Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved a series of measures making it easier for Palestinian Christians to participate in Easter festivities and in the Pope’s visit next month.
The Israel Civil Administration will be issuing entry certificates to Palestinian Christians who meet set security criteria, allowing them to enter Israel without limits on the age of those who are eligible or the number of certificates that can be obtained.
The certificates will allow these Palestinians to participate in celebrations in Jerusalem and Nazareth and to visit family members in Israel.
At the same time, Christians living in Israel will be allowed to enter Bethlehem and Jericho in order to participate in Easter celebrations there.
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So far, about 10,000 certificates have been issued and the civil administration predicts that, by the time of the Pope’s arrival, another 5,000 will be issued.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org