ELIAS FREIJ, the mayor of Bethlehem, died on Sunday. Freij, 80, died of kidney and heart failure after being admitted to hospital for dialysis. Bethlehem's mayor for 25 years and a Greek Orthodox Christian, Freij was host to an annual Christmas Eve party outside the Church of the Nativity that drew thousands of pilgrims. When Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat set up an autonomous Palestinian government in 1994, Freij became the first Palestinian minister of tourism.
- AP, Bethlehem
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