BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian worshipers at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity have held a special prayer for the health of Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez.

Dozens of Christian worshippers participated in Sunday’s prayer at the church, which is built on the site where Christian tradition says Jesus was born. Chavez, who is recovering from cancer surgery in Cuba, is an outspoken critic of Israel and supporter of Palestinian independence.

Palestinian Tourism Minister Rula Maayah was among the participants. She says of Chavez, “We hope he will recover soon.”

Venezuela’s government has said Chavez suffered complications during a difficult six-hour surgery last week but has since been recovering progressively.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.