In honor of the Christmas season, the IDF and Government Coordinator in the Territories are working to facilitate the freedom of religion of Christian citizens wishing to practice their worship in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Holiday schedule:

December 24-25 2003:

Catholic Christmas – the Latin Patriarch enters Bethlehem.

January 5, 2004:

Entrance of the Costus as part of the “Festival of Revelation.”

January 6-7:

Orthodox Christmas – the Greek-Orthodox Patriarch enters Bethlehem.

January 18-19:

Armenian Christmas – The Armenian Patriarch enters Bethlehem.

Easing of Restrictions on the Occasion of Christmas: (Dec. 24 – Jan. 19)

Judea and Samaria

-Christians will be permitted to reach the Baptism site in Jericho for prayers as well as to enter Jericho and Bethlehem to exercise their freedom of worship.

-The entrance of tourists and Israeli citizens to Bethlehem from Israel will be facilitated.

-Israeli and foreign journalists will be able to enter Bethlehem to cover Christmas ceremonies and their preparation.

-All those with appropriate authorization will be permitted to travel during evening hours.

-Allowing the passage of all who Christians who wish to travel from Judea and Samaria to Bethlehem via public transportation.

-Christians from Judea and Samaria will be allowed, with proper permits, to enter Israel for the purpose of visiting relatives and the attendance of religious ceremonies.

-Permission will be granted for the passage of Christians from Judea and Samaria to the Gaza Strip via public transportation.

The Gaza Strip

-Christians will be authorized to travel from the Gaza Strip to Bethlehem between December 24 and January 19.

-Christians from the Gaza Strip will be allowed, with proper permits, to enter Israel in order to visit relatives and attend religious ceremonies.