Obstacles in Jerusalem

Israeli restrictions on reaching the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for Holy Week and Easter are part of the current Israeli government’s policy of making Jerusalem an exclusively Jewish city, Yusef Daher, secretary general of the Jerusalem Interchurch Center, alleged in March. Deploring the network of Israeli police barriers that disrupt the number of people able to reach the church, Daher said such restrictions “did not happen 10 years ago.” The Holy Fire ceremony involves the sharing of fire, which, according to tradition, is brought forth miraculously from the tomb of Jesus. The ceremony has become a point of contention over the past 10 years between the Israeli police and local Christians. Police say the single exit into a plaza makes the ceremony a high risk for visitors if a fire breaks out. Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank and Gaza also struggle to receive permits to attend Holy Week and Easter ceremonies.

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