Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
33Trip End Oct 25, 2010
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My guide Eli was only available with his accessible van the first two days so I was sub-contacted to his friend Kaled to take me to Bethlehem. Bethlehem, surprising to me is actually in Palestine and Kaled has Palestinian citizenship but is a Jew and lives in Israel. However, he can cross the border which features a high wall with towers and a check point manned by soldiers. I did not expect to be going to Palestine and considered myself rather fortunate to have been able to go. It was a little scary going by the guard who checked my passport once again. Eli and Kaled are friends and while I was there I met Neil, Kalad's nephew, Dan, a Baptist Missionary, George, a Catholic and biblical scholar and another fellow whose name I cannot remember who is a Muslim. These individuals are friends and business assiociates, even though we would expect that perhaps they would not be, especially is Israel but they all spoke openly about the need for a settlement of the Israel/Palestine question and how hard it is to negotiate a settlement
After Kaled drove me to Bethlehem, George, his Catholic friend, took me through the Church of the Nativity. This is celebrated as the birthplace of Jesus in a cave-like area below the main church area, down some steep stairs that I managed with my canes. At the time the older section of the church area was undergoing extensive renovations and their was scaffoding everywhere. This is not just one church but 4, with the Armenians, Catholics, Greek Orthodox each having a section. The Catholic Church is the newest as you will see from the pictures. At the time I was there, I was extremely lucky as there was a special service going on in the cave area - a joint service by all the demoninations in a co-operative venture