Nasrallah wishes a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Christians & Muslims

Source

Annual interview with Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on December 27, 2020, by the Lebanese pan-Arab channel Al-Mayadeen. This interview lasted almost 4 hours. We will translate extracts from it shortly.

Video: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7yfebv

Transcript:

In the Name of God, the Beneficient, the Merciful.

I begin by welcoming you and all viewers.And I address myself to all Christians and Muslims in the world, and in particular in our country, Lebanon,to congratulate them and wish them Merry Christmas on the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of our Master the Messiah, peace be upon him, and with the grace of God a Happy New Year for the (imminent) beginning of 2021, which we hope will be a different year than the ones before it, God willing. […]

Video: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7yfebv

***

Putin’s New Year Address to the Nation

Source: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/64852

Transcript:

Citizens of Russia, friends,

The year 2020 will be over in just a few minutes.

As we were welcoming it a year ago today, just like people around the world, we thought and dreamed of changes for the better. No one could have imagined back then what kind of trials would come our way.

Now, it appears that the outgoing year has taken in the burden of many years. It was a difficult year for all of us, with worries and serious financial difficulties, bitter experiences and, for some, loss of the loved ones.

However, the outgoing year was also filled with hope that we will overcome adversity and with pride for those who showed their best human and professional qualities. It made us appreciate dependable, sincere and genuine relationships between people, as well as friendship and trust.

We walked through this year together with dignity, as befits a single nation which honours the traditions of its ancestors. These values – courage, compassion and graciousness – are in our hearts and blood and show in our deeds.

We look up to our dear veterans – the valiant generation that defeated the scourge of Nazism. Against all odds, we have fulfilled our sacred filial duty and marked the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory with gratitude and appreciation.

Indeed, the dangerous new virus has changed and even turned upside down our usual way of life, work and study, and forced us to reconsider and adjust many of our plans. But that is how things are, and trials are an unavoidable part of life.

They encourage us to take a closer look at what life is all about, listen to our conscience, discard all things that are petty and vain and appreciate what is truly important. This is the gift of human life, our families, mothers and fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers, our children, be they babies or mature adults, our friends and colleagues. This is also selfless help and the general energy of good deeds, both ambitious nationwide efforts and small local projects which are no less important.

Trials and troubles come and go. It has always been that way. The main things that make us noble and strong, such as love, mutual understanding, trust and support, stay with us.

I would like to wish that the hardships of the outgoing year quickly sink into oblivion while everything that we have gained and all the best that has come forward in each person stays with us forever.

Today, it is important to believe in ourselves, not to back off in the face of challenges and to value our unity. This is the foundation of our shared future successes.

I am convinced that together we will overcome the challenges facing us, restore normal life and continue to work to achieve Russia’s goals in the forthcoming third decade of the 21st century with renewed vigour.

Friends,

Not everyone is sitting around the New Year’s table now. Many people remain in the hospitals, and I am sure they all feel the support of their families and friends. With all my heart, I wish you, my dear friends, to get well soon and to go home as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, the epidemic has not yet completely come to an end. The fight against it does not stop for a minute. Doctors and nurses, as well as ambulance crews, continue to work courageously. Many of them are on duty tonight.

The first responders, our servicemen in hot spots outside Russia, peacekeepers and Army and Navy combat crews are also tirelessly and responsibly performing their challenging missions.

Thanks to all those people who carry out their duties day and night under any circumstances, the citizens of Russia can safely gather today in their homes with their loved ones, see in the New Year with plans for the future and hopes for the better, and make their New Year wishes.

Friends,

Let us use these precious moments to dream about the best things in life, peace and prosperity, happiness and joy for everyone who is near and dear to us, and our entire country.

I want to thank every one of you, because we are together. When we stand next to each other, shoulder to shoulder, Russia becomes one big family.

I wish you all good health, faith, hope and love, as people who are close and dear to me. I wish you happiness in the upcoming 2021!

Happy New Year, friends!

Donate as little as you can to support this work and subscribe to the Newsletter to get around censorship.

“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” 

Special Christmas in Palestine: Cradle of Jesus Characterizes Holidays for Palestinians This Year

Special Christmas in Palestine: Cradle of Jesus Characterizes Holidays for Palestinians This Year

By Staff

Occupied Palestine – Christian communities in occupied Palestine are preparing to celebrate Christmas. This year’s celebrations are made all the more special by a tiny fragment of wood that has been returned to the Holy Land after many centuries. The wooden relic is believed to be part of the manger of the baby Jesus and recently arrived in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity.

