Israel’s war on Christmas rages on

Israel/Palestine
on 100 Comments
Christmas_Trees__Banned_in_Nazareth-600x374

Issa Kassissieh, dressed as Santa Claus, carries a Christmas tree outside the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem Dec. 23, 2008.(Photo: Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

In what has become a yearly holiday tradition, Israeli politicians are attempting to quash official attempts to recognize Christmas. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports:

Israeli Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said it would be inappropriate to place a Christmas tree on prominent display in the Knesset following a request from a Christian lawmaker.

Edelstein suggested in a statement released Sunday that Hanna Swaid of the Israeli-Arab Hadash party, who is Christian, place a Christmas tree in his office or in the party’s faction room.

“I do not believe it appropriate to order the erection of a Christmas tree as you requested,” Edelstein wrote.

Swaid on Sunday told Israeli media that he was disappointed in Edelstein’s response.

“The public space does not only belong to the Jewish majority. It should show other groups,” he told The Jerusalem Post.

This isn’t a new issue in Israel. See this post for a similar story from 2009 about the fight over Christmas displays in Jerusalem, and this 2010 story about how Nazareth Illit mayor Shimon Gapso banned Christmas trees in town centers calling them a “provocation.” Last year Jonathan Cook reported on how the rabbinate was threatening to withhold kashrut certification to hotels with Christmas decorations, in essence putting them out of business. O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, You fill my heart with existential dread.

Meanwhile, Israel has denied entry permits to five Arab tourism ministers who hoped to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem. From Ma’an News:

Israel refused to issue entry permits to five ministers who were expected to start arriving on Monday in order to attend Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem, PA Minister of Tourism Rula Maaya told Ma’an.

Among other events, Maaya said they were scheduled to attend the Christmas Eve midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity, the traditional site of Jesus’ birth.

What exactly is Israel scared of?

The war on Christmas gets real! (Apologies for the blue language and distinct lack of holiday spirit)

The war on Christmas gets real! (Apologies for the blue language and distinct lack of holiday spirit)

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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100 Responses

  1. OlegR
    December 23, 2013, 9:42 am

    /“The public space does not only belong to the Jewish majority. It should show other groups,” he told The Jerusalem Post./
    The public space in Christian neighbourhoods and cities is full of Christmas symbology and that is perfectly fine.
    The public space in official state establishments like the Knesset has to balance between the definition of the state as a Jewish state with Jewish values and the rights of minorities in the state.
    Given the historic relationship between Christianity and Judasim displaying christian symbols in official state establishments can be prbolematic.
    Christmas symbology notwithstanding.

    I am personally putting and decorating a tree at my home
    though thats a child who grew up in USSR thing not a Christmas one.

    • Ron Edwards
      December 24, 2013, 10:33 am

      Oh for golly gosh sake.

      1. “… in Christian neighbourhoods and cities …” first, what’s the term ‘Christian city’ supposed to mean, in Israel, or an Israel-controlled area? Second, that line is classic bigotry – it’s fine for THEM over THERE, which is pure NIMBY crap.

      2. You actually think there’s something identifiable as ‘balance’ between “the definition of the state as a Jewish state with Jewish values and the rights of minorities within the state.” If so, it looks like a ten-ton weight out of a Chuck Jones cartoon on top of real-live marginalized and immiserated people.

      What you do in your home has precisely zero relevance to the point at hand.

      • OlegR
        December 24, 2013, 10:38 am

        /what’s the term ‘Christian city’ supposed to mean, in Israel, or an Israel-controlled area?/
        Cities with sizeable christian population obviously there aren’t that many
        in Israel. Nazrat and Jerusalem are the obvious examples there is also Haifa.
        I evere to demand a big Hanukah put in Nazrat one of the holiest Christian cities there would have been a wave of outrage
        on the pages of this site as well btw.

        /You actually think there’s something identifiable as ‘balance’ between “the definition of the state as a Jewish state with Jewish values and the rights of minorities within the state.”/

        Sure there is like in any other nation state in the world.
        Minorities must have every personal civilian right but only a limited collective political rights.
        That is more or less maintained in Israel.

      • Hostage
        December 24, 2013, 1:19 pm

        I evere to demand a big Hanukah put in Nazrat one of the holiest Christian cities there would have been a wave of outrage
        on the pages of this site as well btw.

        Hardly, it’s a standing practice here in the US to require a Menorah along side public displays of the Christian nativity scenes on public property. FYI, the Jewish symbols and stories in the Tanach are an integral part of the theology of many Christian denominations, so they don’t usually find a Menorah offensive.

      • American
        December 24, 2013, 1:31 pm

        I noticed there is no Menorah in our Library this year…several years ago there was one put out on a table next to the Christmas tree. I dont know if that year it was because someone demanded it or asked to put one in the Library or not but I havent seen one displayed in the years since.
        Come to think of it the downown public park has its usual nativity scene and I didnt notice a menorah there either.

      • OlegR
        December 24, 2013, 4:18 pm

        This is not the US

      • Hostage
        December 24, 2013, 5:15 pm

        OlegR: This is not the US.

        I know. I point that out every time some hasbarist says we share the same values or that Israel wants to be a normal nation like all the rest.

        There’s little or no effort to make the Jewish state remotely like a western multi-cultural society. Your former religious affairs minister not only introduced legislation to outlaw Christianity per se, he even refused to recognize Reform and Conservative Rabbis and their congregations.

  2. Krauss
    December 23, 2013, 9:59 am

    There’s also a racial question here:

    Most of those discriminated against are Arabs. Would Israel have denied entry to white Christians? Never, of course.

    And not putting a Christmas tree when there is no competing Jewish holiday is racist, just like Congress or the WH refusing to celebrate Jewish holidays even when there are no competing holidays at that time(or even when there are, like Passover).

    I’m sure some would say “well there are so few Christians in Israel, why would it be an issue”? There are few Jews in America too.

    When even trivial matters like this becomes too much for the dominant ethno-religious group, then it is simply another sign that Israel’s slide towards a total and unrelenting ethnocracy not merely continues but intensifies.
    It is pretty sad, when you think about it, to witness it.

    • Taxi
      December 23, 2013, 11:16 am

      I ain’t “sad’, Krauss, I’m disgusted. By zionist greed and envy.

    • W.Jones
      December 23, 2013, 11:32 am

      Krauss,

      Christmas is a recognized holiday in the PA, for what it’s worth.

      Jesus’ birth is valued by Muslims too and they take it He was born to a virgin, however they do not recognize that He underwent death, and generally they do not have a celebration on Dec. 25.

    • thetruthhurts
      December 23, 2013, 6:54 pm

      adam- would you reprint the article from last year saying how rabbis were spitting on catholic palestinian priests?

