The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will make his first official visit to Israel and Palestine this May. The 12 day tour will see the Archbishop meeting with political and religious leaders while focusing on religious freedoms and challenges facing Christians in the Middle East. The tour will be Welby’s first official visit to the Holy Land since becoming archbishop four years ago, although he made a private visit in 2013 during which he was criticised for not visiting Bethlehem.
The trip is planned to begin in Jordan where the Archbishop will hold talks with King Abdullah, he will then travel to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Nazareth and Bethlehem where he will hear about the challenges posed to Palestinian Christians by the illegal Separation Wall erected by Israel. Welby is planning to cross the imposing Separation Wall that Israel has erected to visit the birthplace of Jesus. He plans to meet the Christian Mayor of Bethlehem, Vera Baboun, and Palestinian Christians whose homes, land and livelihoods have been affected by the wall that partly runs beside Bethlehem and adjacent villages, cutting them off from Jerusalem.
See full report in The Middle East Monitor