I'm going to be visiting a friend staying at a Kibbutz (spelling butchered) in Israel this upcoming December. I was raised a Christian, and would love to see a Christmas celebration of some sort in Jeruseleum or it's environs. Would this be safe? Do you have any suggestions of what to do?
Also, any general tips regarding travel to Israel would be appreciated! This will be my second over-seas trip, and I'm very excited already
As far as I know you can go to the churches in Jerusalem to celebrate or to the Bet Lehem area and I'm sure you'll have great time. The problem is that I can't anticipate the security conditions now so you can't be sure it's safe in Bet Lehem. As for Jerusalem, I can say it would be safer. You can also travel north to Nazareth or Haifa, and there is also a large Christian community there.
If you know someone here, I'm sure it'll be a lot easier.
two interesting churches i've visited on Xmas eve are the Dormizion and the Scottish church, both overlooking Gey Ben-Hinom. It's usually ok around Jerusalem that time of year. very crowded inside, so best to come early.
Well, don't expect the Muslims and the Jews to get into the Christmas spirit.
Christmas in Israel is practically a non-event. Being there in places like the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is what counts. But I think you'll have to be pretty religious to feel christmassy in Israel by just visiting a Church!
On a personal note, I think the whole country is crazy. It is the clash between new and old, sacred and mundane that is shizophrenic IMO. You'll see and experience it best in Jerusalem on Via Dolorosa: little Christian Arabic girls using as their way to school the same street that drives an old nun on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to tears while the muslim tout tries to sell her souveniers.