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The birthplace of Jesus is 15 minutes south of Jerusalem. Bethlehem is part of the Palestinian Authority, and is set off from Jerusalem by the controversial security wall that snakes through the Judean Hills. The wall is especially intimidating around the Bethlehem border crossing, as it stands taller than most of the surrounding buildings and is constructed of solid concrete. Graffiti artists have covered the Bethlehem side with demands for rights for Palestinians. British artist Banksy also left his mark, inspiring a falafel stand and souvenir stand named after him. As daunting as it seems, tourists with a foreign passport will have no difficulty visiting Bethlehem. Simply show the cover of your passport and you'll be whisked through, usually without a single question.
About a dozen new hotels have sprouted up in the last few years, proving that the city has more to offer than day trips to religious sites.
At the moment, Israelis are not allowed across the border. Your tour guide or the concierge at your hotel will be able to arrange for Palestinian guides to meet you across the border. If you're a more independent traveler, you can take one of the Palestinian taxis at the border. If you're taking a taxi, servees (shared taxi), or bus from East Jerusalem, you must change to a local bus or taxi from the Bethlehem side of the terminal to Manger Square.
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