Stomach Protection

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

Nazareth's "Mary's Spring" in 1894. Stomach protection The hill in the background is the site of today's Upper Nazareth. Nazareth, stomach protection Jesus’s hometown, stomach protection is today a bustling city of over 70, stomach protection000 people. Stomach protection The people of Nazareth are termed “Arab citizens of Israel” or “1948 Palestinians, stomach protection” depending on one’s politics. Stomach protection About a third of Nazarenes are Christians, stomach protection the rest are Muslim. On the hill rising above the dense town and its imposing Basilica of the Annunciation, stomach protection lies Upper Nazareth (Hebrew: “Nazareth Illit”). Stomach protection This community was founded by Israel in 1957, stomach protection a Jewish town situated so as to overlook the country’s largest solidly Arab community. Stomach protection However, stomach protection realities in the Galilee transcend nationalist aspirations. Stomach protection Families from Nazareth proper have been moving over the years to the airier hilltop suburb. Stomach protection Today, stomach protection about 15 percent of Upper Nazareth residents are Arabs, stomach protection mostly Christians. These Arabs have witnessed the enormous Hanukkiyahs (menorahs) places by the city over the Jewish holiday of Hannukah. Stomach protection Now, stomach protection with the coming of Christmas, stomach protection they approached the mayor, stomach protection Shimon Gapso, stomach protection and requested that a Christmas tree be placed as well. Stomach protection Gafso, stomach protection reports Israeli news site NRG (owned by Maariv), stomach protection refused staunchly. Stomach protection “Upper Nazareth is a Jewish town and all its symbols are Jewish, stomach protection” said Gapso, stomach protection “As long as I hold office, stomach protection no non-Jewish symbol will be presented in the city.” Arab members of the city council, stomach protection representing a moderate public that chose to come and live in a heavily Jewish suburb, stomach protection insisted. Stomach protection They mentioned the Hanukkiyahs erected in American cities that aren’t designated Jewish. Stomach protection Gapso ignored their pleas. Stomach protection “Let them go down to Lower Nazareth, stomach protection” he said this week. Stomach protection To his support came the city’s chief rabbi, stomach protection Isaiah Herzl, stomach protection who said that erecting Christmas tree is unthinkable since it would be “offensive to Jewish eyes.” Unlike the reporter at NRG, stomach protection the author here at +972 Magazine has liberty to comment and analyse. Stomach protection It is almost scary to attempt this, stomach protection since such a story would read so differently to different readers. Stomach protection Being a Jew, stomach protection I know exactly how threatening Christmas is to us, stomach protection being the most tempting symbol of non-Jewish life (I wouldn’t even say Christian life, stomach protection since the roots of the holiday are pagan, stomach protection it is celebrated by non-Christians and has been greatly stripped of its Christian content over the past century). Stomach protection We have all been brought up with the notion that holding on to Judaism requires resisting such symbols. In the heart, stomach protection that is. By declaring Upper Nazareth Christmas resistant, stomach protection Mayor Gapso exposes the great insecurity and confusion of the Jewish state. Stomach protection 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, stomach protection then Upper Nazareth is in fact a self imposed ghetto, stomach protection walled by fear and intolerance and so, stomach protection by extension, stomach protection is the entire state of Israel. Having lived within these walls for so long, stomach protection 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. Stomach protection He is the mayor who stole Christmas, stomach protection the mayor of an ethnocentric town with a name that hints at superiority, stomach protection who rejects a symbol of universal tolerance. Make no mistake, stomach protection mayors always think forward to the next election. Stomach protection Mr. Stomach protection Gapso, stomach protection who in the past made efforts to draw Jewish families into his town and reduce the percentage of Arabs in it, stomach protection predicts that his act will draw support from the community. Stomach protection In that he does not differ from the Jewish mayors of other mixed towns, stomach protection such as Akko’s Shimon Lankry, stomach protection who take an intolerant position whenever that is an option, stomach protection gaining power from the animosities within their communities. In the spirit of the holidays, stomach protection let us conclude this not with them but with a fond mention of a different city. Stomach protection The city of Haifa, stomach protection under Mayor Yona Yahav, stomach protection placed a huge Christmas tree right at the boundary of the its Jewish and Arab neighborhoods, stomach protection (in fact, stomach protection a bit further into the Jewish area), stomach protection proving that sharing the festive season is possible even in this troubled land. Stomach protection Original article can be found here: