Israel Loosens Passover Travel Ban for Easter

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Israel will loosen its Passover ban on travel between Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Jerusalem to allow Arab Christians to celebrate Easter in the city.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) traditionally imposes a closure of checkpoints during the week-long Passover holiday to prevent terrorist attacks. 

The closure between Israel and the West Bank has generally been in effect since Passover 2002, when a suicide bomber killed 30 Israelis and wounded more than 140 at a hotel in the seaside town of Netanya.

This year, Israel will issue travel permits for the approximately 10,000 Arab Christians who live in Judea and Samaria and another 500 who live in the Gaza Strip to visit families and take part in Easter services.

Professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers, as well as humanitarian workers and religious leaders, will also have access to travel permits.

Only Arab Muslims over the age of 50 will be allowed for Friday prayers on the Temple Mount. Jews will not have access to the area during the holiday for security reasons. 

A religious Jew was arrested Monday for allegedly trying to sacrifice a goat on the Temple Mount.

Sources: IsraelNationalNews, The Jerusalem Post

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