The process of reconstruction in Gaza, six months after the latest cease-fire between the Hamas government and Israel, is leading to a growing Islamization of the coastal strip. One of the most troubling laws concerns education. It will, among other measures, force private schools to make structural changes to allow a strict separation of male and female pupils. Full story
Talks to resolve differences between the Holy See and Israel could be concluded by the end of the year. In a joint statement issued Thursday after the conclusion of a plenary meeting at the Vatican of the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission set up to resolve these outstanding issues, the Holy See and Israel said the “significant progress was made and the parties committed themselves to accelerate negotiations on the remaining issues.” Full story
In 1863, while the kitchen at the Franciscan monastery in Bethlehem was being restored - and subsequently in 1906 - a Crusade-era series of bronze and silver objects belonging to the Church of the Nativity were discovered in the city where Jesus was born. This “Bethlehem Treasure” also includes some 12th century bronze bells. Full story
Religious leaders in the Holy Land have collectively called on local authorities to do all they can to prevent attacks on holy sites after a series of incidents in May. The Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land (CRIHL) said the repeated attacks last month were “unprecedented” and “despicable”. Full story
Unidentified vandals daubed anti-Christian graffiti on the walls of the Basilica of the Dormition overnight on Thursday and damaged two cars parked nearby. The problem of offensive graffiti is becoming an emergency. In mid-May two ministers put forward a motion to change the legal standing of these so-called “price-tag” attacks as "acts of terrorism". Full story
There is another Palestine which is completely different from the one you see on TV. It is the wild and natural Palestine, to be explored on foot. Stefan Szepesi allows us to discover it in his book Walking Palestine: 25 journeys into the West Bank. More than 250 kilometres of paths, of varying difficulty, from the simple walk along the remains of the walls of the ancient city of Samaria, near Nablus, to the steps and the rocky climb of Wadi Qelt.
The Palace of Versailles, just outside Paris, house an exhibition called Treasure of the Holy Sepulchre. Gifts from European Royal Courts to Jerusalem from 16th April to 14th July. This is a particular event: for the first time 250 “unknown” masterpieces that were sent to Jerusalem over the centuries are on display in one place.
Jerusalem viewed from above. An alternate route than starts from the ancient walls of the Old City and is an opportunity for exploration and discovery. A tour of Jerusalem’s rooftops is also an option for tourists and pilgrims who wish to go on a different kind of visit—and see the layers of the city’s history and those who have travelled its roads.