Bethlehem gets an early Christmas present

Just in time for Christmas, Bethlehem got an early present. 

Sort of. 

According to the JTA, "Some 900 Palestinian security forces will deploy in Bethlehem for Christmas celebrations." Bethlehem, which is a focus for Christmas celebrations as Christians believe Jesus was born there, is less than 10 miles from Jerusalem, in an area controlled by Arabs. 

Christian tourists formerly flocked to Bethlehem, especially during the Christmas season, but Moslem intimidation against its Christian residents and the general violence frightened visitors and most stayed away. These Moslem security forces are supposed to protect the Christian pilgrims and reduce the violence .    

Sixty years ago
, Bethlehem's population was over 85% Christian. Now, because of religious persecution by Moslems, that has dwindled to about 12%.