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Israeli tightens border controls over Easter

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, April 11
Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) given recommendations to Georgians who are planning to visit Israel for the Easter holidays.

The head of the MFA Consulate Department, Giorgi Tabatadze, said that due to the Easter holidays, border crossing procedures will be tightened in Israel and checking procedures will also take longer.

“We call on our citizens to take into account these circumstances and observe all the requirements which are important in connection with crossing the border,” Tabatadze said.

The Head of the Consulate Department also added that passengers should also be ready to provide related documentation and information about the purpose of the visit, accommodation, financial provision, return ticket, and address of the host family or hotel.

He added that after crossing the border of Israel, the pilgrims must comply with all the requirements that may be brought by the police or the clergy who keep order in the temples.

“The security measures in Israel are tightened as a lot of people have travelled there. Any disobedience or discontent might result in the immediate request to leave the temple or nearby territory,” Tabatadze said.

He added that in case of losing their way, Georgian citizens should appeal to the police or consulate department.

Shabtai Tsur, the ambassador of Israel to Georgia, says that many people try to illegally cross the border over the holidays.

“Each citizen is obliged to promote the development of tourism between the two countries,” he noted.

Israel is the Jewish homeland, but the Christian faith has remained tied to the Holy Land for over 2000 years, thanks to the tales of Jesus of Nazareth.

Every year, hundreds of Georgian pilgrims leave for Jerusalem to celebrate Easter, the most important day in the Christian religious calendar.

This year, the Orthodox world will celebrate Easter Sunday on April 16.

Also, the Easter Eve liturgy will mark the end of 46 days of fasting, which started on February 20 this year.