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Mayor of Nazareth suburb bans Christmas Trees  or how the mayor of a Nazareth suburb stole Christmas....***

Nazareth's "Mary's Spring" in 1894. Discount flovent The hill in the background is the site of today's Upper Nazareth. Nazareth, discount flovent Jesus’s hometown, discount flovent is today a bustling city of over 70, discount flovent000 people. Discount flovent The people of Nazareth are termed “Arab citizens of Israel” or “1948 Palestinians, discount flovent” depending on one’s politics. Discount flovent About a third of Nazarenes are Christians, discount flovent the rest are Muslim. On the hill rising above the dense town and its imposing Basilica of the Annunciation, discount flovent lies Upper Nazareth (Hebrew: “Nazareth Illit”). Discount flovent This community was founded by Israel in 1957, discount flovent a Jewish town situated so as to overlook the country’s largest solidly Arab community. Discount flovent However, discount flovent realities in the Galilee transcend nationalist aspirations. Discount flovent Families from Nazareth proper have been moving over the years to the airier hilltop suburb. Discount flovent Today, discount flovent about 15 percent of Upper Nazareth residents are Arabs, discount flovent mostly Christians. These Arabs have witnessed the enormous Hanukkiyahs (menorahs) places by the city over the Jewish holiday of Hannukah. Discount flovent Now, discount flovent with the coming of Christmas, discount flovent they approached the mayor, discount flovent Shimon Gapso, discount flovent and requested that a Christmas tree be placed as well. Discount flovent Gafso, discount flovent reports Israeli news site NRG (owned by Maariv), discount flovent refused staunchly. Discount flovent “Upper Nazareth is a Jewish town and all its symbols are Jewish, discount flovent” said Gapso, discount flovent “As long as I hold office, discount flovent no non-Jewish symbol will be presented in the city.” Arab members of the city council, discount flovent representing a moderate public that chose to come and live in a heavily Jewish suburb, discount flovent insisted. Discount flovent They mentioned the Hanukkiyahs erected in American cities that aren’t designated Jewish. Discount flovent Gapso ignored their pleas. Discount flovent “Let them go down to Lower Nazareth, discount flovent” he said this week. Discount flovent To his support came the city’s chief rabbi, discount flovent Isaiah Herzl, discount flovent who said that erecting Christmas tree is unthinkable since it would be “offensive to Jewish eyes.” Unlike the reporter at NRG, discount flovent the author here at +972 Magazine has liberty to comment and analyse. Discount flovent It is almost scary to attempt this, discount flovent since such a story would read so differently to different readers. Discount flovent Being a Jew, discount flovent I know exactly how threatening Christmas is to us, discount flovent being the most tempting symbol of non-Jewish life (I wouldn’t even say Christian life, discount flovent since the roots of the holiday are pagan, discount flovent it is celebrated by non-Christians and has been greatly stripped of its Christian content over the past century). Discount flovent We have all been brought up with the notion that holding on to Judaism requires resisting such symbols. In the heart, discount flovent that is. By declaring Upper Nazareth Christmas resistant, discount flovent Mayor Gapso exposes the great insecurity and confusion of the Jewish state. Discount flovent If the only way to maintain the Jewish character of his town is by showing complete lack of tolerance and resisting integration of its non-Jewish residents, discount flovent then Upper Nazareth is in fact a self imposed ghetto, discount flovent walled by fear and intolerance and so, discount flovent by extension, discount flovent is the entire state of Israel. Having lived within these walls for so long, discount flovent Mayor Gapso has absolutely no clue what non-Jews around the world would feel when hearing that the mayor of a Nazareth suburb bans Christmas trees. Discount flovent He is the mayor who stole Christmas, discount flovent the mayor of an ethnocentric town with a name that hints at superiority, discount flovent who rejects a symbol of universal tolerance. Make no mistake, discount flovent mayors always think forward to the next election. Discount flovent Mr. Discount flovent Gapso, discount flovent who in the past made efforts to draw Jewish families into his town and reduce the percentage of Arabs in it, discount flovent predicts that his act will draw support from the community. Discount flovent In that he does not differ from the Jewish mayors of other mixed towns, discount flovent such as Akko’s Shimon Lankry, discount flovent who take an intolerant position whenever that is an option, discount flovent gaining power from the animosities within their communities. In the spirit of the holidays, discount flovent let us conclude this not with them but with a fond mention of a different city. Discount flovent The city of Haifa, discount flovent under Mayor Yona Yahav, discount flovent placed a huge Christmas tree right at the boundary of the its Jewish and Arab neighborhoods, discount flovent (in fact, discount flovent a bit further into the Jewish area), discount flovent proving that sharing the festive season is possible even in this troubled land. Discount flovent Original article can be found here: