Gazan Palestinians to celebrate Christmas in Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 300 Christian Palestinians from the Gaza Strip will be allowed to enter Israel to observe Christmas.

Israeli Christian leaders received the news Tuesday during a meeting about coordination and preparations for the Christian religious ceremonies.

During the holiday season, all the crossings into Bethlehem will be open 24 hours a day, according to an IDF official. Additional staff from the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria are scheduled to help ensure easy passage for visitors.

Christian leaders attending the meeting were: the head of the Franciscan monastery, the Custodian of the Holy Lands, the Ambassador of the Vatican, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, the Armenian Patriarch, and the Latin Patriarch.

The largest ceremonies will be the crossing of the Patriarch’s convoy from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and the midnight mass to be held Christmas eve at the Church of the Nativity.

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