Civil Administration, IDF and others coordinate arrival of 5,000 Christian worshipers at Qaser El-Yahud baptism site on Easter, number of visitors doubles
During the past few days over 5,000 Christian worshipers form all around the world came to pray and baptize at Qaser El-Yahud, located in the Jordan River Valley in honor of the Easter holiday. The third holiest site for the Christian religion, Qaser El-Yahud is considered to be the place where Jesus was first baptized. The number of worshipers doubled in comparison to last year, and the Civil Administration expects the number to continue increasing.
Overall three religious holidays were held in honor of the holiday of three separate religious sects: Greek Orthodox, Coptic, and Syriac Christians, who arrived from countries including Egypt, Italy, Sweden, Germany and more. Head of the Civil Administration, Brig. Gen. Motti Almoz as well as religious leaders and other representatives attended the ceremonies.
The Civil Administration, the IDF, Border Police and Israeli police prepared for the event in advance. "Our important mission is to enable every religion from all around the world to arrive at the site in an organized manner," said Deputy Commander of the Jericho District and Coordination Liaison (DCL), Maj. Bassam Hino. "We are glad to announce that everything ran in the best way possible and according to all the relevant protocols."
"Allowing freedom of worship to the Christian religion is important to us," said Head of the Jericho DCL, Lt. Col. Re'em Fallah to the IDF Website. "I am convinced that this site will become a main tourist attraction in the Jordan River Valley, and we expect a significant increase in the number of visitors." He continued to explain that the site will become part of routine tourism of Christians coming from Tiberias and Jerusalem. Opening the site to tourists without any need for coordination with the IDF as well as renovations it underwent make it increasingly popular. "We prepare to absorb large numbers of worshipers and tourists, and are working with the River Valley Brigade to better organize the site," added Lt. Col. Fallah.
Even now the Jericho DCL along with the Israeli Tourism Ministry, the Religious Services Ministry and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority are working to expand the site better accommodating the worshipers, spending millions of NIS. By January, construction of larger parking lots, and three separate stages for each religious sect will be complete.
Lt. Col.Fallah added, "Our goal is to enable freedom of religion to all believers in the best way possible."