مدينة بيت لحم تحتفل بعيد ميلاد السيد المسيح

Christians view the manger as a symbol of peace. Its holiness derives from its connection with the Holy Land, specifically the grotto housed in the church of Bethlehem.

The Custody of the Holy Land recently received the piece of the manger, which had been removed from the Middle East and taken to Rome’s Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore [St Mary Major] in the 7th century. Pope Francis returned the wooden fragment earlier this month.

The wooden relic is no more than 2.5 centimeters long and one centimeter wide. It was preserved at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome before being delivered to the pastor of the Bethlehem church in the West Bank.

Its return was requested by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The return of part of the manger to the Palestinian people is a great blessing because of its importance among Palestinian Christians, especially since it is coming from the largest of the Virgin Mary’s churches in Italy,” said Father Ibrahim Falats, Counselor of the Custody of the Holy Land in Palestine.

Father Falats pointed out that this was the first time in 1300 years that a piece of the manger was returned.

He recalled how the cradle was sent to the Vatican as a gift from the Patriarch of Jerusalem [al-Quds] St. Sophronius to Pope Theodore I, who was of Palestinian origin.

For his part, the head of the Bethlehem municipality, Anton Salman, said the sacred relic characterizes this year’s Christmas celebrations and differentiates it from all others.

Salman added that the piece of the manger will be handed over to the Custody of the Holy Land Franciscan fathers. It will be placed in the Franciscan Church of St. Catherine next to the Church of the Nativity.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Christians in Palestine constitute 1% of the population. They start their celebrations on December 25th of each year.

Related Videos

Imam Khamenei Pays Tribute to Jesus Christ on Christmas Eve

 December 25, 2019

Leader of Islamic Revolution in Iran Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei called on Tuesday for adherence to the teachings of Jesus Christ, which requires righteousness and abhorrence of anti-righteous powers.

In a message on Christmas Eve, Imam Khamenei said: “Following Jesus Christ requires adherence to righteousness and abhorrence of anti-righteous powers, and it is hoped that Christians and Muslims in every part of the world will adhere to this great lesson from Jesus (pbuh) in their lives and deeds.”

“The honor Muslims attribute to Jesus Christ (pbuh) is no less than his position and merit in the eyes of the Christian believers in Christianity,” the Leader said as quoted by his office in a tweet.

“Today, many who claim to follow Jesus Christ take a different path than that of him. The guidance of Jesus, the son of Mary (peace be upon our Prophet and her) is guidance towards worshiping God and confronting the Pharaohs and tyrants,” another tweet said.

Source: Iranian media

Related Videos

“ندبة بيت لحم” هدية بانكسي للميلاد
نكهة خاصة لعيد الميلاد في الناصرة
الاحتفالات بعيد ميلاد السيد المسيح تعمّ الأردن
الأب مسلم يطالب بعودة المسيحيين والمسلمين الذين أجبروا على الرحيل من أرضهم في فلسطين
الصدر: مشاركة أولاد المسلمين في فعاليات الأعياد المسيحية داخل الكنيسة أمر طبيعي

An open Christmas Greeting to a few Labour Politicians

December 24, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

open letter.jpg

 

Dear Rt Hon. Jeremy Corbyn, Chris Williamson MP, Cllr Richard Watts and members of the Islington Council,

I would like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

I want to assure you that during the holiday I will not respond to the biased and unprovoked punitive ban that you imposed on me, and to the shame you have brought upon yourselves and your party. I want to allow you sufficient time to rethink your unreasonable actions. I do want to assure you that this story is not going to go away.

As soon as 2019 settles in I, along with the very active movement that has supported me in recent weeks, will push for answers.

 We will ask:

1.     The director of Likud-Herut UK threatened his absence at the concert in case of Gilad Atzmon being present. How is it that Islington Labour Council went out of it way to appease a right-wing pro-Israel activist? At the very least it appears  that Likud UK is connected to a  foreign government that has been hostile to the Labour party and its leader. This is when the Likud’s political philosophy is in direct opposition to the values that Labour espouses.

