For 125 years the Salesians of Don Bosco have been producing wine to support pastoral and educational work among the poor of Bethlehem. The proceeds from the Cremisan winery, located in a suburb of Bethlehem support the work of the order and upwards of 30 families according to the Independent Catholic News.
But for the past several weeks, Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in Hebron refuse to let the wine through.
But for the last five weeks Israeli soldiers at the Hebron checkpoint have refused to let the wine pass. This means that not only Christian churches, but also pilgrim houses, hotels and restaurants in Jerusalem, Nazareth and other parts of Israel are being deprived of Cremisan wine this Christmas.
Because the wine is shipped from the Israeli port of Haifa, the sudden embargo has also made it impossible for the wine to be exported to Europe. The soldiers have told Cremisan that the wine constitutes “a security risk.”
Most of the wine is communion wine primarily exported to the UK. But not this Christmas.
[Birmingham Post] She said: “What has happened is really very sad. It was all working like a dream. I have asked the (Israeli) Embassy if they can shed any light on what is going on. What this is doing is causing havoc and distress. It is sad this Christmas Christians are being denied the opportunity to be at one with the people of Bethlehem by drinking its wine.
“The wine has always flowed across the borders of mistrust in this troubled land. There are many of us hoping and praying church authorities as well as the British government will ask the Israeli authorities to end this unjustified embargo.”
I can’t imagine why communion wine that has been exported for years would suddenly be considered a “security risk” but what do I know. You certainly can’t be too safe these days. Perhaps, just to be certain that this wine poses no future risk, they should send some soldiers into Bethlehem to destroy any bottle of wine less than two years old. That ought to do the trick.