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Holy Family Hospital welcomes first Christmas newborn: a sign of hope

Palestine, 25 December 2020

The Order’s Holy Family Hospital all-Palestinian staff of 172 eagerly awaited the first Christmas baby as a sign of hope against the grim backdrop of Covid in Bethlehem. That first baby of Christmas was born at the Hospital at 2:05 am and was greeted by the peal of Bethlehem’s Christmas bells. Baby Gayth was expertly delivered into the arms of his parents by midwives Hanan and Ala. Linda, his mother, explained that Baby Gayth was the Christmas gift they had been awaiting since the beginning of the pandemic.

Unemployment and poverty have soared under the pandemic. Bethlehem, being the poorest Palestinian governate after Gaza, has a fragile economy even in good times. Food insecurity is growing, disproportionately impacting women and children. Despite the difficulties, the staff of the Order of Malta’s Hospital have been working twelve hour shifts, no days off, to care for the mothers and babies and to keep the Hospital open and safe despite the threat posed by Covid.

A joint project across the Order of Malta, under the operational responsibilities of the French Association of the Order of Malta, the Holy Family Hospital provides the population of Bethlehem and its surrounding area with high-quality maternity care for all patients.

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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.