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Israeli Christians visit Harisa , a significant Christian holy site in Lebanon
Israeli Christians visit Harisa , a significant Christian holy site in Lebanon

Hundreds of Israeli Christians have made pilgrimages to holy sites in Lebanon, even though the countries are still in  a state  of war and  classify  each other as an enemy state, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Friday .

Groups of all ages, sometimes up to 50 people, spend a week in Lebanon on trips organized by the Galilee’s Christian clergymen, mostly under the radar.
“These are not underground trips or infiltration, but a very orderly process,” says one organizer. “But due to the sensitivity, we try to keep a low profile. It’s a purely religious visit, a pilgrimage. Just as Muslims go to Mecca and Medina, we go to the holy Christian sites in Lebanon.”

This is reportedly  the best-kept secret in Israel’s Christian community.

A Galilee village resident told Haaretz that the pilgrimage from Israel to Lebanon, via Jordan, is organized to the smallest detail and leaves participants little time for themselves – save for two or three hours at a Beirut shopping center.

Lebanese Maronite patriarch Beshara al-Rahi takes part in an open-air mass led by the Pope Francis on May 25, 2014.
Lebanese Maronite patriarch Beshara al-Rai takes part in an open-air mass led by the Pope Francis on May 25, 2014.

When Pope Francis visited Israel in May 2014, he was accompanied by Lebanon’s top Christian cleric, the Maronite patriarch of Antioch, Cardinal  Bechara Boutros al-Rai.

 

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