Page 6 -  Bethlehem

  View of the Church of the Nativity

A few miles south of Jerusalem is Bethlehem - think in terms of the distance from Memphis to Germantown.  When I spent a summer in Israel in 1971, one could hop a local bus in Jerusalem and be in Bethlehem in 20 minutes.  Now it is a difficult trip, tantamount to crossing a major international border (Although much easier if you are with an organized bus load of tourists.)  Here is a picture of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.  This was a major tourist attraction, but there are now rather few tourists.   The Christian population of the Bethlehem area has fallen dramatically both in the 1948 to 1967 period and since 1967.

Now, our purpose was not to go collect "ain't-it-awful" stories.  Some of the organizations we visited did have, among their purposes, saying publicly "ain't it awful?"  But we were interested in groups trying to be constructive.

What did we find? 

One example:  schools and educational programs.  Let's take a quick look at the Holy Child School, located in Bethlehem.


    This is a program in Bethlehem for children suffering from what we call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, although one has to point out that it is more difficult when the Traumatic Stress isn't yet "Post", it is still going on.
     The school is run by an American Nun.  She has difficulty getting funding - as she puts it, most foreigners assume she can get support from the US, and most American foundations are reluctant to support what looks like a Catholic Church project.  But she does manage to keep the program going, even with a need for a very high staff-to-student ratio.


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Israel/Palestine Info Home

Page 1: Introduction
Page 2:  Kfar Shalem
Page 3: Duheisha Refugee Camp
Page 4:  Universities
Page 5: The Wall / Security Barrier
Page 6:  Bethlehem
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Page 8: Hebron
(More to come)