    • Citizen
      December 23, 2013, 9:49 pm

      I’m sure some would say “well there are so few Christians in Israel, why would it be an issue”? There are few Jews in America too.

      2.1% of Israelis are Christians: What’s the current stat on Americans who are Jewish? 2.8 or 2.9%

  3. mondonut
    December 23, 2013, 11:02 am

    The annual and tedious Foxnews “War on Christmas” is nonsense enough, this “reporting” is just plain ridiculous.

    • Hostage
      December 24, 2013, 11:13 am

      The annual and tedious Foxnews “War on Christmas” is nonsense enough, this “reporting” is just plain ridiculous.

      The thing that’s ridiculous is the way Courts in Israel have allowed demonstrations and riots to take place outside Christians homes and the way many Jewish authorities, including Knesset members, delight in being extremist anti-missionaries, gather and burn copies of the Christians scriptures, torment Christians whenever possible, and stamp out any symbol or reference to “that man” (Jesus), and then hypocritically howl that Gentiles are anti-Semites for calling them enemies of the Christians and their Christ. You really can’t have it both ways and pretend Israel practices religious tolerance.

      • OlegR
        December 24, 2013, 11:21 am

        Well the liar stikes again.
        How many Christian were burned by Israeli Knesset members.
        How many Knesset members participated in it?
        /many Jewish authorities/
        Many that’s more then on and less then a dosen ?
        What athorities ? And didn’t you mean Israeli authorities instead of
        Jewish authorities ?

        / torment Christians whenever possible/
        How in what way and was it because of their Christianity ?

        Let’s go Hostage.

      • Hostage
        December 24, 2013, 2:24 pm

        Well the liar stikes again. How many Christian were burned by Israeli Knesset members.
        How many Knesset members participated in it?

        Yeah, every time you post. You might try responding to my comment instead of making up your own straw men.

        /many Jewish authorities/ Many that’s more then on and less then a dosen ? What athorities ? And didn’t you mean Israeli authorities instead of Jewish authorities ?

        So far as I’m concerned the entire Orthodox Jewish Rabbinate and the Jewish burial societies persecute Messianic Jews and Christians by prohibiting intermarriage with Jews, and burials of Gentile family members in Jewish cemeteries, & etc.

        / torment Christians whenever possible/
        How in what way and was it because of their Christianity ?

        Spitting on them, holding mass protest rallies and demonstrations outside Church members private residences, and staging riots outside their Churches when they conduct baptism ceremonies.

        Check my comment archives I’ve discussed the incidents and Court cases in the past or just visit the Yad L’Achim website and read about their own accounts of anti-missionary work for yourself. Their members include Rabbis on the state payroll and they use their connections in the Interior Ministry and with police to harass Christians. Here’s a news report about the Jewish “Big Brother” and stop acting like you don’t know what I’m talking about: link to youtube.com

      • OlegR
        December 24, 2013, 11:25 am

        Were you talking about the clown Ben Ari
        because he is no longer a Kneset member precisely because
        of his stupid insensitive provocative conduct.
        So who else besides him?
        Or did you just inflate your data a little to make it sound better
        ha Liar?

      • Hostage
        December 24, 2013, 2:01 pm

        Were you talking about the clown Ben Ari
        because he is no longer a Kneset member precisely because
        of his stupid insensitive provocative conduct.

        I don’t see how that changes the fact that he was a representative serving in the Knesset when he tore-up that copy of the Christian scriptures and tossed them in the trash. I hardly think he lost his seat over the issue either.

        So who else besides him? Or did you just inflate your data a little to make it sound better
        ha Liar?

        Well for heaven’s sakes, there’s always Yakov Margi, he is still there. On several occasions he has introduced Yad L’Achim-backed legislation to completely outlaw Christian missions or Christian evangelism in Israel altogther. He was punished by being appointed the Minister for Religious Affairs and Shas Parliamentary Group Chairman. It would be tedious to list all of the members of the Knesset who back anti-missionary measures and legislation.

        Here are a couple more responses to the Bible Society mailing of the Christian scriptures:
        Arutz Sheva has learned that many MKs are furious, among them Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely, who said she has asked Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin to put a stop to the dissemination of what she said is outright missionary material in the Knesset.
        link to israelnationalnews.com

        MK Nissim Ze’ev (Shas) said the New Testaments sent to the Knesset were written by “heretics” – meaning messianic Jews – and as such must be burned.

        Here is an Arab MK’s response: “I got a copy of the New Testament in the mail, too, but I never thought to rip it up or burn it,” MK Masud Gnaim (UAL-Ta’al) said, calling Ben-Ari and Ze’ev racists. “As a Muslim, I respect all religions’ holy books.”
        link to jpost.com

      • OlegR
        December 24, 2013, 4:20 pm

        So foreign missionaries are unwelcome by Israeli/Jewish society
        where is the persecution of the native Arab /Christian population?

      • Hostage
        December 24, 2013, 5:04 pm

        So foreign missionaries are unwelcome by Israeli/Jewish society
        where is the persecution of the native Arab /Christian population?

        Don’t be ridiculous, the anti-missionary laws apply to all indigenous Christians and Yad L’Achim routinely attacks Messianic Jews born and raised right in Israel.

        The signatories of the Kairos Palestine document included the heads of the native Arab /Christian Churches and population. The yearly Kairos Palestine Christmas Alerts have highlighted problems involving freedom of movement to the Holy sites, and disruption of homes and refusal to grant family reunification for residents in East Jerusalem and Israel.
        * link to kairospalestine.ps
        * link to kairospalestine.ps

    • puppies
      December 24, 2013, 3:02 pm

      Ridiculous? Of course it is because it’s at the very essence of the Jewish State, by definition. Don’t forget that the Zionist concept of Jewish is not entirely racist but theocratic, too! Millions of people under governments sympathetic to Zionism want to know what a Jewish State means, and what they are paying for.

  4. Chu
    December 23, 2013, 12:02 pm

    Ironic that Israel wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the patronage of their Christian United States ally [78% in 2012]. Kind of insulting to the patron, yet no news media addresses this in a significant way. Is this part of a white-guilt campaign – don’t criticize other religions? But at some point, it’s inevitable when that ‘religious’ group is a severe burden to national interests.

    Even if Israel provided some great benefits to their US ally, it doesn’t give them the right to reject a Christian holiday. Or does it? It’s the Jewish state, and apparently they will do what’s necessary to keep it Jewish.

  5. Chu
    December 23, 2013, 12:04 pm

    This X-mas ordeal is a small problem compared to their tattered image of an apartheid state. These chauvinist boobs cant recognize that the time to make peace while looking good is setting sail.

    The world is changing and the Jewish state is looking more bizarre than ever. And only the Jews know what’s good for them! Stuck in the collective mud because they can’t understand simple logic. (Where’s Mooser to properly frame this dilemma?)

