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No Christmas in Israel ?

Rabbis versus Christmas: Religious rivalry in Jerusalem benefits no one By Morten Berthelsen Tags: Israel news The 'Lobby for Jewish Values' is trying to exorcise Yuletide festivities from the streets of Jerusalem. On the streets of Jerusalem, the religious war on Christmas is on. Last week, the "Lobby for Jewish Values" started handing out fliers condemning the holiday and inciting the public to boycott restaurants and hotels that sell or put up Christmas trees and other "foolish" Christian symbols. Backed by rabbis, and with the self-righteous air of the American Christian right, lobby chairman Ofer Cohen told the Israeli media that he had considered publishing a list of businesses bold enough to put up Christmas decorations, call for a boycott against them, and - with a little help from Jerusalem Rabbinate - revoke the kashrut certificates of said hotels and restaurants. According to the Israeli media, the fliers distributed by the Lobby for Jewish Values contain the following call to arms: Advertisement "The people of Israel have given their soul over the years in order to maintain the values of the Torah of Israel and the Jewish identity. You should also continue to follow this path of the Jewish people's tradition and not give in to the clownish atmosphere of the end of the civil year. And certainly not help those businesses that sell or put up the foolish symbols of Christianity." It's unclear exactly what is considered "foolish symbols of Christianity," and, on top of that, how displaying them can result in withdrawal of the certificate confirming you adhere to Jewish dietary laws. Is it really necessary for rabbis and Jewish lobbies to issue a naughty list and play the kashrut card? Is it not enough to encourage people to avoid hostelries with Christmas displays, or are brightly lit Christmas trees invisible to Jewish eyes? The Lobby for Jewish Values and the Jerusalem Rabbinate say that Christmas - the birth of Jesus - is just not kosher. That rules out the manger scene and all things nativity. But what about the traditional Christmas tree - a pagan ritual interpreted by fundamentalist Christians as a heathen practice and thus forbidden? Should pine trees be banned in Israel? What about Santa Claus and his elves? And what if the Christmas tree has been certified kosher? In Israel, where there is no division of synagogue and state, religion - and religious muscle - rules, but to what end? Samuel J. Scott, an American former journalist now working at the Refuah Institute in Jerusalem raises an important question. "The secular, Westernized celebration of the holiday season - and the rabbinical efforts to clamp down on the phenomenon - is yet another example of one of the central paradoxes facing Israel," he writes. "The Jewish state wants to be two things: a Jewish state and a free, democratic state. But what is the solution when these competing priorities conflict? If all Israelis start celebrating Christmas (either as Christians or as secularized revelers), then it will arguably no longer be a Jewish state. If the government bans everyone from having anything to do with the holiday, then it will no longer be a free state." Whether the Jewish state becomes a nation of Christmas revellers or not, today's battle is being waged in Jerusalem, a city with a Christian population of two percent, and dropping. This is not a boycott of Christian symbolism, but of the Jews that cater to the tens of thousands of Christian tourists who amass in the Holy Land every December. The boycott advocates would do well to remember that if Christian cash is not welcome in Jerusalem, it's greeted with open arms in Bethlehem.

Comments

  • smbrinksmbrink Posts: 406
    It's no surprise that the govt in Israel doesn't want its people to put up Christian holiday symbols. Heck OUR govt is getting less and less tolerant of public display of Christian holiday symbols each year.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    WTF?!? whats the point of posting these articles? to show that you dont like Jews? because thats how it looks to me.
    this article is blowing things out of proportion and is clearly written by someone who does not like or understand Israel or Jews. one of the other articles you posted was from a news source that has a reputation of being geared to the Muslim community. Muslims and Jews dont exactly get along in that part of the world so that was clearly slanted in that direction as well.
    I can only assume one of two things:
    1) you agree with the article and its tone so much that you felt the need to post it here
    2) you disagree with it so much that you felt the need to post it here.

    either way you felt strongly about it.

    please fill me in on why because i would hate to make assumptions that are untrue.


    if you have questions about Judaism, please feel free to ask me and i will take time out from my celebration of Hannakuh to answer.
  • laker1963laker1963 Posts: 5,046
    See my other response. Same answer. No I don't need you to take time away from your Hannakuh celebrations, but thank you for the offer.
  • VulchorVulchor FloridaPosts: 4,806 ✭✭✭
    No disrespect to you or any other Jews here or anywhere Kuz------but why is it that when something appearing Anti-Isreal is reported or discussed it is often fought by the media and people alike sighting the struggles or plight of the people.....However anytime something is brought up about any Muslim nation they are automatically on the wrong side of the aisle politically? I think this article and others show some of the self serving hypocrisy of Isreal that is rarely reported in the U.S., but would be chastised if done by the certain others in the West Bank, Egypt, ect.
  • gmill880gmill880 Posts: 5,947
    Hhmmmmm ...seems to me an infringement of rights by both sides ...but this war is too old to be explained in a simple news release ...
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