losangelesnewstoday.com April 25, 2018

Nazareth mayor backtracks after canceling Christmas festivities to protest Trump

17 December 2017, 01:11 | Katrina Lee

Nazareth cancels Christmas celebrations over Trump's Israel decision

NAZARETH’S CHURCH of the Annunciation

While not banning the holiday outright, Mayor Ali Salam said that numerous events will be canceled because the president took the "joy" out of the holiday with his political move, Newsweek reported.

Mayor Ali Salam told Reuters on Saturday that three singers who had been due to perform would not appear. Christmas Eve is much celebrated in Nazareth, the town of the Galilee where Jesus is believed to have grown up, despite of predominantly Muslim town, Christmas celebration is strongly participated.

"Our identity and faith can not be bargained", said Ali Salam, the town's mayor, on Thursday, according to a Fox News translation of 10 News. "The decision [by Donald Trump about Jerusalem] has taken away the joy of the holiday, and we will thus cancel the festivities this year".

"Today we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel's capital", Mr Trump said in a speech in the White House last week.

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Mr Trump announced the move last week, reversing decades of U.S. policy and recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, jeopardising Middle East peace efforts and upsetting the Arab world and Western allies alike.

The cancelation of the usual festivities, which feature a Christmas parade, market and several concerts, drew huge tens of thousands of pilgrims each year. World leaders criticized the decision, and people protested across the Middle East, resulting in multiple deaths.

Nazareth is noted in the Bible as the town where Jesus Christ grew up in, and in modern times holds large Christmas celebrations which are a big tourist attraction. The move has also upset the country's Arab allies, especially when Trump said the United Sates Embassy in Israel would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as well. But the response of Nazareth's mayor demonstrates that the decision was not universally popular in Israel. He's called him "wretched" and said he had "stabbed" Palestinians in the back.

According to the Bible, the city of Nazareth is where the archangel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary she would bear the saviour, making it one Christianity's holiest sites. Yesterday, palestinians protested by turning off the lights on the Christmas tree outside Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity (it is a shame they didn't protest by cancelling Roger Waters' planned closed-circuit pre-Christmas show).

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