Bethlehem is a city in the central West Bank, Palestine, about 10 km south of Jerusalem. Its population is approximately 25,000, and it is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate. The economy is primarily tourist-driven, peaking during the Christmas season, when Christians make pilgrimage to the Church of the Nativity. The important holy site of Rachel's Tomb is at the northern entrance of Bethlehem, though not freely accessible to the city's own inhabitants and in general Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank due to the Israeli West Bank barrier.
The earliest known mention of Bethlehem was in the Amarna correspondence of 1350–1330 BCE when the town was inhabited by the Canaanites. The Hebrew Bible, which says that the city of Bethlehem was built up as a fortified city by Rehoboam, identifies it as the city David was from and where he was crowned as the king of Israel. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke identify Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus.