City of Bethlehem cancels Christmas festivities over Gaza conflict
The city where Jesus Christ was born announced on Tuesday that it was canceling most celebrations for the Christmas holiday. Bethlehem Municipality posted images on social media of crews removing Christmas lights and decorations installed in the city several years ago. Authorities said they would forego the city’s annual 50-foot tree and dismantle a Nativity scene, but they still planned to hold a mass and prayers in Manger Square, the traditional site of Christ’s birth. Bethlehem, a city with a population of about 25,000, typically draws a significant portion of its revenue from Christian pilgrims who visit the city around Christmas to mark the birth of the Savior.
Why is Bethlehem canceling Christmas? Bethlehem is located in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank. In its social media post, the Bethlehem Municipality said it was taking these actions because of the ongoing war Israel is waging in Gaza against the terrorist group Hamas. The city said it wanted to “remove all festive appearances” in honor of “the martyrs” and in solidarity with the people in Gaza.
Dig deeper: Read Maryrose Delahunty’s report in WORLD Magazine about Charlie Brown and his Christmas miracle.
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