2.     How is it possible that an impoverished Labour Council that has been forced to make significant cutbacks in essential services finds the funds to hire one of Britain’s most expensive law firms and appears ready to spend tens of thousands of pounds just to stop one of the world’s leading musicians from making a living and entertaining an audience at a Christmas event?

3.  How do you justify that you, as a party,  claim to care for the ‘many and not the few,’ yet you managed to cause a complete and blatantly prejudiced mess in response to a single pro-Israel campaigner and ignored the mass protests against your decision. A petition with thousands of signatures and hundreds of complaints were not addressed at all. Apparently, you ignored the ‘many’ to appease the ‘one.’

4.     We will publish all the relevant documents and correspondence issued by the Council relating to this matter. Not a single document contained any comment I made or wrote that was hateful or discriminatory. It is of note that the quotations contained in the Council’s evidence were cut and pasted and/or taken entirely out of context. Instead, nearly all of the Council’s writing seemed sourced from  hard core Zionist outlets such as the Jewish Chronicle, Jerusalem Post, Ynet, and the ADL, all of whom spew hatred towards me and my work. We must remind British officials of their obligation to be impartial. We will also publish the document in which the council dismisses as ‘anti-Semitic’ some of the greatest living humanists, quoting again the opinions expressed about them in the ultra right wing Zionist media.

5.     We have further learned that one of the lawyers  hired by the Council to encounter the menace of Gilad Atzmon’s saxophone also represented the ultra Zionist and leading Likud (and Trump) donor Sheldon Adelson. Did the Council take any steps to ensure that this representation did not interfere with its own impartiality?

6.     In the last few days, the press has quoted a “Labour spokesman” who called me a ‘vile anti-Semite.’  Are political parties entitled to accuse law-abiding  citizens of ‘hate crimes’?  Would  Labour also accuse a private British citizen of paedophilia or murder without any official record?  Further, if  Labour did find me guilty of hate speech and can substantiate it, why have they failed to notify the police?

This is enough for you to reflect upon. I will start to dig into these matters in early January. Your decision to operate in a Stasi-like manner, crudely interfering with the arts, freedom of speech, and my obligation to earn a living, suggests that you have become an existential threat for all of us and what we believe in.

We will deal with all of this in due course.

For the time being I hope that you can learn about my position on different matters that concern you through my Christmas Message:

njoy your holidays.

All the best

Gilad and thousands of very concerned citizens

P.S. I do accept that you are somehow fearful of good music but here is a rare opportunity to watch Santa Claus performing with the Blockheads. Give beauty a chance.

To sign a petition in support of Gilad click here

Lodge a formal complaint with Islington Council: https://www.islington.gov.uk/contact-us/comments-and-complaints?status=inprogress

Email: assemblyhall@islington.gov.uk

Contact the Council: +4420 7527 2000

To support Gilad’s legal battles:  https://donorbox.org/gilad-needs-additional-support

A Christmas Miracle in Islington

December 24, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Background:

On 4 December, Richard Watts, ‘Labour’ politician and leader of the impoverished Islington Council, rapidly acquiesced to a request from Martin Rankoff, director of Likud-Herut UK, that I be removed from the Blockheads’ Christmas concert at the Islington Assembly Hall. It seems Cllr Watts bought into the absurd idea that Jews would be upset by my sax playing. I was vaguely amused by Watt’s ludicrous decision. Until recently, we would have thought that it was down to musicians to make the choices with regard to their music. Clearly this is not the case in Islington in 2018. Our Labour leaders seem inspired by the USSR 1970s model or even Germany in 1938.  I naively believed that Watts and his ‘Labour’ council might change their decision once they realised they had been manipulated by an ultra right wing pro Israel activist who has displayed gruesome and contemptuous views of the Labour party.

 

Obviously, I was wrong. The dysfunctional Labour Council and their leader fell into every trap, as we will learn in more detail in the new year. By 17 December, I realised that I had to prepare a saxophonist and one at least as sexy as I, to perform the extended solo feature in Clever Trevor. Due to the Christmas theme, I decided that Santa Claus was the perfect candidate for the job.

This is where we started:


Gilad Atzmon and Islam

January 14, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Introduction GA: In the following book review Jay Knott suggests that  Being in Time scores a very high mark on many fronts, however, the text fails to attack Muslims and Islam. In the last two decades I have been accused of many things but this is the first time I am criticised  for ‘not being an Islamophobe.’ I have met Knott before and I think that regardless of the peculiar premise of this text,  it deserves attention. 