  6. nabraham
    December 23, 2013, 12:09 pm

    The trend goes back several decades when religious ultranationalists complained about a light display in a building in Jerusalem in the shape of a cross. They went completely over the edge when they came up with an alternative to the plus sign, the internationally recognized mathematical symbol. This and much more (e.g., barring Western non-Jews from living in various areas, forcing the raising of pigs on platforms so as the keep the Land pure, etc.) was reported on by the late Israel Shahak, Prof. of Chemistry, Hebrew University, and tireless opponent of religious chauvinism, bigotry, and discrimination.
    Thanks for the story. I have retweeted it challenging Michele Bachmann, Megyn Kelly, Fox News to take their “war” to the Holy State. Not holding my breath.

    • yonah fredman
      December 24, 2013, 4:08 pm

      nabraham- Just because Israel Shahak reported it, doesn’t mean it’s not bullshit.
      Forced raising of pigs on platforms? Prove it with a link, otherwise it’s bullshit.

  7. seafoid
    December 23, 2013, 12:16 pm

    It is all so pathetic. They call it democracy but there is no parity of esteem for non Jewish values.

  8. talknic
    December 23, 2013, 12:46 pm

    The State of Israel will … ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. link to knesset.gov.il

    • Hostage
      December 23, 2013, 7:44 pm

      . . . it will tell you whatever you want to hear.

      Dr. Mallison cited the legal obligations Israel took-on regarding treatment of its minorities under the terms of its declaration and the partition plan and said that

      “In most civilized legal systems it is recognized that legal rights may only be exercised conditioned upon compliance with legal duties. The refusal of the State of Israel to comply with the nondiscriminatory requirements of the Palestine partition resolution, its main claim to title, puts in serious jeopardy its claim to legal title to the limited territory allocated to it by the resolution.”

      See Mallison’s testimony during the Senate hearings on “The Colonization Of The West Bank Territories By Israel”, page 50 link to loc.gov

  9. NormanF
    December 23, 2013, 1:33 pm

    Adam – you’re a world class hypocrite!

    The real war on Christianity is happening around the Arab Muslim Middle East where Christians have been massacred, churches desecrated and shelled and Christians denied basic human rights, including freedom of religious worship.

    But you choose to focus on Israel being afraid of Christmas, which you know perfectly well is NOT true!

    Your silence on real crimes being perpetrated by Muslim Arabs against the persecuted Christian communities of the Arab Muslim Middle East is sheer chutzpah.

    • Walid
      December 23, 2013, 1:56 pm

      “The real war on Christianity is happening around the Arab Muslim Middle East where Christians have been massacred, churches desecrated and shelled and Christians denied basic human rights, including freedom of religious worship.”

      If you’d like hard enough, Norman, you’d see that those massacring the Christians and burning their churches or more simply, not allowing churches to be built in their countries are the allies of Israel or of the US or both. But these days, the fundies are the good guys as far as the US and Israel are concerned.

      • thetruthhurts
        December 23, 2013, 7:13 pm

        why do you waste your time responding to this psychotic israeli loving virus. don’t you understand it’s just trying to inflict chaos and dissagreement?
        just let it pass, you know what i mean?

    • Taxi
      December 23, 2013, 2:20 pm

      Norman F

      Actually, there are “moslem Arabs” who are defending, protecting, and even dying while saving “christians” (I’m sure you meant christian ARABS, but couldn’t bring yourself to say it!). Bashar of Syria is doing just that, fighting islamist takfiri terrorists, some of them working with israel. Hizbollah too is fighting to protect Levant christians. So there goes your islamophobic-arabphobic theory down the xmas toilet.

      And you think no one noticed the house of zion shacking up with the house of saud?

      Besides, the topic is xmas and israel, not ziono-saud terrorism.

      Your pathetic hissy fit is aimed at distracting and reeks of narcissistic victimhood.

    • talknic
      December 23, 2013, 4:32 pm

      NormanF “The real war on Christianity is happening around the Arab Muslim Middle East where Christians have been massacred, churches desecrated and shelled and Christians denied basic human rights, including freedom of religious worship”

      Specifically where, when, by whom? Sources please

      “But you choose to focus on Israel being afraid of Christmas, which you know perfectly well is NOT true!”

      What is Israel afraid of then that it DOESN’T allow what its declaration says it will?

      • MahaneYehude1
        December 23, 2013, 5:22 pm

        @talknic:

        Specifically where, when, by whom? Sources please

        Please:

        Iraq:
        link to shoebat.com

        Syria:
        link to christianpost.com

        link to worldwatchmonitor.org

        Egypt:
        link to aina.org

        Israel:
        link to timesofisrael.com

      • talknic
        December 24, 2013, 2:19 am

        Thanks not often ziosupremists come up with evidence of their claims

        Iraq: Amongst tens of hundreds of thousands of non-Christians since being f^&*ed by the US invasion
        Syria: ditto … since the suddenly armed opposition militias started a civil war
        Egypt: Not only Christians link to english.al-akhbar.com
        Israel: Those pesky ‘a’rabs must be dis-appointing for supporters of Israel’s Arab cleansing attempts

      • MahaneYehude1
        December 24, 2013, 8:21 am

        @talknic:

        You convinced me: There is no danger to the Christians in the Arab world. they are safe there, living their life without any troubles. The only place in the ME the Christians are in danger and under persecutions is in Israel. Adam’s post is the proof for that.

      • talknic
        December 24, 2013, 5:07 pm

        @ MahaneYehude1 “You convinced me: There is no danger to the Christians in the Arab world. “

        If you say so. I didn’t. If you can so easily convince yourself of bullsh*t with your pathetic strawman arguments you ought see a shrink

      • just
        December 24, 2013, 6:24 am

        Shoebat?

        LOLOLOLOL.

    • Citizen
      December 23, 2013, 10:01 pm

      @ NormanF

      The war on Christianity extends beyond Israel to many Arab countries, but only Israel get’s $8.5 million per day in direct aid, with interest, at the beginning of each year, with no string-attached, so that Israel is the number one recipient of US foreign aid in the entire history of the US. And only Israel and US politicians boast Israel shares the same values as the US, as Bibi N told the American people when he visited America not long ago. You know, the famous “Judeo-Christian values”?

    • braciole
      December 23, 2013, 10:48 pm

      Mostly it’s because of the Wahabbist fundamentalist nuts and good allies of Israel in Saudi Arabia (who are a bunch of rabid antisemites BTW) who rely on the support of the USG to maintain their theocratic despotic rule.

  10. yrn
    December 23, 2013, 6:01 pm

    talknic
    “Specifically where, when, by whom? Sources please”.

    Those are news from last days.

    Hypocrite Adam Horowitz, is not interested when Christians are Persecuted in Syria, or Egypt.

