Bethlehem is Star in Christmas Celebrations

Hosting numbers larger than in any year since Israel handed control of Bethlehem over to the Palestinian Authority, visitors poured into the traditional Christmas capital by the tens of thousands for holiday celebrations.

The weather was perfect, and cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian governments helped ease the ability of tourists and visitors to enter into the ancient city and enjoy their religious pilgrimage. The only hitch in the arrival of tourists were the sever snowstorms which closed down several European airports, hindering the ability of many tourists to arrive in time for the ceremonies.

Manger Square hosted the traditional revelry which included the singing of Christmas carols sung in both English and Arabic; and the ancient Midnight Mass which began as a procession from Jerusalem to Bethlehem led by the Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal and finished with the church service.