The Muslim mayor of Nazareth – the town where Jesus grew up – has announced he is cancelling Christmas events over U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “Our identity and faith cannot be bargained,” said Ali Salam, the town’s mayor, on Thursday, according to a Fox News translation of 10 News.”[Trump’s] decision has taken away the joy of the holiday and we will cancel the festivities this year.” Nazareth is known for holding large Christmas celebrations which are a big tourist attraction, the newspaper notes. However, this year’s Christmas market and festival will not take place as Muslim groups continue to protest Trump’s decision.
Reuters reports that Nazareth isn’t the only town to protest the move; within an hour of the announcement, the Palestinian towns of Bethlehem, Jesus’s traditional birthplace, and Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank briefly switched off their Christmas lights in protest.As reported, the U.S. President announced last week that America is to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and declared his intention to move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv.”It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said. “This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process and to work towards a lasting agreement,” he added.
While the announcement sparked protests in Palestinian territories as well as across the Arab world, it was applauded by Israeli rabbis and American evangelical leaders, who earlier this week presented him with a “Friends of Zion” award at the White House.Pastor John Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel, wrote on Facebook: “Let’s unite together on this historic day to pray for our president, our nation and the nation of Israel like never before. Let’s pray that the United States will remain resolute in its commitment and support of Israel.”
Hagee, who is also the senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, also delivered a video message in that Facebook post.”President Trump has made a bold and courageous stand that will be remembered in history forever, like President Harry Truman, who made a bold and courageous decision to recognize Israel at statehood,” Hagee said.”What he has done today will be eternally celebrated,” he continued in the video. “This shows the world that Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not up for negotiation, and America is and shall always remain a loyal ally of Israel.”