Christmas in the Holy Land sounds like, to many, a fairy tale. Unfortunately, life isn’t always a fairy tale. Despite the fact that there is a booming tourism industry to Israel for Christian pilgrims, many parts of the Holy Land can’t be experienced due to safety concerns. The holy city of Bethlehem is often too dangerous to travel to.
This week two different stories out of the Holy Land perfectly illustrate just how differently the Christian holiday is marked by their Jewish and Muslim peers in different parts of Israel and in the Palestinian territories.
First, in the PA, as reported by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW):
As its contribution to the Christmas spirit at Birzeit University near Ramallah, Fatah’s student movement Shabiba decorated a Christmas tree with pictures of “Martyrs” – among them terrorist murderer Muhannad Halabi who recently stabbed and killed two Israeli civilians in Jerusalem.
On Wednesday, the Jerusalem Municipality announced that it would distribute free Christmas trees in the city on Monday, December 21, continuing an annual tradition of giving out the festive trees, gifted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), to those celebrating the Christmas holiday in the holy land.
About 200 trees will be distributed at the Jaffa gate to the Old City, where the Christian Quarter is annually festooned with lights and decorations in honor of the holiday, between the hours of 9 am and 12 pm.
Every year, the JNF distributes Christmas trees to institutions celebrating the holiday, including churches, monasteries, convents, embassies, foreign journalists, and the general public.
If you ever wonder why peace seems impossible in the region, look no further than to the drastically disparate ways Muslims and Jews have marked the most holy holiday of their Christian neighbors.
Now Watch This. Christians celebrating Christmas in the Holy Land:
Comment: Why doesn’t the media cover the Palestinians the way they cover the Israelis?