Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein rejected outright the demand to erect a Christmas tree in the Israeli parliament following a request by MK Hanna Swaid, an Arab Christian who insisted the Christian symbol be displayed on the premises. Swaid also proposed a bill that would close the Israeli government during Christmas, New Year and Easter.
Swaid, a member of Israel’s Communist Party, knows all too well that there is no need to put the Christian symbol in the halls of Israel’s government. There is no holiday now in Israel. Hanukkah has long passed, and so has the Jewish New Year. Christmas is not a holiday in the Jewish State, and no one should expect to see a Christmas tree in the Knesset. The Jerusalem Municipality provided trees for all the Christian churches in the city, but that is where Israel’s official engagement with the holiday ends.
Jewish Knesset members explained to Swaid that Christmas was a reminder to them of when Christians would reenact the crucifixion of Jesus by killing any Jew they caught in the street. “I think that’s foolishness, it’s crazy,” he said. The anti-Zionist Swaid showed no reservations about using the Christmas tree to bash Israel from behind a mask of “religious freedom.”
Perhaps MK Swaid would have more luck asking the Muslim clerics to put a Christmas tree on the Temple Mount? Better still, why not plant a tree or two in the Palestinian-controlled territories?
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas also made sure to use the holiday to stir up anti-Israel sentiment in his Yuletide message claiming that Jesus is a Palestinian freedom fighter being persecuted by Israel.
For years, Abbas has been trying to erase Jewish history from the Middle East. In a recent interview on Al-Jazeera, Abbas claimed that “Jerusalem has only Islamic and Christian history. Israel’s ‘Judaization’ is stealing Jerusalem’s cultural, human, and Islamic-Christian religious history."
Abbas, himself a devout Muslim, also has no reservations about exploiting Christmas sympathies for the Palestinian cause. But making a mockery of the story of Jesus’ birth was just too antagonistic and has backfired in his face. Many Christians are deeply offended by the Muslim’s claim that Jesus is Palestinian. The denial of the Messiah’s Jewish heritage undermines the Bible and breeds contempt for their Christian faith.
Abbas’ Islamization of Jesus even offended the Jews. “He should have read the Gospel before uttering such offensive nonsense,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told The Times of Israel. Abbas’ statement is an “outrageous rewriting of Christian history, but we will forgive him because he doesn’t know what he’s doing,” said Palmer quoting the New Testament. “Maybe he needs a hug from Santa?” the minister chided.
Apparently, Christmas trees in the Knesset, a Palestinian Jesus and a cuddle from Santa were not enough to stir Israel’s holiday woes. Abbas insisted on adding one final festive punch.
In his Christmas message, the Palestinian president reminded the world that Israel is “kicking Christians out of the Holy Land.” How can he say this when everyone knows that the Christian population has been fleeing from the Muslims ever since the PLO took over? Never mind. A hug I don’t think he’ll get from Santa. In fact, I don’t think Old Saint Nick will even be coming to Abbas’ house this year.