Wiping-Away-Sin-with-Islam-.jpg

Gilad Atzmon And Islam

Book Review by Jay Knott

A review of Being In Time – a post-political manifesto, Gilad Atzmon, Skyscraper Publications, 2017

“There is just one point where I have encountered a difficulty” – Russell to Frege, 1902.

I introduced a talk by Gilad Atzmon, and organised a reading group to discuss his first book, “The Wandering Who?”, about Jewish identity politics. We had many criticisms of it.

The new book is much broader, and better. I have only one major criticism. This article is about that criticism, but though as a result it’s mostly negative, I actually think this book is a major contribution to understanding the times we live in. It explains Donald Trump, Brexit, the left, identity politics, political correctness, and especially, US support for Jewish supremacy in the Middle East. It is undogmatic, finding inputs from a wide range of sources. Atzmon even manages to get something useful out of the book “The Bell Curve” while rejecting its central premise, IQ. I mostly agreed with much of “Being in Time”.

But chapter four, “United Against Unity”, woke me up with a jolt.

But what about Hammed, a metal worker from Birmingham? Hammed identifies as a ‘Muslim’ – can he join a Left demonstration against the War in Syria? It’s a good question and the answer is not immediately obvious because it’s no secret that many of those who subscribe to ‘progressive’ and ‘liberal’ ideologies and especially activists, are rather troubled by religion in general and Islam in particular.

You could have fooled me. In 2003, I attended a large Palestine solidarity demonstration in London. There was a small group of Muslim extremists shouting “Hamas! Hamas! Jews to the gas!”. They were tolerated. Far milder expressions of white identity are violently excluded from left-wing events.

Shortly after criticising political correctness, Atzmon writes

What about Laura? She’s a Muslim convert who often hides her face behind a veil. Does she feel comfortable in ‘progressive’ or liberal gatherings? Not really.

“Feel comfortable”? This is political correctness!

The progressive left on both sides of the Atlantic is more than tolerant of Islam, the most regressive section of Western society.

The American women’s march against Donald Trump selected Muslim misogynist Linda Sarsour as one of its organisers,

and German feminists applauded Islam too.

Atzmon is right to say that a British patriot would not be welcome at an anti-war protest. But he’s completely wrong about the left and Islam.

One of the reasons Muslim men were allowed to get away with raping hundreds of underage girls for decades in Britain is that most of them live under Labour Party-controlled councils. Paralysed by political correctness, sending social workers who noticed that it was primarily “Asians” trafficking the girls, on “diversity” courses, they ignored the problem, or suppressed attempts to expose it, for fear of being called “racist”.

When Labour’s left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke in the House of Commons about the Grenfell tower disaster, he rightly pointed to Orgreave and Hillsborough as examples of police malfeasance, then he mentioned the Rotherham child-trafficking scandal as another example, again rightly. But he didn’t mention the other major factor: the overwhelming overrepresentation of Muslims among Rotherham’s child traffickers, and the influence of political correctness on allowing them to rape children. Instead, he went out of his way to make a gratuitous remark about Muslims breaking from prayers to help their neighbours in the Grenfell fire:

A more extreme example of the leftist attitude to Islam is the Socialist Workers Party arguing against Islamic terrorism – on the grounds that it wouldn’t work: Socialists Stand With The Oppressed.

Atzmon’s book is pretty good about the connection between identity politics and Zionist power in the West. He’s also right about the overrepresentation of self-identified Jews in the origins of the most sophisticated variants of movements designed to take advantage of Western self-doubt – Franz Boas’s anthropology, Theodor Adorno’s psychology and sociology (the Frankfurt school), Freud, postmodernism and the “anti-racist” anti-science of Stephen Jay Gould. But it’s not only Jewish activists who exploit this loophole. Political correctness also undermines the West’s defence against the influence of Islam.

EXAMPLES

Page 48: “Jewish ethnocentrism and even Jewish racial exclusivity is fully accepted, while other forms of ethnocentrism are bluntly rejected.”

