Tiotusentals väntas besöka Israel under julen

Turistminister Yariv Levin: ”Jag välkomnar alla tiotusentals besökare som väntas ankomma Israel under julledigheten. Varje år investerar vi i både underhållet av och för att förbättra kristna platser och besöksmål för att försäkra oss om att alla kristna kan besöka alla de platser som är heliga för dem.” 

Under julhelgen kommer man bland annat att erbjuda gratis transport för att hjälpa pilgrimer att ta sig mellan Jerusalem och Betlehem. Bussarna kommer att avgå varje halvtimme. Se mer om detta längre ner.

Fakta och statistik

54% av de 2,9 miljoner turister som besökte (stannade minst en natt) Israel under 2014 var kristna. Av dessa var 39% katoliker, 27% protestanter och 27% ortodoxa. Bland protestanterna var 75% evangelikaler, av de ortodoxa tillhörde 86% den rysk-ortodoxa kyrkan och 15% den grekisk-ortodoxa.

21% av besökarna angav pilgrimsresa som anledning till sitt besök. Lejonparten  av de kristna besökarna besökte Jerusalem och ungefär en tredjedel Tel Aviv-Jaffa.


The Tourism Ministry is working to welcome the tens of thousands of visitors expected to arrive in Israel for the Christmas period. From 15:00 on Christmas Eve through to 03:00 on Christmas Day, the Ministry of Tourism will offer free shuttle transportation, helping pilgrims travelling between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Buses will leave every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour from the bus stop near the Carta Parking lot (opposite Jaffa Gate and near to the Mamilla Boulevard). The bus will also stop near the entrance to the Mar Elias Monastery, and at the Rosmarin junction, before continuing via Rachel’s Crossing to Bethlehem – and then back again.  Representatives from the Ministry of Tourism will welcome tourists and pilgrims at Rachel’s Crossing with sweets in the spirit of the holiday. The ministry will also provide a firework display during the Christmas parade in Nazareth.

Events and festivities in Jerusalem and Nazareth

21 December 2015

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin will host the traditional pre-Christmas reception for leaders of the Christian communities and churches in Israel at the Shimshon Center, Beit Shmuel in Jerusalem at 11:00. Also participating in the reception alongside ambassadors and Christian leaders will be the Director-General of the Tourism Ministry Amir Halevi, and representatives of the Church, government and private bodies involved in promoting Christian tourism to the Holy Land. Among the Church leaders attending the reception: His Beatitude Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilus III, His Eminence Vatican Ambassador Giuseppe Lazzarotto and the Custos of the Holy Land His Paternity Pierbattista Pizzaballa.  The minister will send season’s greetings for Christmas to the Christian communities and invite the faithful around the world to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.


24 December 2015

On Christmas Eve, 24.12.15, the traditional parade of thousands of local youth, together with the leaders of the Christian communities, will pass through Nazareth from 15:00. The parade ends at the plaza in front of the Basilica with a firework display, sponsored by the Tourism Ministry, to announce the opening of the festive Christmas celebrations (17:30). Christmas Mass will be celebrated in the Basilica of the Annunciation at 19:00.

In recent years, the Tourism Ministry has invested close to NIS 100 million in developing and maintaining the infrastructure of Christian sites, in order to enrich the pilgrim’s spiritual experience. These sites include, among others, the baptism site at Qasr el Yahud near the Dead Sea, Mount Zion and Ein Karem in Jerusalem and the Gospel Trail in the Galilee. Other projects include, among others, the boardwalk from Tiberias to Capernaum, Korazim and Mount Precipice.

The Papal visit to Israel in May 2014 brought thousands of tourists and pilgrims to Israel and, following the visit, hundreds of thousands more tourists who traveled to the Holy Land as a result. The Tourism Ministry invested about NIS 2.5 million in marketing in order to leverage the Pope’s visit.

The ministry runs dedicated websites and facebook pages for the Catholic and Evangelical communities.



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