JERUSALEM – While most Christians from overseas are heading back home for the holidays, Henri McClees was flying to Israel from North Carolina.
“When I got to the airport in Tel Aviv, I was so excited to be here,” she said.
The lack of Christmas spirit in Israel doesn’t bother her.
“When Jesus was born, people were not paying attention,” she said. “Israel is much more like it was when Jesus was born (compared to America). Here it is quiet, but it’s more meaningful for me to be here.”
Henri was among hundreds of people who picked up a free Christmas tree at the Old City’s Jaffa Gate on Thursday. The trees were given away by the municipality, a city-run distribution that has been taking place for several years.
Olivia Cholette, a Swiss Canadian, was with her Israeli boyfriend Eliad Wagner to choose a tree as well. Olivia has lived in Israel for two years and has introduced Christmas traditions to Eliad.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “I don’t really know what to do with the cooking, but it is fun and we bought a lot of gifts.”
Olivia added that they invited many Jewish friends over for Christmas dinner. -NJ-