Well, we got a new tour guide, Mohammad Barakat who will be with us for the rest of our time here. He brought us over to Manger Square this morning after our host families dropped us off. We got to see the Greek Orthodox Patriarch parade up through the square into the Church of the Nativity for Christmas Eve services. There are many politics surrounding the Patriarch and his visit, but I’ll save those for another time.
After the parade, we drove through the main checkpoint from Bethlehem to Jerusalem and met up with two men from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our conversations were challenging but informative and it was a great opportunity to get the Jewish political opinion of the conflict.
After our lunch meeting we took a small hike up to the Church of the Visitation and then headed over to the Holocaust Museum. The Museum was not unlike the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. but seeing its contents in context with what we are studying suggested many parallels that I do not feel comfortable articulating in this medium. This day left me emotionally exhausted and concerned for the future of these people and this land.