Church of Mary Magdalene
Church of Mary MagdaleneiStock

The IDF's Education and Youth Corps invited IDF commanders to bring their soldiers on a trip which includes entering churches in Jerusalem's Arab neighborhoods, as well as a tour showcasing Jesus' life and various characters in the New Testament.

Jewish law forbids entering a church.

However, due to a complaint from Arutz Sheva, it was removed from the list of tours offered to IDF commanders.

The tour is relatively new, and was offered as part of the "basket" of tours put together by the Education and Youth Corps. It is described as "an interesting route which takes participants on a journey of different cultures, and exposes them especially to the Christian culture."

Included in the tour's itinerary are the Chapel of the Ascension, the Church of the Pater Noster, the Church of Mary Magdalene, the Church of All Nations, and the Dominus Flevit Church. Participants would learn that the Chapel of the Ascension received its name "because Jesus went up to heaven from the Mount of Olives, forty days after he rose from his grave," as well as other Christian beliefs regarding the site.

According to the IDF, such tours encourage acceptance of other religions and provide a basis for religious freedom.