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Dec 19, 2013

Will the Knesset display a Christmas tree this year?

Christmas is approaching... will the Knesset commemorate the Christian holiday with a Christmas tree?

True, there are Christians living in Israel, and the Knesset represents them. So perhaps there is room for the discussion of such a commemoration.

MK Hanna Swaid (Hadash) has petitioned the Speaker of the House, Yuli Edelstein, to place a Christmas tree in the Knesset.

Swaid says such a tree would be a nice gesture and a tribute to the Christian MKs and citizens, as well as a symbolic connection to Christianity in general. In addition, Swaid added, there are many Jews around the world who put such a tree in their homes during the holidays.

Placing such a tree in the Knesset would also be a clear statement against vandalism experienced by churches and mosques perpetrated by extremists.
(source: NRG)

Just because some Jews are misguided and try to celebrate in some way the Christian holidays does not mean the Knesset must honor them. Many of those who place Christmas trees do so because they are intermarried and "celebrate" the Christian holidays (sometimes together with the Jewish holidays and sometimes instead of the Jewish holidays).

The Knesset should NOT install a Christmas tree, despite having Christian residents and MKs. Maybe in an MKs office it can be allowed, but it should not be in the public areas of the Knesset. Israel is a Jewish State, and Jews should celebrate Jewish holidays, not Christian holidays. The fact that we are also democratic does not obligate us to also celebrate Christian holidays. it means those citizens who want to celebrate Christian holidays can.

In the US even with the separation of church and state they used to put Christmas trees by public buildings, and now they also have to place a menora. If the democratic aspect of the State must be seen to be in conflict with the Jewish part of the State in this regard, this could be a problem.We should not ban them all, because part of the definition of Israel is as specifically a Jewish State. The answer is that in the USA there is no official state religion, even though it is widely seen as an official religion. So, if they allow Christmas trees, they must allow displays of other religions equally. Israel has an official religion, Judaism, so it can display Jewish religious items and not Christian ones.

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  1. Is the Xmas tree a religious symbol? I think not.

  2. I have heard this opinion before, and I disagree. even if the fact is that not everybody who places is a tree is religious or knows the symbolism, the tree is and has become part of the symbolism of the holiday.

  3. Ok, my nafka mina: Yoga practice. Many people claim it is 'just' exercising, but they ignore that it is actually prayer rituals from India, and include explicit avoda zara like the famous Sun exercise.

    1. I guess its a good thing I dont do yoga! :-)

  4. i might have been more open to this idea had i not heard mk swaid say that the state needs to be multi-cultural, not just jewish. meaning, if the whole thing is gesture of respect, like when the president eats with muslims at the end of day during ramadan, maybe. but if wants to the tree to be symbol of transformation from a jewish state to god knows what, than forget it.


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