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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dangerous and against the law

Today was my last free day before my month long program begins and I decided
Sign warning you before entering
Bethlehem.
to walk into Bethlehem.  It's only a 15 minute walk to the WALL and check point 300 where it seems that everything that could be done to discourage your visit is put into place.  No signs telling you where to go, enter, or whether or not you even can.  But there is a sign telling you that entrance into Bethlehem is dangerous and illegal for citizens of Israel.  Most Americans don't realize that Israeli citizens are not allowed to visit towns in the West Bank.  My passport allows it...so off I went.

Once you get through the turnstiles--no passport check or anything to get in, only to get out.  You can walk along the Israeli built border wall, meet many nice folks along the way, and finally reach Manger square.  Here you are where God became man.  Think about that!  As unlikely a place today as it was 2000 years ago.  I decided to skip the church of the Nativity and go to the Milk Grotto.  Very nearby, and an ancient pilgrimage site that is said to have been where the Holy family found refuge from King Herod's soldiers who had come in to Bethlehem to kill the children.  Legend says a drop of milk from the Virgin Mary fell on the ground here and turned the floor of the cave white.

Bethlehem where King David was born, Ruth found favor with Boaz, where Samuel came to anoint David as king, where shepherds came and wisemen visited, where God became incarnate in order to show the world a better way---Indeed, a dangerous place!  
The Milk Grotto

Biggest danger for me...I was late for dinner and had to settle for a couple pieces of fruit and a delicious Teybeh beer, which by the way is also very dangerous and not allowed to be imported into the US.  Seemed safe enough.  I'll be back to Bethlehem again later and will put up some pictures of the more traditional sites.  


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