An interesting development in the Mideast – Egyptian Coptic Christians are flying to Jerusalem on an Easter pilgrimage. Previously they had been told by the late Pope Shenouda to stay away from the city while it remained under Israeli control.
According to Israel’s Y-Net News –
Some 50 Copts arrived in Israel on Thursday on a direct flight from Egypt to celebrate Monday of the third week of Easter, which takes place on April 15. The guests plan to tour holy sites in Jerusalem….This is just the second time since the signing of the Camp David Accords in 1979 that a group of Copts arrives in Israel from Egypt, mainly because of the ban.
An Egyptian security source at the Cairo airport told Palestinian news agency Maan that additional groups would fly to Israel in the coming days, and that the total number of tourists could reach up to 4,000 people…Nevertheless, several senior Coptic Church officials have stressed in the past that the prohibition to visit Jerusalem was still valid and that there had been no decision to cancel it. As they did last year, church officials are threatening to punish anyone going to Jerusalem.
The Egypt Independent added –
Security sources at the Cairo International Airport said Air Sinai planned to construct an air bridge between Cairo and Tel Aviv to accommodate the pilgrims with four flights per day.