Israeli Baptism Site to Open near Dead Sea
The new tourist facility opposite Jericho and adjacent to the Jordanian baptismal site (aka “Bethany beyond the Jordan”) is scheduled to open in less than two weeks. From ICEJ News:
Kasr al-Yehud, the probable site where John the Baptist baptized his cousin Jesus of Nazareth, will be opened to the public with a special ceremony on January 18 after 42 years as a closed military zone which pilgrims could only visit after coordinating with the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria.
The site is located in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, but starting on the 18th it will be operated by the jurisdiction of the Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, after Israeli authorities invested millions of shekels to build facilities there to handle a large number of tourists.
The 18th is significant because it is the traditional day when Greek and Russian Orthodox Christians make an annual pilgrimage to the site to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany.
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, who was instrumental in the project, said he hoped Kasr al-Yehud would become a symbol for cooperation among Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, as it would be a major attraction for tourists who would also want to visit other Biblical sites in the area.