Wednesday, February 14, 2018

De-mining Qasr al-Yahud

PILGRIMAGE MINEFIELD: Israel will soon clear 4,000 landmines at Qasr al-Yahud baptism site. (MELANIE LIDMAN, Times of Israel).
Christians believe that Qasr al-Yahud, located about 10 kilometers east of Jericho, is the spot on the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized. But there are an estimated 4,000 landmines in the area, which contains seven churches along with chapels and monasteries, each belonging to a different denomination of Christianity. For decades, these bullet-pocked churches have remained abandoned, as some are booby-trapped.


The Qasr al-Yahud site is also holy to some Jews. Qasr al-Yahud translates as “The Castle of the Jews,” and some believe was the spot where the Jewish people crossed into Israel for the first time after leaving Egypt. It is also believed to be the site of Elijah’s ascent into heaven in a “chariot of fire” and the place where Elisha performed miracles.
This is one possible site for Jesus' baptism. As the article notes, and as PaleoJudaica noted here, the plans to de-mine the area go back to 2016. Other past posts on Qasr al-Yahud are here, here, and here.

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