With Christmas only nine days away, the town of Bethlehem, Israel held its annual tree lighting ceremony Tuesday evening.
A huge 32-foot tree was lit up in the square of the Nativity Church. The church is the Crusader-era building where Jesus is believed to have been born.
The tree was illuminated by Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh and topped by a symbolic bright star. Fireworks and a pipe band entertained the hundreds that attended the annual ceremony.
Also, Israeli military officials announced Monday they are easing restrictions for movement of Palestinian Christians in the West Bank during the holiday season.