Bethlehem

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Bayt Lahm (unofficially)

Bethlehem (Arabic: بَيْتِ لَحْمٍ‎, About this sound Bayt Laḥm , lit "House of Meat"; Hebrew: בֵּית לֶחֶם‎, Beth Leḥem or Modern Hebrew Beyt Leḥem, lit "House of Bread;" Greek: Βηθλεέμ Bethleém) is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank, approximately 8 kilometers (5 mi) south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people.[4][5] It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism.[6][7] The Hebrew Bible identifies Beit Lehem as the city David was from and the location where he was crowned as the king of Israel. The New Testament Gospels of Matthew and Luke identify Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. The town is inhabited by one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, though the size of the community has shrunk due to emigration.

The city was sacked by the Samaritans in 529 AD, during their revolt, but was rebuilt by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. Bethlehem was conquered by the Arab Caliphate of 'Umar ibn al-Khattāb in 637, who guaranteed safety for the city's religious shrines. In 1099, Crusaders captured and fortified Bethlehem and replaced its Greek Orthodox clergy with a Latin one. The Latin clergy were expelled after the city was captured by Saladin, the sultan of Egypt and Syria. With the coming of the Mamluks in 1250, the city's walls were demolished, and were subsequently rebuilt during the rule of the Ottoman Empire.[8]

The British wrested control of the city from the Ottomans during World War I and it was to be included in an international zone under the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine. Jordan annexed the city in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Since 1995, Bethlehem has been governed by the Palestinian National Authority.[8]

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