    The last decade has been catastrophic for the Middle East’s the 14 million Christians
    link to bbc.co.uk

    Persecution of Christians: no room at the inn
    link to theguardian.com

    World Turns Away as Rebel Massacres of Syrian Christians Intensify
    link to thenewamerican.com

    Seeking Safety, Syria’s Christians Flee to Turkey
    link to voanews.com

    Largest Massacre of Christians in Syria Ignored
    link to christianpost.com

    • yrn
      December 23, 2013, 6:08 pm

      talknic

      And now news about Christians in Egypt from Yesterday
      Tell Adam Horowitz, As he only searches in Israel.

      Lives of fear for Egypt’s Christians
      link to bbc.co.uk

      The crisis facing Christians in Egypt
      link to catholicherald.co.uk

      Islamic Party Member Renews Threats Against Coptic Christians in Egypt
      link to christianpost.com

      You need some more…………….

    • Hostage
      December 24, 2013, 12:05 am

      State of Palestine
      Palestine Liberation Organization Bethlehem, December 23, 2013

      Christmas Message of H.E President Mahmoud Abbas

      Palestine, the Holy Land, extends its warmest seasonal greetings to the peoples of the world on the holy occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him.
      In Bethlehem, more than 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born; a Palestinian messenger who would become a guiding light for millions around the world. As we Palestinians strive for our freedom two millennia later, we do our best to follow his example. We work with hope, seeking justice, in order to achieve a lasting peace.

      & etc.
      link to plodelegation.us

      • Walid
        December 24, 2013, 12:58 am

        Hostage, the message would have been somewhat more à propos to say it was a Palestinian Jewish messenger that was born 2000 years ago. Nonetheless, it was a good Christmas message by Abbas; the part in it that impressed me most:

        “… We pray for the people of Beit Jala and particularly we pray that the 58 Palestinian Christian families of Cremisan have strength in their peaceful struggle against the annexation Wall, which is stealing their land and dooming their future. We reassure them that their struggle goes beyond the borders of Palestine: their prayers and actions have prompted many world leaders to raise the Cremisan issue in our meetings. Israel has been pressured on this issue and many other issues raised through civil society campaigns, a very good example of the merits of non-violent resistance.

        On this occasion, we are reminded of the sad fact that more Bethlehemites will be lighting their candles in Santiago de Chile, Chicago, San Pedro de Sula, Melbourne and Toronto than those in Bethlehem. To them we say that Bethlehem is their town and Palestine is their country. We will continue working tirelessly to give them the freedom to decide where to spend Christmas.”

      • Hostage
        December 24, 2013, 1:56 am

        Hostage, the message would have been somewhat more à propos to say it was a Palestinian Jewish messenger that was born 2000 years ago.

        I think it would be a scandal if Netahyahu even mentioned “that man” in his Christmas greeting. If he ever claimed that Jesus was Jewish (and not a Gentile fifth columnist and existential threat from an-Nāṣira) he’d give the Rabbinate and Yad L’Achim apoplexy;-)

        Abbas is already in enough battles without opening another front and joining the war over “Who is a Jew?” (and who decides).

      • Walid
        December 24, 2013, 3:08 am

        That was funny, Hostage, I’m imagining Netanyahu having a fit over that.

      • Hostage
        December 24, 2013, 11:06 pm

        That was funny, Hostage, I’m imagining Netanyahu having a fit over that.

        Here’s his Christmas message, and there’s no mention of you know who.
        link to ynetnews.com

      • Walid
        December 24, 2013, 11:26 am

        “… we pray that the 58 Palestinian Christian families of Cremisan have strength in their peaceful struggle against the annexation Wall, which is stealing their land and dooming their future. ” (President Abbas)

        For those for whom the Cremisan does not ring a bell or the 58 families being dispossessed by Israel, Wiki reports:

        “The Cremisan Valley is a valley located on the seam line between the West Bank and Jerusalem. The Cremisan monastery is within Jerusalem municipal limits, while the storeroom on the other side of the parking lot is in the West Bank. The road to the monastery passes one of the coordinating offices between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

        The valley is one of the last green areas in the Bethlehem district, with vast stretches of agricultural lands and recreational grounds. The Salesian Sisters Convent and School, the Salesian Monastery and Cremisan Cellars are located in the valley. (the name “Salesian” is after the French saint, Saint François de Sales).

        The main convent and monastery are part of the Salesian order, founded by Don Bosco. The convent and school were opened in 1960 and have around 400 students in their primary school, kindergarten, as well as the school for children with learning disabilities. The school also hosts a number of community activities in the afternoons and also summer camps.

        The monastery, located on a hill 850 meters above sea level, is five kilometers from Bethlehem. It was built in 1885 on ruins of a 7th century Byzantine monastery. The main monastery, housed in a building featuring stone floors, thick walls and high arched ceilings, is decorated with pictures of Pope John Paul II and Don Bosco.

        Cremisan Cellars is a winery in operation since the establishment of the monastery in the 19th century. Modern equipment was introduced in 1997. The grapes are primarily harvested from the al-Khader area. Only 2% of the wine production (around 700,000 litres per year) is made from Cremisan’s own grapes. The rest comes mainly from Beit Jala, Beit Shemesh, and the Hebron area.

        On April 24, the Special Appeals Committee of the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court approved land appropriation for Israel’s security barrier along a route that would annex about 75 percent of the convent’s property and enclose it on three sides. The wall will also annex the farmland of 58 Palestinian families.

        The latest proposals for the barrier show it looping around the convent, keeping it on the Palestinian side, but splitting it from the neighbouring monastery, which would be on the Israeli side. The elementary children would still be allowed to attend the school, though they would have to pass by soldiers at an Israeli checkpoint. Landowners would be given limited access via an agricultural gate.

        According to the human rights group B’Tselem, 85 percent of the route falls inside the West Bank instead of following the Green Line. Residents of Beit Jala believe the route was chosen to connect the West Bank Israeli settlement of Har Gilo to nearby Gilo.

        In a May 6, 2013 letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Bishop Richard Pates, the chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote, “The Cremisan Valley is a microcosm of a protracted pattern that has serious implications for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict…As the wall moves and constricts more communities in the West Bank, the possibility of a future two-state resolution becomes less likely. Moving the wall and disassociating Palestinian families from their lands and livelihoods will incite more resentment against the State of Israel among residents of the West Bank, not less, increasing the frustrations that can lead to violence.”

        During the Second Intifada ten years ago, there were regular shootings from Beit Jala to Gilo. Israeli Defence Ministry spokesman Joshua Hantman says “The route of the security barrier is based on the specific security considerations of the area. In the Beit Jala region, it is there solely to keep terror out of Jerusalem.” During the Intifada, a wall was built around Gilo to protect the settlers but was removed in August 2010. Israeli Lieutenant-General Hezi Revivo, said, “The security situation in the area is better than it was in the period before the wall was built. It was constructed as a response to the attacks during Operation Defensive Shield and today I see no problem with removing it.”

        His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem says, “We remind Israeli decision-makers that the expropriation of lands does not serve the cause of peace and does not strengthen the position of the moderates.”

        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Obsidian
        December 24, 2013, 2:43 am

        @Hostage

        Hey Hostage. Do you have a Christmas tree in your house this season?

      • Walid
        December 24, 2013, 10:11 am

        I don’t know about Hostage, but I never failed to put up a beautiful tree every year. Religion has nothing to do with it; it’s a happy occasion.

      • Walid
        December 24, 2013, 10:58 am

        Obsidian, you’ll be happy to learn that today, Sharia-headed Iraq officially declared Christmas Day as a legal holiday for all Iraqis. In 2008 it had been declared a holiday for Christians but now it’s a holiday for the whole country.

      • Hostage
        December 24, 2013, 12:15 pm

        Hey Hostage. Do you have a Christmas tree in your house this season?

        No, but I hang strings of Christmas lights on the evergreens in the front yard and on the outside of the house. I used to put up trees in the house when the children were growing up and wanted one. But it was never really habit forming or done for religious reasons.

      • Obsidian
        December 24, 2013, 1:07 pm

        @Hostage

        Yeah. I guessed as much.

        BTW. Did you encounter much anti-semitism in the military?

      • Bumblebye
        December 24, 2013, 2:57 pm

        Obstreperous
        Even Jonathan Freedland’s having a Christmas tree this year:
        link to theguardian.com
        for the same reasons most Brits do.
        And Edward Snowden is giving Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas Message!
        (Alternative to the Queen’s, that is.)

      • Hostage
        December 24, 2013, 3:08 pm

        BTW. Did you encounter much anti-semitism in the military?

        No, but attempts to obtain exemptions from dress and appearance regulations to permit observance of orthodox customs were an issue with a few Jews. They claimed the treatment was discriminatory, but the services were just imposing absolute uniformity on everyone. They treated other groups who want exemptions in exactly the same way.

    • Walid
      December 24, 2013, 12:38 am

      yrn, you’re being obtuse; this thread is about the mistreatment of Christians in your unholy land, it’s not about what’s happening in Syria. 99% of those butchered in Syria are Muslims and the butchering is being done by the fundamentalist perverts that the West is funding and arming and that Israel is treating in its hospitals.

      • OlegR
        December 24, 2013, 4:24 pm

        /West is funding and arming and that Israel is treating in its hospitals./

        These fundamentalist perverts ?

        “Do something, write, tell the world,” cries out Dr. Arieh Avidan, deputy director of the ophthalmology department at the Rebecca Sieff Hospital in Safed. He is still haunted by the image of a 15-year-old boy who arrived at the hospital in recent days with a missing hand and both eyes shattered.
        link to haaretz.com

    • talknic
      December 24, 2013, 2:37 am

      @ yrn says:
      “Hypocrite Adam Horowitz, is not interested when Christians are Persecuted in Syria, or Egypt”

      Uh huh, ye olde hijack the thread and start shooting the messenger routine

      So what? Would it make any difference to what’s happening in your sacred rogue State of Israel?

      • Walid
        December 24, 2013, 3:39 am

        Bethlehem, a mere 9 km from Jerusalem is inaccessible to most Christians in Israel and the West Bank because the horrible racist wall that surrounds and chokes the city along with many checkpoints to hinder those willing to make the tortuous trip. The livelihood of Bethlehem has always depended on tourism, especially at Christmas and Easter and Israel does everything in its power to obstruct tourists from going there. The only buses licensed to being in die-hard tourists are Israeli buses and tourists are discouraged from spending full days or sleeping at hotels there. The ones squeezing the life of Bethlehem are not Muslims but Israelis.

        The 1500 Christians of Gaza unable to travel to Bethlehem because of their Israeli prison guards are having to celebrate Christmas among themselves and among their Muslim neighbours.

      • HarryLaw
        December 24, 2013, 4:59 am

        Hezbollah congratulates Christians on Christmas. As usual on Christian occasions, especially on Christmas, Hezbollah delegations visited a number of Christian figures.Hezbollah Congratulates Christians
        Hezbollah Shura member Sheikh Mohammad Yazbek led a delegation which included also caretaker Minister Hussein al-Haj Hassan and Baalbek-Hermel deputies Deir el-Ahmar parish.
        The delegation offered congratulations to the Christian figures on Christmas an emphasized the importance of coexistence.
        Hezbollah also hosted southern Lebanon a luncheon in honor of the Christian figures.
        Political, social and security representatives attended the luncheon. [Al Manar tv]

  11. Citizen
    December 23, 2013, 10:07 pm

    Last time I looked Syria was still on the USA’s enemy list, and any Egyptian regime is on shaky ground since the foreign aid we give it is totally dependent on Egypt kissing Israel at the border, not on what Egypt does to its Christians.

  12. Talkback
    December 24, 2013, 4:32 am

    Happy Christmas to the antichristian and antigentile state of Israel.

    • Taxi
      December 24, 2013, 4:53 am

      Talkback,
      You mean Antichristian AND antimoslem state of israel. The figure of christ, after all, is revered as a prophet by moslems. Okay Jesus is not the son of god to moslems, but he is indeed acknowledged as the holiest of men by the prophet Mohammad.

    • yrn
      December 24, 2013, 10:23 am

      Well if I didn’t know it in advance, Typical MW.
      You tolerate Happy Christmas to the antichristian and antigentile state of Israel.

      But you don’t tolerate Happy Christmas to the anti-Jews and anti- Israelis in MW and the world.

      Well not surprising……….. spreading hate is becoming a fact here.

      • Taxi
        December 24, 2013, 11:30 am

        Cheer up yrn, it’s Christmas!

      • yrn
        December 24, 2013, 1:43 pm

        So I sent you a Happy Christmas greeting didn’t I.

      • Talkback
        December 25, 2013, 4:42 am

        yrn: You tolerate Happy Christmas to the antichristian and antigentile state of Israel.

        Not “tolerating”, but killing with kindness. But it survived, as expected.

        But you don’t tolerate Happy Christmas to the anti-Jews and anti- Israelis in MW and the world.

        Oh, do they have a problem with Christmas, too?

        Well not surprising……….. spreading hate is becoming a fact here.

        It’s you and your beloved antigentile state which epitomizes hate. Gentiles are seen as “threat” to the survival of its antigentile character only because they are Gentiles. Now show me a comment here on MW which implies hatred of Jews, only because they are Jews.

      • miriam6
        December 25, 2013, 7:03 am

        Talkback@;

        Now show me a comment here on MW which implies hatred of Jews, only because they are Jews.

