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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Bethlehem, West Bank

Nov 21, 2019 - Bethlehem

Even if you are not a religious person, you have heard of Bethlehem and if you are a religious person, being here is the experience of a life time. The primary site to see is the Church of the Nativity, built on the spot where Jesus was born in a stable and visited by shepherds and wisemen. Every Christian denomination is represented here; Christmas is celebrated here at three different times on the calendar by the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. Christmas decorations are already being put up around the town....

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Oct 9, 2018 - Side trip to Bethlehem from Jerusalem

In the afternoon on October 9 we took the bus into the West Bank to the town of Bethlehem. Our guide, George, is a Christian of some sort of Syrian church; he took us to Shepherds' Field and also the Church of the Nativity. Bethlehem was a madhouse! It is not even high season yet, but every place was packed. It is still hot here, getting up in the 90s range, and there are tons of tourists. Exhausting day shuffling around through churches with casts of thousands, but interesting nonetheless. I can't imagine what it will be like in the "high...

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2018 Adventures

Feb 9, 2018 - Israeli Settlement and Bethlehem

Today we are going to meet with a resident at the Jewish settlement of Efrat that was established in 1983 and is 7 miles south of Jerusalem in the West Bank (Palestinian land). The international community considers these settlements illegal but the Israeli government disputes this. These settlements are considered Area "C" so they are controlled by Israeli troops. Hence we went thru several check points again today. Ardie spoke to us for about an hour and we were able to ask lots of questions. When asked if we were in Israel or Palestine,...

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Mar 12, 2016 - Bethlehem

Our final day in Jerusalem and we didn't think it could top the previous day; maybe not but but it came very close. We were off to Bethlehem. Bethlehem is a mountain village about 10 miles south of Jerusalem. It is located in the West Bank, so it's under Palestinian control. If you are an Israeli citizen, you cannot enter this area. And the area is primarily Muslem. Our first stop was The Shepherd's Fields, the traditional site where the Angels announced to the shepherds about the birth of Jesus. There's a nice church with colorful...

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Feb 12, 2014 - Bethlehem - The West Bank

While in Jerusalem, we took the #21 bus from Damascus Gate through the check point into Palestine to visit Bethlehem, another listed World Heritage Site. If the places we visited there had any connection to historical reality I couldn't say. But we did enjoy spending time at a family owned shop specializing in Olive Wood objects. Now we know far more about the manufacture of such objects than seems likely to be useful. And we collected a fair number of extremely cheap souvenirs to distribute back home. After another pleasant lunch of...

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Nov 16, 2013 - West Bank

The trip was called "Walls2Windows" and mostly focused on awareness/advocacy for Palestinian "refugees" living in the West Bank. The guides tried to remain as objective as possible when discussing history and political issues surrounding the settlements. I went on the trip with 4 other people from our master's program. In all our tour group had 13 people and one of the tour guides was a fellow classmate. We took bus 160 from Jerusalem into the West Bank. It is the only bus route that has bullet proof buses and the passengers were mostly IDF...

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Mar 7, 2013 - Herodion National Park

Herodion complex was a very detail fortress created by King Herod. One of three fortresses that he had build to protect himself from his enemies. He considered everyone to be a possible threat to his reign to include wives, children and close relatives.

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Dec 25, 2012 - Merry Christmas

The day begun with two very low flying Israeli F16s flying over Bethlehem. They seemed like they were so very close to the top of the mountains. It is a form of intimidation used often here. It is a reminder that while Palestinian Christians and Muslims were allowed the freedom of worship yesterday that today is like any other - occupation. It is hard to reconcile the land of Jesus with that of the Israelis. Even in the days of old it was the Jews that put him to death and now refuse to acknowledge his importance to the Christians and...

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Palestine Freedom

Dec 24, 2012 - Horses, camels and Israeli Soldiers

Hmm somewhere in this fiasco must be divine intervention. On Saturday night I joined a Christmas carol event at one of the Bethlehem checkpoints. It was great fun to sing songs while the IDF soldiers tried to decide how to handle the singing crowd. They waved their rifles and swore at us but that was all they could do. Today the soldiers have placed a menorah right inside the checkpoint There were a herd of camels -all sizes and shapes - that decided to cross the desert through an Israeli road block the other day. It was hilarious! The...

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Palestine Freedom

Dec 24, 2012 - Christmas Eve in Bethlehem

Today is the day of Christmas celebrations - all in preparation of the moment of Jesus' birth. It started early with all the scout troops marching into Manger Square. Playing drums and bagpipes - they tried very hard to out play everyone else. While there are hundreds of people in the square it still does not seem all that crowded to me but I have not been here before so I am not sure what to expect. This year is special because Palestine is now a state - although one with non-member observer status to the UN. The Church was also recognized...

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Palestine Freedom

Dec 23, 2012 - Coffee at Manger Square

Today was a beautiful day in Bethlehem. The sunshine was very warm and the air was crisp. I decided to make my way to Manger Square to peek in on the celebration of Christmas. I was able to leisurely walk through the Church of the Nativity and along the square. The only foreigners in the area were from Japan and Ethiopia. They were members of Israeli tour buses that arrived to spend a couple of hours touring the area. I think it possible I was the only American around. The shop owners thought is strange I was here especially when they...

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Palestine Freedom

Dec 20, 2012 - The Citadel

In a little alley located three blocks from my house is a little restaurant called the Citadel. It is a wonderful and cozy Middle Eastern place with wonderful Palestinian food. I discovered it last time I was here and decided that after a very long week I should treat myself to chicken bar-b-q. Yummy!!!!!

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Palestine Freedom

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