"Reading is identity": the second Book Fair of Bethlehem

As part of the celebrations for the 8th centenary of the Franciscan presence in the Holy Land, the second edition of the Book Fair entitled "Reading is an identity", sponsored by the Custody of the Holy Land, was inaugurated at the Terra Santa School in Bethlehem.

Custos of the Holy Land

"Culture and Education in the last eight centuries have been one of the most important goals and one of the main obligations of the Custody of the Holy Land in Palestine. In fact, we have always tried to help children and adults learn the value of culture, intended to develop their skills and increase awareness of their identity for better opportunities in the future."

In his opening speech, the Palestinian Minister of Culture, Dr. Ihab Bseisso, praised the initiative's leaders and the efforts of the Custody of the Holy Land to spread knowledge, love and peace, emphasizing the importance of culture in people's lives. The Minister of Education Sabri Saidam wanted to quote - in his speech - the words of a song: "Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon."

Palestinian Minister of Culture

"Today, at the Terra Santa College we say that culture prevails on separation walls, barriers and barbed wire. Today we see exceptional efforts in the framework of preparations to nominate Bethlehem as the Capital of Arab culture in 2020. The Franciscan presence on Palestinian Land has become a component essential to the Palestinian national identity, given the close cooperation shown by this Church in past centuries, in order to deepen knowledge and strengthen social ties. Today we say - after eight centuries - that we are proud of this component, so authentic in our national identity. We can also add that this same component is a fundamental part of our aspirations towards the future and towards freedom."

Fr. Marwan - the parish priest of Bethlehem - asked for participation in all the events during the Book Fair. Among the participants: The Icon Center of Bethlehem, the "Cristo Re" Library and the Al-Shuruq School for the Blind, as well as other various institutions.

Terra Santa School Principal- Bethlehem

"The ideal way to strengthen a person's identity, is culture. Culture is built through reading; we Palestinians always try to strengthen our identity and deepen our roots." This book fair is an invitation to all, without exception. The Book Fair includes a wide selection of books about philosophy, religion, politics, etc. There are also books on sociology, children's education and other topics. "