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Bethlehem (Hebrew: Bayt Lahm; pop. 16,300), town in Israeli-occupied West Bank, 6 mi (9.7 km) south of Jerusalem, and sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. According to the Bible, it is the city where David was annointed by Samuel and the birthplace of Jesus; the traditional tomb of Rachel is outside the town. A basilica built by the Emperor Constantine over the Grotto of the Nativity (326–333) and rebuilt by Justinian I now forms the Church of the Nativity, a major attraction for tourists and pilgrims. Long contested by Christians and Muslims, it was taken by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War.

See also: Jesus Christ; West Bank.

Mary McLeod Bethune [next] [back] Bethlehem

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