BETWEEN Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2007, the post office in Noel, Missouri, processed 30,428 Christmas cards and packages - double the usual volume of mail for this town of 1,500 people. The association, created in 1947 (during the Arab-Israeli war to provide employment for women and deliver aid to refugees) became a cultural beacon in the city, Kattan tells me. They opened the first mixed-sex pool in Palestine, the first public library in Palestine,” he says.
Appointed as the official and preferred pilgrimage operator of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem by Archbishop Suheil Dawani, a Lightline pilgrimage involves substantial Bethlehem travel contact with Christian institutions and individuals who make up the ‘living stones', as well as offering more traditional visits to the shrines and sites of the Bible.
It should be noted as well that although Bethlehem is a Palestinian town, it is also a tourist-orientated town.Because of Bethlehem's immense potential as a tourism magnet, the Palestinian Authority maintains a constant tourist police presence in the city.
The "little town" of Bethlehem, mentioned in any number of Christmas carols, attracts pilgrims worldwide on account of its description in the New Testament (and particularly the Gospels) as the birthplace of Jesus, whom Christians believe to be Messiah and Son of God.
Our visits are particularly popular with young people who want to see the region but have limited annual leave - our visits are comprehensive and intensive, packing it into just five days - staying in the historic heart of Bethlehem and the lively city of Ramallah.
Just north of the city is Jerusalem, another wonderful city to include on your itinerary, particularly if you are interested in history There are plenty of things to do in and around the area of Jerusalem, including visiting the Temple Mount , Israel Museum , the Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem , the Biblical Zoo, which is a collection of all the species mentioned in the Bible, and the Old City of Jerusalem.
Little known fact about Bethlehem: it has major importance for all three major faiths - as well as its being probably the most important Christian site in Israel, Muslims believe Bethlehem was a major prayer stop on the Prophet Muhammad's way to Jerusalem, while Jews recognize the gravesite of the biblical martriarch Rachel in Bethlehem, the 3rd most important site in the Jewish faith.
The Church of Nativity is visited by thousands of believers each year, making it one of the foremost destinations for tours to the Holy Land The Church of Nativity encapsulates in it two cathedrals, both run by the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic denominations in conjunction with one another.
These include: Alternative Pilgrimages - meet the peacemakers; visit the Biblical sites Rebuild a demolished home - a practical way to take action and build hope Bet Lahem Live Arts Festival - combine an alternative pilgrimage with Bethlehem's new festival Run the Bethlehem Marathon with Team Amos Bespoke trips for church and youth groups.