesus’ birthplace at the height of the normally cheery holiday season.
The year, the Christmas tradition of the Peace Light of Bethlehem continues, despite COVID-19 restrictions and border and church closures.
The Palestinian Health Ministry has recommended strict limits on Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.