        Given that you clearly identify Israel as a Jewish state whilst also identifying that Jewish state as being against all non Jews ( in your opinion ) in your comment – I would say your comment does in fact imply hatred of Jews.

        Also – the conflict is between the Palestinians and Israelis and is nationalist in character on both sides.

        Also by branding Israel an ‘anti gentile’ state – implying that Israel is at war or hostile to ALL ‘gentiles’ – you are again engaging in anti Semitism.

        Evidently neither Adam Horowitz nor Philip Weiss are paying any attention to your bigoted comments.

      • Hostage
        December 25, 2013, 3:31 pm

        Given that you clearly identify Israel as a Jewish state whilst also identifying that Jewish state as being against all non Jews ( in your opinion ) in your comment – I would say your comment does in fact imply hatred of Jews.

        Miriam it is trivially easy to show you links to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, and Judges in Israeli who do view all non-Jews as some sort of sinister demographic existential threat to the State or as mere guests in the Jewish state without the same legal rights as Jews. This even though they and their families have been there for generations.

        * Netanyahu: Israel’s Arabs are the real demographic threat: Israel’s growing demographic problem is not because of Palestinians, but of Israeli Arabs, Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday. link to haaretz.com

        Here are some links to blatantly racist and extremist national remarks by MKs and Judges:

        * link to mondoweiss.net
        * link to mondoweiss.net

      • Talkback
        December 26, 2013, 6:08 am

        Miriam: Given that you clearly identify Israel as a Jewish state whilst also identifying that Jewish state as being against all non Jews ( in your opinion ) in your comment – I would say your comment does in fact imply hatred of Jews.

        No, that’s not my identification, but yours. I identify it as an antigentile Apartheid Junta and my term does not imply any hate against Jews as such. Not all Jews support what some Jews have been doing to gentiles since the Peel partition plan. Do you suggest that what they are doing is “Jewish”? If so, you can call me antijewish.

        Also – the conflict is between the Palestinians and Israelis and is nationalist in character on both sides.

        Yes, the minority keeps the majority expelled and denationalized to be a majority. You call that a “Jewish democracy”. Again, if that’s Jewish, you can call me antijewish.

        Also by branding Israel an ‘anti gentile’ state – implying that Israel is at war or hostile to ALL ‘gentiles’ – you are again engaging in anti Semitism.

        No, it is not a comment against Jews as such and it has to do with the behaviour of some Jews against gentiles. And yes, Israel makes no difference between Gentiles when it considers them to be a “threat”. Gentiles could be angels, Israel sees them as cancer. Germany had a similiar attitude against Jews.

        Evidently neither Adam Horowitz nor Philip Weiss are paying any attention to your bigoted comments.

        Says miriam6, supporter of a bigoted state in which only Jews are considered to be nationals. Another similiarity.

        Btw, do you realize that your accusation of antisemitism is in fact based on antisemitic logic which conflates Israel/Zionism with being Jewish?

      • Cliff
        December 26, 2013, 6:22 am

        @miriam666

        Israel as a social/political entity clearly hates non-Jews in the region. Zionist Jews use non-Jews to achieve their political ends.

        You cannibalize each other when someone steps outside your political comfort zone.

        There’s NOTHING antisemitic about the truth. In fact, you do not even know what antisemitism is.

        It’s just a catch-all term for you mendacious, racists and Jewish supremacists.

        You don’t even care about Judaism. You worship Israel and the Holocaust (as a bludgeon to further Zionist territorial conquest).

  13. Walid
    December 24, 2013, 5:21 am

    Today, for the events being held in Bethlehem at 1 pm local time, the Patriarch is arriving from Jerusalem. Israel barred 5 Arab tourism ministers from attending the ceremonies in Bethlehem because they had intended to encourage people from their countries to visit Bethlehem in the future. But Abbas is lucky, as he will be allowed to attend and so will Catherine Ashton that will be celebrating Christmas mass tonight along with other European dignitaries. But not 5 Ministers from Arab countries.

    And Israel continues blaming the Muslims for making life miserable for Palestinian Christians.

    • OlegR
      December 24, 2013, 5:25 am

      /And Israel continues blaming the Muslims for making life miserable for Palestinian Christians./
      Making life miserable ?

      The son of an Israeli Greek Orthodox priest who has been advocating for Christian IDF service was hospitalized after being attacked over the weekend.

      link to timesofisrael.com

      Jihadists in Syria kidnapped a Catholic priest in the Idlib area and beheaded him as scores of onlookers, including children, cheered and recorded the event on their cell phones. The Vatican reported last week that the priest was captured by fighters “linked” to the Al Nusrah Front for the People in the Levant, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

      link to longwarjournal.org

      • Walid
        December 24, 2013, 9:56 am

        “The son of an Israeli Greek Orthodox priest who has been advocating for Christian IDF service was hospitalized after being attacked over the weekend.”

        Oleg, how would you feel about a rabbi that would advocate for sympathizing Israeli Jews such as Avnery, Hass or Levy to join the ranks of Hamas or the al-Aqsa Brigade to show their solidarity with the Palestinian cause?

        As to what’s happening in Syria, you guys have a fixation on Syria today, you’re 100% correct about the despicable act of beheading a Christian cleric while onlookers cheered. If you’re American, write to your Congressman to complain that US taxpayer money is financing these head-cutting fanatics and if you’re only an Israeli, then simply sit back and gloat about it.

      • OlegR
        December 24, 2013, 10:09 am

        You are ewading Walid.
        Israeli Palestinians are citizens of Israel as such i welcome their integration into Israeli society and IDF always was an important tool in that integration.
        Violence for political reasons among Israeli citizens is especially unacceptable.

        I am not fixating on Syria , i do however deplore hypocrisy especially attempts to show that Chrsitians are somehow persectued in Israel
        as Christians when in fact we are probably the safest place for them in the ME.
        Syria is just one especially gruesome example.
        Others before me showed more.
        And please don’t try to dehumanise me by attributing me some loathome behavior like gloating over the massacres that occure not very far from where i live.
        Your comments are generally better then that.

      • W.Jones
        December 24, 2013, 10:41 am

        Israeli leaders in 1947 were aware that Palestinian Christians came from the ancient Jews, however they did not have the “right religion since they were Christian and hence were selected for “transfer”, ie. expulsion from their homeland.

        This is how the religious persecution works- by implicit selection.

      • Ron Edwards
        December 24, 2013, 10:41 am

        Talk about evasion! Only *nationals* enjoy full rights in Israel. Leave that Americans-targeting bullpuckey at the door. Integration – you clearly have no idea of the meaning of the word.

