chapter  24
The Ethical Challenges of Managing Pilgrimages to the Holy Land
Pages 14

Israel and the occupied territories comprise a unique location, born out of the ravages of war and the Holocaust, its 20,000 square miles of territory claimed by two peoples, the Jews and Palestinians, its holy sites shared uneasily by three religions, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, often in close proximity, as at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem or the Tomb of the Patriarchs at Hebron. According to Tuchman (1957), “more blood has been shed for Palestine than for any other spot on earth” (p. viii). To Protestant England it was, as Lord Curzon eulogized, “the holiest space of ground on the face of the globe,” not only the land of the Scriptures and of the Crusades, but also the land “to which all our faces are turned when we are finally laid in our graves in the churchyard” (Tuchman, 1957, p. viii). It is the geographical junction between East and West, the bridgehead between three continents, and, throughout history, the focal point in the military strategies of succeeding empires. Few countries attract so much media coverage, or arouse such intense religious feeling and political controversy.