Mayor: Nazareth Christmas celebrations will be held as normal


Initial reports following the mayor's press conference said the Christmas Market in Nazareth was cancelled.

Nazareth, the Israeli Arab city where Jesus is thought to have been raised, will celebrate Christmas as usual, its mayor said, denying the festivities would be curtailed in protest at the USA decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"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 has taken away the joy of the holiday, and we will thus cancel the festivities this year". Yet the president has managed to dampen the Christmas spirit on the other side of the world with his offensive, widely panned decision on Jerusalem.

Israel has been self-proclaiming Jerusalem as its capital since the Arab Springs of 1967, but neither the Palestinians nor the worldwide community ever recognized the claim - until Trump, that is.

The celebrations are a major tourist draw and income source for Nazareth, which is populated primarily by Arab citizens of Israel - two-thirds of whom are Muslims and one-third of whom are Christians, the Times added.

Nazareth's imposing Basilica of the Annunciation is built on a site that many Christian faithful believe was the childhood home of Jesus' mother, Mary. Muslims oppose the move as they see East Jerusalem as a future capital for Palestine.

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Approximately 69 percent of the Arab town's 76,000 inhabitants are Muslims and 30 percent are Christians.

The announcement to move the US embassy to Jerusalem was, meanwhile, hailed by other groups, including 250 prominent Israeli rabbis who issued Trump the biblical blessing that God gave to Joshua.

Following the 1967 Middle East war, Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital, according to, but the claim is not recognised by the global community or Palestinians.

He did not mention Trump's Jerusalem announcement in these later remarks.

Obama, a Democrat, told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2008 that Jerusalem "will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided". According to the New Testament, Jesus also grew up in the town.