Israel opens Baptismal site at Bethabara

In a previous post we mentioned that the site where Jesus was baptised was open to the public. There was indeed a ceremonial opening at the site on the 18th of January this year, only to close shortly afterwards.

Now, however, the surrounding area has been cleared of landmines and the site is supposed to be open to visitors, according to this AP report.

The Baptismal site, seen from across the Jordan. Photo: Leen Ritmeyer

“Israel hopes the opening of the site will help draw Christian tourists, who have been coming to Israel in growing numbers in recent years. Of the 3.45 million tourists who arrived last year, about 69 percent were Christian, and 38 percent defined their visit as a religious pilgrimage, according to the Tourism Ministry.

Israel renovated the site at a cost of $2.3 million and removed some of the nearby mines, Israeli officials said. Tuesday’s ceremony was attended by Silvan Shalom, the Israeli minister for regional development, and by representatives of Christian denominations in theHoly Land.”

HT: Jack Sasson

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