The mayor of Nazareth Illit, an Israeli town with an Arab Christian minority, has declared a ban on the public display of Christmas trees. "Nazareth Illit is a Jewish city and it will not happen--not this year and not next year, so long as I am a mayor," Mayor Shimon Gapso said. Arab Christians, who make up about 7 percent of the town's 40,000 residents, were denied their request to put up Christmas trees in their neighborhoods. The Agence France-Presse reports that the community is not happy:
His decision angered the town's Arab and Christian minority, who accused him of racism. "The racism of not putting a tree up is nothing compared to the real racism that we experience here," said Aziz Dahdal, a 35-year-old Christian resident of Nazareth Illit.
"When we asked the mayor to put up a Christmas tree in the Arab neighbourhoods of Nazareth Illit he said this is a Jewish town, not a mixed town," said Shukri Awawdeh, a Muslim Arab member of the town council. ... "We told him that decorating a tree is just to share the happiness and cheer with other people in the town," said Awawdeh.
Nazareth Illit is a suburb of Nazareth, which as the childhood home of Jesus Christ is an important center of Christian history and is about one-third Christian today. Journalist Nir Rosen wonders how Fox News, which has a tendency to defend Israel but also a love of fighting what it calls "the war on Christmas," would handle this story.