Birthplace of Jesus empty for Christmas due to impact of war

Bethlehem is normally at its busiest at Christmas but this year war has scared away tourists and pilgrims from the Palestinian town in the West Bank, leaving hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops deserted. With global headlines dominated since Oct. 7 by news of the Hamas attacks in southern Israel, followed by Israel’s military assault on […]

Christmas in the crossfire: Visiting Bethlehem amid Israel-Hamas war

A small group of Roman Catholic priests clad in traditional black robes gathered in front of the Church of Nativity on Friday. Despite the brisk wind sweeping through the air and chilling the surroundings, their smiles remained warm as they captured a collective moment in a group photograph. On that Friday, the priests stood […]

No Christmas tree in Bethlehem as holiday pared down over Gaza war

There will be no Christmas tree in Bethlehem this year as the traditional site of Jesus’ birth holds pared-down celebrations “without the fanfare and without too many lights” in the shadow of the Gaza war. Bethlehem, which neighbors Jerusalem in the West Bank, has been battered by Israeli-Palestinian clashes of years past. But many […]

Bethlehem removes all Christmas decorations in honor of Hamas ‘martyrs’

The West Bank city of Bethlehem, famous for being the birthplace of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, has declared that they will be removing all decorations celebrating the annual holiday of Christmas.  “Bethlehem Municipality crews announced the dismantling of Christmas decorations installed several years ago in the city’s neighborhoods and removing all festive […]