      • Walid
        December 24, 2013, 12:10 pm

        “And please don’t try to dehumanise me by attributing me some loathome behavior …”

        It’s not about dehumanizing you, Oleg, but harping on and on about Syria and its head-cutting fundies appeared to be giving you some sort of satisfaction. You’re sending the wrong vibes if you’re not into the gloating, so I’ll take that one back. Somehow and from some reason, your team doesn’t have much to say about Christians in Israel and this could be why you keep bringing up the savagery happening in Syria. When a thread gets opened on Syria, I’ll probably join you in describing how awfully things are happening there, but for today, it’s about Israelis and Palestinians.

        You didn’t get my rabbi question at all, Oleg. I asked you how you’d feel if a rabbi encouraged Jews to join the other side in the same manner the priest is asking Palestinians to join the IDF. The priest is a jerk .

      • Hostage
        December 24, 2013, 12:37 pm

        You are ewading Walid.
        Israeli Palestinians are citizens of Israel as such i welcome their integration into Israeli society and IDF always was an important tool in that integration.
        Violence for political reasons among Israeli citizens is especially unacceptable.

        Your government is still at war with Palestinians, because they are Palestinians. So do you deplore the violence that was used by the IDF to drive those Palestinian non-combatants into internal exile in Israel and keep them there under martial law and emergency regulations ever since?

        If you want to integrate them into Israeli society, start by returning their homes and villages that were stolen by labeling them “present but absent” and compensating them, like the US did in the case of the Japanese-American WWII internees. Hell even the German’s are compensating Moroccan Jews whose freedom of movement was violated by their Vichy proxy regime, while Israel plays the eternal victim.

      • Talkback
        December 25, 2013, 4:51 am

        OlegR: Israeli Palestinians are citizens of Israel as such i welcome their integration into Israeli society …

        You are not refering to those, which the antigentile state of Israel keeps expelled, denationalized and dispossessed, just because they are gentiles, are you?

      • talknic
        December 24, 2013, 3:49 pm

        OlegR “The son of an Israeli Greek Orthodox priest who has been advocating for Christian IDF service was hospitalized after being attacked over the weekend.”

        In Nazareth. Nazareth is not Israeli. It was illegally acquired by war by Israel and has never been legally annexed to Israel, is not internationally recognized as Israeli. Advocating and wanting to enlist in the IDF in Nazareth appears to have predictable consequences

        “Jihadists in Syria “

        Part of the armed rebellion against the legal government of Syria. Do you still support the overthrow of the Assad regime?

  14. just
    December 24, 2013, 6:36 am

    Israel and her stupid “policies”, and practices get worse.

    What’s so pitiful is that Israel’s ‘security’ is completely threatened only by its own actions.

    A paranoid statelet with enormous “firepower”, and horribly cruel and awful treatment of indigenous people. What don’t they understand?

    Happy Christmas to all in Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem and Palestine and all around the world. And for the privileged in Israel.

    (oh, and btw, Islam and adherent Muslims have much respect for Jesus. For them, Jesus was born of a Miraculous birth, was a prophet, and performed miracles.)

    • Walid
      December 24, 2013, 9:59 am

      I join you, Just, in wishing everyone a merry Christmas.

  15. Rayyan Al-Shawaf
    December 24, 2013, 9:49 am

    Israel’s discrimination against Israeli Palestinian Christians who want to put up Christmas trees in public places is distressing, but this should never lead one to deny that native-born Christians are persecuted in countries across the Muslim world, with the situation being especially bad in Iraq and Pakistan. (Muslim converts to Christianity, of course, are persecuted in virtually all majority Muslim countries.) Even where Christians are not persecuted, they are often discriminated against legally and otherwise in several ways, as in Egypt and even secular Turkey.

    One of the sadder aspects of the Islamization of Palestinian political culture is that it has led to tensions between Palestinian Muslims and Christians — with the latter invariably getting the worst of the fallout where this has happened in Gaza and the West Bank, as they are the minority.

    Meanwhile, in Israel, the Palestinian Christians of Nazareth had to turn to the Israeli authorities to prevent some of their Muslim neighbors from erecting a mosque without the city council’s permission right in front of the Church of the Annunciation. (The Islamic organizations whose attempts to do this were thwarted by the Israeli authorities have since settled for a series of banners proclaiming “Allah did not have a son” and other rebukes. If they come to dominate the city council and approve construction of the mosque, it is unlikely the Israeli authorities would intervene.)

    Here is a very good recent article in The Christian Science Monitor about the problems faced by Christians in the Middle East: link to csmonitor.com

    • Ron Edwards
      December 24, 2013, 10:46 am

      “The situation being especially bad in Iraq and Pakistan” – let’s try leaving aside your conflation of so many areas and cultures into this Huntingdon “Muslim world” nonsense, and examine why those particular places, especially, are torn by sectarian violence and oppression. Think – stre-e-etch your mind … getting anywhere?

      I notice that not one of these so-similar deflective “elsewhere” posts are mentioning that nation … what’s its name? You know, by that Gulf place?
      link to theholidayspot.com

      • OlegR
        December 24, 2013, 11:04 am

        You really should stick to biology pal.
        And chill a little more.
        Because you accuse Rayyan of /conflation of so many areas and cultures/
        and then just for good measure throw in an article about Christmas in Iran as a proof of what?(I wonder if Iranian Christians put up Chrispmas trees in public ,i am not sure it’s in their custom in any case).

        I would expect a dude with Ph.D in biology might understand some basic principles of logic.

      • Ron Edwards
        December 24, 2013, 1:13 pm

        You’re swingin’ wild today, Oleg. All of my points are relevant and their targets stated in my post.

        Your expectations regarding my training and the associated logic skills are justified. Good thing I paid attention, otherwise your sallies might seem important to me.

        I’m starting to develop some pity, as it turns out. Part of it was seeing JeffB reduced to pleading for his fragile esteem and propagandized hopes, once his so-intellectual strategy fell apart. Part of it is watching you flail around like a … like a confused large dog, in this thread.

      • talknic
        December 24, 2013, 1:43 pm

        OlegR “wonder if Iranian Christians put up Chrispmas trees in public”

        Oh FFS you’ve never heard of a search engine? Intelligent hired help really IS hard to come by at Hasbara central

        link to latimesblogs.latimes.com

        link to aparchive.com

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        December 24, 2013, 1:58 pm

        I visited Iran at Christmas a few years ago. There was a Christmas tree in the lobby of my (presumably managed by Muslims) Tehran hotel. How many hotels in predominantly Christian countries commemorate Islamic festivals?

      • Rayyan Al-Shawaf
        December 24, 2013, 11:29 am

        I would recommend Rupert Shortt’s excellent recent book “Christianophobia” for the examination of the position of Christians in several predominantly Muslim (and other) countries, and the differences as well as similarities in their treatment. I reviewed it for the Christian Science Monitor here: link to csmonitor.com

        As for Christians in Iran, they are second-class citizens — officially, no less — who are discriminated against, albeit not persecuted (with the exception of Muslim converts to Christianity, who regularly receive jail terms).

