People attend a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Nazareth.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam decided Thursday to keep most Christmas festivities intact despite anger over US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Our message is we love Jerusalem, we’ll never abandon you under any circumstances,” he said at a press conference in which he announced that singing performances on outdoor stages that are normally part of Nazareth’s Christmas Market would be canceled.
He termed Trump “wretched” and said the US president had “stabbed” Palestinians with the Jerusalem decision.
But he also noted that “there are commercial interests of the city and we are used to hundreds of thousands coming for this season.”
After the press conference, it was erroneously reported that Salam had canceled the Christmas Market. But, according to the Al-Arab website, the municipality issued a statement denying this. It said that “the cancellation only applies to artistic performances on stages,” and that outdoor stalls would remain, the lighting of the Christmas tree will take place Sunday as scheduled, programs in the Old City will proceed, and a parade will be held on December 23.
“Christmas season in Nazareth
is the season of good and blessing and we are completely vigilant that commercial interests won’t be damaged,” the statement said.