In 2010 we visited a Jordan River baptism site at the point where the out-flow of the Sea of Galilee entered the Jordan River.
At the time we were told this most northern point of the Jordan River was the only part accessible to Israeli tourists. The rest of the river to the Dead Sea was in a military zone–and there was hardly any water in it due to agricultural use.
The western bank is in the territory of the Palestinians known, logically, as The West Bank.
In 2010, we were told the western bank of the Jordan River from the most southern point of the Sea of Galilee was a Palestinian military zone off-limits to Israelis and tourists.
It seems evident to me that Israelis saw great value in having a tourist site available for Christian baptisms closer to the actual site of Jesus’ baptism in the gospels. I do not know the process or negotiations that took place between them, but Israelis spent a great amount of money, I’m sure, to obtain, secure and build up this very nice place for baptisms.
All this resulted in a continual flow of tourists coming to be baptized.
Two being baptized that day were my two granddaughters.
Have you ever before seen a baptism with an armed guard?
What a happy day.