      • Ron Edwards
        December 24, 2013, 1:20 pm

        I’m aware of the situation for Christians in Iran, as well as Jewish and Baha’i Iranians for that matter. Their political situation certainly doesn’t reflect well on the Iranian government. However, it does compare favorably with the behavior highlighted in the article – which is part of my point. You might also try comparing the second-class Christian or Jewish citizen in Iran to the so-called Israeli Arab, or rather, Palestinian citizen of Israel proper. The other part is to indicate the naive cherry-picking regarding horrific abuse of Christians in non-Israeli areas.

    • talknic
      December 24, 2013, 2:12 pm

      @ Rayyan Al-Shawaf

      “Meanwhile, in Israel, the Palestinian Christians of Nazareth ..”

      Nazareth was not within the frontiers of Israel May 15th 1948 link to trumanlibrary.org It has never been recognized as Israeli.
      It is illegal to acquire territory by war, ANY war link to pages.citebite.com

      On what date was Nazareth legally annexed to Israel, by agreement with who?

      ” the Palestinian Christians of Nazareth had to turn to the Israeli authorities to prevent some of their Muslim neighbors from erecting a mosque without the city council’s permission right in front of the Church of the Annunciation.”

      Strange. In 2002 it took the Vatican and White House lobbying the Israeli Government to reverse its decision to allow the mosque. link to google.com.au.

      One might question is why the Israeli Govt would allow it in the first place other than to foment conflict in the community

      I can’t figure whether you got your information wrong or your name

      • Rayyan Al-Shawaf
        December 25, 2013, 2:38 am

        @talknic

        Israel’s initial green light for the mosque led to communal discord, and yes, one might question the reason behind the decision.

        Lots of outside powers, including the Vatican — as you say — but also Saudi Arabia, maintained that there was no need for a mosque in Nazareth to be built in front of the Church of the Annunciation. Eventually, Israel relented. The point is that in order to halt the groundwork for construction of the mosque, Palestinian Christians had to call in the Israeli authorities, because ties between the Christian and Muslim communities (or large sections thereof) had become so strained that they could not resolve the issue among themselves.

        P.S. I’m not sure what you mean by Nazareth “never” having been recognized as part of Israel. I suspect you mean it “shouldn’t have been” recognized as part of Israel by most countries of the world, because the city was not part of the Jewish state envisioned in the UN Partition Plan of 1947. Of course, Nazareth has nevertheless been part of Israel since the country’s birth in 1948, and its inhabitants — Palestinian Muslims and Christians — hold Israeli citizenship. In fact, like most Israeli Palestinians, they would likely oppose any plan — such as an expansion of Avigdor Lieberman’s proposal — to transfer their city to the Palestinian state should a two-state solution ever come to pass.

        I won’t be commenting any more on this thread, or visiting Mondoweiss until after the new year. Merry Christmas to all.

      • Hostage
        December 25, 2013, 3:48 pm

        Lots of outside powers, including the Vatican — as you say — but also Saudi Arabia, maintained that there was no need for a mosque in Nazareth to be built in front of the Church of the Annunciation. Eventually, Israel relented. The point is that in order to halt the groundwork for construction of the mosque, Palestinian Christians had to call in the Israeli authorities, because ties between the Christian and Muslim communities (or large sections thereof) had become so strained that they could not resolve the issue among themselves.

        How is this a case of religious intolerance or persecution on the part of the Muslims? They weren’t building on the site of the Church of the Annunciation. I heard this same sort of tortured logic in the case where people said there had to be a Mosque-free vista around the World Trade Center. Arguing that the Vatican and Saudi Arabia should have any say over the way people exercise their religious freedom in other countries is a non-starter for me too.

  16. Walid
    December 24, 2013, 12:21 pm

    Hey, it’s Christmas and this time of year when Israelis have gifts for Gaza. In today’s bombing (15 sorties) of Gaza, a 3-year old child was killed. Typical Israeli Christmas. From Maan:

    GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Spokesmen for Hamas and the Palestinian Authority governments on Tuesday condemned Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip which killed a young girl.

    Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the airstrikes that killed 3-year-old Hala Abu Sbeikh in central Gaza a “cowardly crime.”

    Abu Zuhri said Israel was targeting Palestinian families, and that Israeli threats and raids would not deter Palestinian resistance fighters from “doing their duty.”

    Separately, PA spokesman Ehab Bessaiso also condemned Israel’s attacks on the Gaza strip, calling for international intervention to stop them.

    Bessaiso said in a statement that the Palestinian government had contacted international sides to intervene and force Israel to stop its “escalation” of violence in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

    Earlier, a Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli fire west of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources said.

    The attack follows an incident where a Palestinian sniper shot and killed an Israeli Defense Ministry employee working on the border fence in northern Gaza Strip a few hours earlier.

    An Israeli army spokeswoman said the man was killed while doing “maintenance” work on the border fence.

    The Palestinian militant group Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for the shooting, Israeli media reported.

    The man was identified as 22-year-old Salah Abu Latif, according to the Haaretz newspaper.

    link to maannews.net

    • Walid
      December 24, 2013, 12:34 pm

      More about Bethlehem from the Times today:

      “Settlements choke peace in the little town of Bethlehem

      Palestinians fear that their homes will be bulldozed as settlements such as Efrat encroach ever closer

      Peter Nicholls/Times Newspapers Ltd
      Catherine Philp
      Last updated at 12:01AM, December 24 2013

      From a barren hill, the settlers look down on snowy Bethlehem. “Just look at all this nature,” rhapsodises Yehuda Nesha as he turns from the fabled biblical town towards the Judean hills. Should the settlers get their way, though, nature will soon be banished from this hill, replaced by the red roofs and golden stone walls of hundreds of new homes, the latest links in a chain of Jewish settlements encircling the Palestinian town of Bethlehem….”

      link to thetimes.co.uk

  17. James Canning
    December 24, 2013, 6:24 pm

    Didn’t the Pew Survey of US Jews find that about one-third of them put up Christmas trees in their homes?

    Christians are not allowed to observe Christmas, in Israel?

    • yrn
      December 25, 2013, 8:44 am

      James Canning
      “Christians are not allowed to observe Christmas, in Israel?”

      You can’t be so ignorant can you, for sure, in ISRAEL in Christmas, that’s the custom in Israel , we go from house to house from door to door and take down their Buddha images and their Koshintō and the Ouzo.

      You are a nut case.

      • James Canning
        December 25, 2013, 12:44 pm

        @yrn – – You gave me a good laugh today. I take it you did not see my comment as a bit tongue-in-cheek?

      • Cliff
        December 26, 2013, 6:25 am

        yrn,

        The other customs you Israelis seem to share is killing Palestinian children and stealing Palestinian land and water.

        YOU are the nut case.

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