Holy Sepulchre Closed for 2nd Day

Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a regular tourist stop for most Christians visiting Jerusalem, has been closed for two days (from noon Sunday through Monday, so far) in protest of the Israeli government’s claim that the Church owes several million dollars in tax debt. The leaders of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer opted to close their church building to tourists on Monday in solidarity.

The government insists it is not taxing church activities, which have historically been exempt from taxes. What is in dispute is whether church properties that are commercial and not specifically for religious use should be taxed. The government says yes. The church says no. Jerusalem’s mayor claims the tax debt is 650 million shekels, which is over $186,000,000.

At the time of this writing, church officials remain uncertain how long the church will be closed to tourists.

See the Arutz-7 article here and the ABCNews article here.

Priests pray at the Thirteenth Station of the Cross: The Stone of Anointment in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. (Photo: ©2006 Craig A. Dunning)

Priests pray at the Thirteenth Station of the Cross: The Stone of Anointment in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. (Photo: ©2006 Craig A. Dunning)

Jaffa: Old City, New City

A modern fishing boat enters the ancient port of Jaffa. (photo credit: ©2004 Craig Dunning

The city of Jaffa stirs in the memory of many the Old Testament story of Jonah who set sail from the ancient port of Jaffa as he tried to run from God’s call.

Touch Point Israel has a nice article contrasting Old Jaffa and New Jaffa: Both The Old And The New Are Jaffa’s Lure.

It’s the oldest Israeli port city on the seashore, yet even modern-day Hollywood starlets like Natalie Portman can’t stop in Israel without visiting the ancient city of Jaffa– nicknamed the Bride of the Sea.

 

Sand and Sun in Israel

Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea at Netanya, Israel

Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea at Netanya, Israel.

Many of our tour participants think only of desert sands when they think of Israel. A trip to Israel shatters so many misconceptions …

Touchpoint Israel has published a nice article highlighting “8 Beautiful Beaches to Visit in Israel this Summer.”

A day at the beach is one of the highlights of summer for children and their parents. With 140 beaches boasting plenty of sand for digging, calm surf, warm water temperatures, and strong breezes for kite-flying, Israel is perfect for a sunny family day at the shore.

Read more … click here.

More and more visitors to Israel

The number of visitors to Israel is growing significantly. In 2009, some 9 million passengers passed through the airports. In 2018, Israel Katz, the minister of transport estimates the number will be about 20 million passengers. These numbers indicate the growth of both tourism and business relations.

To help ease the pressure such growth causes, several airport projects are under way or recently completed. First, the original terminal at Ben Gurion, dubbed Terminal 1, has been renovated and inaugurated for use by budget airlines. Terminal 1 is currently slated for 33 outbound flights per day. In addition to this upgrade at Ben Gurion, an additional wing is opening in Terminal 3. The new wing will add 17,000 square meters and 8 gates.

Perhaps bigger news is that two new airports are planned for Eilat and somewhere in the north. Of course the new airport in Eilat will replace the current airport, while the projected airport in the north will be completely new.

 

Jerusalem Aquarium

Photo Credit: http://touchpointisrael.com

Photo Credit: http://touchpointisrael.com

According to a report by Abigail Klein Leichman, a national aquarium is set to open in Jerusalem this fall. The exhibit, designed by Raviv-Tal Environmental Architecture of Haifa, cost $25 million and is located on five acres next to the Jerusalem Zoo.

See Ms. Leichman’s article and photos here.