x

Travel

Israel to Give Gaza Christians Permits for Christmas Holiday

November 25, 2021

JERUSALEM — Israeli authorities on Wednesday said they would permit 500 members of the Gaza Strip’s tiny Christian community to enter Israel and the occupied West Bank to celebrate Christmas.

Israel has in the past allowed Gazans to exit the blockaded territory for Christmas, though the practice was frozen last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Movement out of Gaza also has been restricted since an 11-day war last May between Israel and the territory’s Hamas rulers. In recent months, however, Israel has begun to ease some of the restrictions, granting several thousand Gazans permits to work inside Israel as part of quiet, Egyptian attempts to broker a long-term cease-fire.

COGAT, the Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, announced the permits allowing people to visit relatives and holy sites in Israel and the West Bank. It said it was also increasing access to Jerusalem for Christians in the occupied West Bank and allowing some 200 Gazan Christians to travel through Israel to Jordan for journeys abroad.

Bethlehem, revered by Christians as the birthplace of Christ, is in the West Bank. The town is heavily dependent on tourism, but officials fear there will be few visitors this year due to the lingering effects of the pandemic.

About 1,000 Christians live in Gaza, a tiny fraction of the territory’s 2 million people. Most are Greek Orthodox, with Catholics making up about a quarter of the small community.

The ruling Islamic militant Hamas movement considers the Christians a protected minority. There had been a few attacks targeting Christians by Islamic zealots in the early years of Hamas’ takeover, but the Islamic movement has since worked to ensure such attacks don’t happen.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a tight blockade over Gaza since Hamas took control of the territory in 2007. Residents require permits to leave the territory.

RELATED

ATHENS – The Authentic Marathon Swim returns for the 3rd consecutive year, on July 1-3, at Artemision.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Mission, TNH’s New Travel Documentary Series with Clelia Charissis (Trailer)

Every weekend, TNH and Clelia Charissis are on a mission, traveling around Greece and the world to highlight places through the people we meet along the way.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.