Today, head of the Bethlehem District Coordination and Liaison Office (DCL), Lt. Col. Iyad Sarhan, will host representatives of the Jerusalem and Bethlehem patriarchates. The visit is a part of the traditional conference for heads of Christian communities that occurs each year ahead of the Christmas holidays.
The representatives that will participate in the conference are from the Latin, Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Coptic, Syriac and Ethiopian patriarchates. Heads of the Christian community in Bethlehem and tourists will also be in attendance.
During the conference the attendees will hear a review regarding the preparations made by the IDF and the Civil Administration for the expected ceremonies and the coordination with the Palestinian security services. The head of the DCL will also present the goodwill gestures for the Christmas holidays, as approved by the Minister of Defense and the Chief of General Staff.
Goodwill gestures for Christian residents during the holiday season:
- Approval to issue entry permits for Palestinian Christians from Judea and Samaria to Israel (without age limitations) for the entire Christmas season.
- Exit approval for up to 400 Palestinian Christians via Ben Gurion airport for the holiday period, subject to security inspection.
- Exit approval for up to 500 Palestinian Christians from the Gaza Strip to Israel and to Judea and Samaria for the purpose of family visits and participation in religious rituals – under the age of 16 and over the age of 46.
- A quota of 200 visitors’ permits for Christians from Arab countries to Judea and Samaria during the holiday season