Last Tuesday (January 18), the Christian holiday of Epiphany was celebrated by thousands at the Qasr Al-Yahud baptism site in the Jordan Valley. The site is widely considered by Christians to be the place where Jesus was once baptized by John the Baptist. Around 11,000 Christians arrived at the site, among them Israelis, Palestinians, and many who made the pilgrimage to the Jordan Valley from all corners of the world.
For the first time, the pilgrims were allowed to dip themselves into the waters of the Jordan River. The Civil Administration has worked to make the necessary arrangements to accommodate the mass pilgrimage to the site over the past year.
In the afternoon, the main ceremony of the Epiphany took place, led by the Patriarch Theofilos III. Greek Orthodox clergymen participated in the main ceremony in which they blessed the sacred water, released doves into the air, and tossed branches. The ceremony was organized by the Civil Administration, and security was provided by the Israeli Border Police and the IDF.