It’s no secret that Israelis are increasingly interested in, and in some places even adopting certain Christmas celebrations.
But one middle school in Herzliya sparked a firestorm within the local municipality after its students appeared to prefer the Christian holiday to Hanukkah for their annual winter holiday celebration.
Last week, the Herzliya City Council received complaints from some parents that the Yad Giora Middle School was mixing Christmas and Hanukkah in its winter holiday exhibitions. The two holidays overlap this year.
So, Israel Channel 20 reports that City Council member Elad Tsadikov went to visit the school, and there was promised by Principal Ronit Cohen Matot that Yad Giora would not play host to any Christmas celebrations. She stressed that the school was dedicated to teaching the traditions of Israel, and not Christianity.
בית ספר חילוני בהרצליה חוגג:
לא את חנוכה,
אלא את כריסמס.
בושה וחרפה pic.twitter.com/tj00qkTiOg
— ינון מגל (@YinonMagal) December 22, 2019
But, when Tsadikov returned for a surprise follow-up visit on Sunday, he witnessed the students putting on their holiday fair (which was taking place a day earlier than what the principal had told him) in an unmistakable Christmas atmosphere.
Christmas trees and similar symbols abounded, and many students were dressed in Santa Klaus costumes.
Outraged, Tsadikov told Channel 20 that he suspects the school of tolerating Christian influence, and compared the situation to the kind of religious and cultural Greek influence that necessitated the events commemorated on Hanukkah.