Oh Quiet Town of Bethlehem: Tourist Numbers Are Down at Birthplace of Jesus as Israel Keeps Holidaymakers Out in Bid to Beat Omicron Wave

In Bethlehem’s Manger Square, visitors in Santa hats and scouts beating drums marked Christmas Eve on Friday but numbers were lower than usual as coronavirus fears overshadowed celebrations for a second straight year.

The city where Christians believe Jesus was born is usually a focal point of the holiday, with thousands packing the streets and filling hotels.

But Israel, which controls all entrances to Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, barred its borders to foreigners in an effort to rein in infections from the Omicron strain of the coronavirus.

‘It’s very strange,’ said Kristel Elayyan, a Dutchwoman married to a Palestinian, who came to Bethlehem from Jerusalem.

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Source: Daily Mail