This Christmas, COVID Has Cast a Pall Over Bethlehem, by John Burger

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Chapel of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, Bethlehem, Israel

By John Burger, Aleteia, 12/03/20

But religious and civic leaders still hope the meaning of the Nativity will shine forth from town of Jesus’ birth

If the Holy Family had a hard time finding an inn to stay in when Jesus was about to be born, it is the inns of Bethlehem themselves that are having the difficulty this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life in the Holy Land so much that tourism and religious pilgrimage there are practically non-existent.

Just 12 months ago, amid a sustained drop in violence, the town was celebrating its busiest festive season in two decades, and hotels were expanding, said the Jerusalem Post.

Indeed, throughout 2019, some 3 million tourists flocked to Bethlehem, according to Elyas al-Arja, the head of the city’s hotel association. This year, the flow of pilgrims has disappeared.  …

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