The Coordinator of government activities, General Eitan Dangout and the head of the civil administration in the west bank, brigadier general, Moti Almouz, met on Wednesday (December 21st, 2011) with the patriarchs and church leaders toward the Christian Christmas, in order to congratulate them on the new upcoming year.
General Dangout and the head of the civil administration met the patriarchs and church leaders of the community, amongst them was the keeper of the holy lands (Hecksotos), the Greek Orthodox patriarch, the Armenian patriarch and the Latin, and updated them of the new easing of rules towards the Christian community in the west bank that were set and approved by the minister of defense and the general head of army staff also, the were displayed the preparations and coordination that the civil authority had performed toward the holiday.
Christmas is between the 24th of December and January 22nd 2012, depending on the different streams of Christianity, when during the time the Christian community has religious rituals in Bethlehem where the rows of patriarchs enter the city from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.
During the meetings, General Dangout showed the preparations of the defense system during the holiday and defense coordination between the army, the police, the boarder patrol, the Bethlehem mayor’s and the Palestinian defense organization.
In addition, General Dangout had mentioned that during Christmas all of the crossings in to the city will be open for 24 hours and the numbers of civil authority members shall increase in the area in order to make sure the citizens cross with out a problem. Also, the exiting of 500 Christian Palestinians was approved from Gaza to Bethlehem in order to allow them to properly celebrate.
The church leaders showed the concerns to General Dangout, regarding a small amount of visitors this year do to the economic crisis and the “Arabic Spring” happenings in the neighboring countries, a concern that was revoked when they got the numbers of hotel capacities in Bethlehem and east Jerusalem, a fully booked result. In addition the church leaders showed much appreciation regarding the cooperation and fertile coordination with the civil authorities in the west bank in the topic of the religious matters, the holy places to Christians and matters of security and general life texture in the area.
The Coordinator of government activities in the territories, congratulated the church leaders and the patriarchs, and emphasized the symbolism that Israel sees in the holidays of all religions and concluded with wishes for a happy new year, a year of peace, development and coordination.