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Silent Night, Holy Night, Empty Streets

Yet again, Christians from around the world will not celebrate Christmas in Jerusalem

Christmas decoration in the Old City of Jerusalem on December 13. 2016. (Photo Credit: Sebi Berens/Flash90)

Jerusalem24 – Christmas in Jerusalem is a popular festivity in the city where Jesus has walked. The streets would be bustling with tourists and pilgrims.

People from all around the world flock to Jerusalem, celebrating and praying for the Lamb of God, who was born on this day as a savior for mankind. With all the people, the spirit of the holiday would fill the atmosphere.

Christmas decorations lining the walls and windows of the old city.

Church bells ringing calling for prayers.

Laughter filling the city’s streets.

A barrier blocks the entrance to the tomb in an empty Church of the Holy Sepulcher during a COVID-19 lockdown in the Old City of Jerusalem Oct. 6, 2020. (Photo Credit: CNS photo/Debbie Hill)

Unfortunately, this year the streets of Jerusalem will be empty again. With the Omicron Variant of the COVID-19 Virus spreading around the world, Israel has been raising the measures to contain it. Which includes closing off the airport from countries with high numbers of cases and limiting gatherings.

This no doubt has affected Christmas celebrations for this year, disappointing both Jerusalemites and thousands of Christians around the world who were looking forward to celebrate in Jerusalem this year.

According to Father Amjad Sabara, the Israeli authorities have yet to announce the measures and procedures to be taken for celebrations. Creating an air of uncertainty for thousands of people who had plans to visit the for the holiday.

A Priest walks through a street in the Old City of Jerusalem. (Photo Credit: Afif Amireh)

Israel closed its borders to non-citizens at the end of November in an effort to block the Omicron coronavirus variant from spreading to the country, as new entry rules entered effect.

With only a few days left for Christmas Israel, acting on recommendations by its Health Ministry closed off travel from the United States, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Canada, Switzerland, Morocco and Turkey.

In this episode of Wake Up Palestine, Mohammad Hamayel speaks with Father Amjad Sabbara about Christmas in Jerusalem, and the challenges facing its celebration in the holy city.


Mohammad Hamayel

Ramallah based journalist, Mohammad graduated from Al-Quds University with a B.A. in Media and Television. He has covered the 2015 Jerusalem Intifada as well as the Great March of Return for international media outlets. currently an editor/presenter at Jerusalem24. A UN alumni and a follower of global events and politics, especially American affairs.

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