IDF coordinates rare passage to West Bank;
Roman Catholic vicar says Christians in Strip not targeted by authorities, but 'Islamic lifestyle that is being imposed'
More than 500 members of the Gaza Strip's tiny Christian community left the blockaded territory on Thursday to participate in Christmas celebrations in Jesus' traditional birthplace of Bethlehem.
The Israeli military coordinated the rare passage to the West Bank ahead of the holiday, saying it was part of its goal to ensure freedom of worship for all religions.
About 3,500 Christians live in Gaza among 1.5 million Muslims. Relations have traditionally been good, though there has been sporadic violence against Christians since the Islamic Hamas movement wrestled control of the strip three years ago.
Residents leaving Gaza on Thursday played down any differences with Ham
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