Getting in and out of Bethlehem - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Outremer
    • 08.05.13 | 13:22 (IDT)

    No visa is needed. Carry your passport, of course. Israeli registered cars are fine, but your auto insurance is probably not valid within the Bethlehem enclave (Area A). Israeli citizens should NOT use Checkpoint 300 at Tantur (Hebron Road), either going into Bethlehem.or returning to Jerusalem. Instead, there are two perfectly good alternative routes (for the moment, at least) which have a totally different "flavor" from 300, as they are both "settler roads" actually designed to facilitate the flow of Israeli traffic: -- Road 60, the Tunnel Road from Gilo: After the second tunnel, drive through the big checkpoint -- nobody's even watching. After 1.5 km turn right on Road 375, immediately make a 180-degree turn through the roundabout, then RETRACE your steps through the junction and BACK toward the checkpoint (!) -- but DON'T go through. Instead, just south of the checkpoint, take the road to the right, follow it uphill for about 1 km. At the 4-way junction, turn right, and you will start descending through Beit Jala. (You may studiously IGNORE the large red Israeli sign telling you your life is in danger.) Follow the often narrow main street as it winds through Beit Jala (watch the signs carefully -- and the speed-bumps) and you will soon be at the main Bethlehem junction, Bab Zaqaq. Turn left and signs will direct you to Manger Square. OR you can walk from here through the old town market areas and be at Manger Square in 15 minutes or less. -- The Har Homa - Herodium Road. From the traffic light on Hebron Road, go out toward Har Homa and follow the signs for "Herodion". You will soon come to an Israeli checkpoint -- wave as you roll through. After less than 1km you will come to a grade separation where you follow the sign to "Beit Sahour" by turning left down an access ramp. At the bottom, turn left again under the overpass. Then just stay on the main road, through Beit Jala and into Bethlehem, following the signs. To get back to Jerusalem, mostly just retrace your steps. (Exception: Going out through Beit Jala, once you get back to the 4-way junction at the top, you have two choices: The left turn takes you directly down to the tunnel road checkpoint. Going straight takes you down around Har Gilo and you wind up near the Jerusalem Zoo, railway station and the mall. In any event, go with a spirit of adventure -- and have FUN!!

    from the article: Tourist tip #229 / The little town of Bethlehem
    First published 05:35 06.05.13 | Last updated 05:35 06.05.13
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