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BYU lifts security restrictions at Jerusalem Center

BYU Jerusalem Center
BYU Jerusalem Center
Deseret News archives

PROVO — School officials lifted travel restrictions imposed on students and others at the BYU Jerusalem Center on Wednesday, a week after violence erupted in the wake of President Donald Trump's announcement that the United States would recognize the city as Israel's capital.

The change was announced through a security update on the BYU Jerusalem Center's website.

"While there are still tensions and incidents in the south of Israel along the border with Gaza, events there have little effect on security in and around Jerusalem," the update said. "Security and risks have returned to a level where students and other center personnel can be in the Old City and East Jerusalem during daylight hours."

BYU officials expected unrest and possible violence after Trump's announcement and restricted students, faculty and others at the center from traveling into East Jerusalem and the Old City beginning Dec. 7. The BYU center is about a mile from the Old City in an isolated area surrounded by important Arab sites and neighborhoods.

Likewise, the State Department restricted travel for U.S. government employees in Jerusalem and the West Bank and warned U.S. citizens to avoid crowded areas, according to the Washington Post.

On Sunday, BYU had modified the restrictions, allowing students to travel into the Christian and Armenian Quarters of the Old City only through the Jaffa Gate. Students, faculty and staff were required to travel by taxi.

Wednesday's announcement lifted the restrictions on travel to the Old City and East Jerusalem.

The BYU Jerusalem Center opened in 1987. Unrest in the region led BYU to suspend studies there in 2000, but students returned in 2007. BYU security and administrators constantly monitor security issues and implement travel restrictions based on events in the city and region.