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Way In

To you in David’s town

Chances of a silent night in Bethlehem have decreased significantly since a travel agent has started offering stag-do holidays to the area.

The company, called Last Night of Freedom, has begun offering a two day tour to the city as part of a five night trip to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It says this is the 'perfect combination of culture and camaraderie.'

The company does say that 'partying will not be an option as part of the cultural side of the trip', with nightlife enjoyment limited to the time spent in Tel Aviv, but the managing director Matt Mavir claims that the Israel trip is part of a trend for more unusual pre-wedding destinations.

'We're now starting to get more variation in locations', he said. 'Whilst the more traditional destinations such as Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest and Tallinn remain popular choices, we're really enjoying offering locations that may never have been considered previously.'

Bethlehem has a large Arab Christian population, and alcohol, including the local specialty, arak, is widely available. But the region is undeniably tense region and the effect incoming stag revellers will have is not yet clear.

Last Night of Freedom said they would offer advice on observing local sensitivities and awareness of the political situation in the area to travellers. All visitors to Bethlehem must pass through an Israeli-managed check point, and security at Tel Aviv airport can be strict.

'[Guests] will always be accompanied throughout the full trip, to ensure they aren't left unaware of expectations', a company spokesperson said.

Tel Aviv in Israel is better understood as a party destination. 'Things don't get going until around 11:00pm', Mr Mahir said, 'and there's no last orders policy, so you'll be able to watch biblical sunrises in the early hours.