Magazine article Anglican Journal

Fear of Violence Curbs Holy Land Pilgrimages

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Fear of Violence Curbs Holy Land Pilgrimages

Article excerpt

London

(ENI)--Violence between Palestinians and Israelis has caused a sharp reduction in pilgrimages, says an ecumenical delegation from Britain after a visit to the Holy Land.

The high-level group, representing Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI), called on churches in Western countries to help reverse the decline, which is having "catastrophic consequences" for the tourism trade in Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem.

Among the 12 delegates were the Anglican Bishop of Exeter in England, Michael Langrish, and senior members of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, the Methodist Church, the Baptist Union, the United Reformed Church and the Church of Scotland.

Paul Renshaw, the CTBI's secretary for international affairs, said that since the conflict began, the number of pilgrims to Israel and Palestine was down by 70 to 90 per cent, and 20,000 hotel workers had been laid off.

Bishop Langrish said that he was struck by the silence in places normally crowded with pilgrims, such as the Old City of Jerusalem, where he described one hotel in darkness and without patrons for several months. …

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