In a recent post by Rabbi Brant Rosen, he asks the question “Is the Jewish State Truly Free?” One commentator didn’t think so. This post by Lasse Wilhelmson continues the discussion.
I arrive at Bethlehem along the same motorway as all tourists, in a taxi from the Ben Gurion airport. They arrive in coaches with their Jewish guides. Pilgrims from all over the world crowd into the Nativity Church on Manger Square. Perhaps the holiest place in the world for Christians? They buy souvenirs and go back home again as if the Palestinians do not exist. Opposite the Church, lies the prestigious Peace Centre, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, SIDA.
The town is situated just south of Jerusalem and surrounded by The Wall and by fences. Check-points further limit people’s access and they are resigned to finding inconvenient diversions. Arbitrary travel permits for areas outside the town tear apart families that have lived in and around Bethlehem for thousands of years.
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