In fact, the left tolerates prejudice from black activists, usually against white people. “African-American Studies” is positive, whereas the study of “Whiteness” is invariably negative. One can easily find dozens of examples by checking out the sites “The College Fix”“Campus Reform”Sargon of Akkad’s videos on Youtube, or reading up on the 2006 Duke University Lacrosse rape case. I suspect that’s the main reason for the left’s support for the socially conservative ideology of Islam – most of its adherents have dark skin.

Page 81: Atzmon claims that the Guardian does not mind offending ‘Islamists’, on the basis of its broadcast of one televised debate between two Zionist Jews.

He’s right about the paper’s hostility to the white workers. When hackette Zoe Williams went to Rotherham to investigate Pakistani taxi drivers raping underage white girls, she dismissed the mostly-white English Defence League as “racist”, instead asking for the opinions of… Pakistani taxi drivers. Atzmon doesn’t realise that this is normal. Muslims usually get gold in the Oppression Olympics. Here are six examples of the Guardian’s Islamophilia:

Zoe Williams: “This brutal blame game pays little heed to justice in Rotherham”

Suzanne Moore: “Poor children are seen as worthless, as Rotherham’s abuse scandal shows”

Jonathan Freedland: “Rotherham inquiry: the ‘PC gone mad’ defence is itself a form of racism”

Nazir Afzal: ‘There is no religious basis for the abuse in Rotherham’

Chi Onwurah – “The grooming of girls in Newcastle is not an issue of race – it’s about misogyny”. In a way, she’s right. It’s not about race, and it is about misogyny. Muslim misogyny. But she doesn’t say that.

The Guardian ran a story “Muslim women ‘blocked from seeking office by male Labour councillors’”. Notice that the religion of the women is mentioned, but not the men. Can you guess why?

Page 125 – ID Politics – the belief that the personal is political unless you are Muslim or white. This reiterates the idea that the left encourages identity politics for all except Muslims and white Europeans. He’s fifty percent right.

Page 129 – Atzmon argues that Islam and Christianity are similar, but Judaism is different, because it’s based on “an obedience regulatory system”, in which “God-loving is not voluntary”. And again on page 197. He argues that Christianity and Islam are universalist, as opposed to the sectarian attitudes of Judaism – “the chosen few”. He’s right about Judaism, and the myth of “Judaeo-Christian”, but he substitutes the equally false “Islamo-Christian”. The only way Islam is universalist is that anyone can join it, and many had no choice. If you haven’t signed up, or especially if you leave it, it’s not a bit universal. Its God is close to the vengeful monster of the Old Testament, not at all like his son, the pacifist who founded Christianity. “Judaeo-Islamic” is a more accurate neologism.

Page 144 – “Real Jewish power is actually the power to silence criticism of Jewish power”. Right. But what is the power to silence the defence of a scientific view of gender differences inside Google? The need to fire a black diversity officer at Apple who said it’s ok to be white? The show-trial of student Lindsay Shepherd, for showing a video clip of a debate on “gender pronouns”? The fact that Nobel Prize-winning biologists can be fired for an opinion, or a joke … and dozens of similar examples, too numerous to mention, and no doubt hundreds which have never attracted the publicity of these cases. Some of them can be found here: “The Left-Wing Campaign Against Liberal Values”. This is political correctness. Jewish power is one of its results.

CONCLUSION

Social Justice has taken over, not just academic humanities departments, but large sections of the media, and, amazingly, the most important corporations in the world, such as Apple and Google. “Cultural Marxism” is not a paranoid right-wing conspiracy theory.

It’s my contention than Zionists use the same mechanisms as SJWs to manipulate Western societies to do things which are opposed to the interests of most of their inhabitants, rich and poor. Like professors of “African-American Studies”, they use false, or meaningless, allegations of racial prejudice to take advantage of our morality. We can kill both of these birds with one stone.

Support for Israel is a result of political correctness, the expression of a weakness in white European people and societies. The immigration of millions of Muslims, among them many who don’t accept Western values, is another. Atzmon dismisses concern about Islam altogether. But read “Being and Time”. Apart from its blind spot regarding ‘Islamists’, it’s damn good.

VIDEO: Palestinian Christians Protest Patriarch Who Sold Church Land to Israel

January 7, 2018 4:27 AM 

 IMEMC News & Agencies

07 JAN 4:27 AM

Palestinian Christians from around the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Israel came out in harsh opposition, Saturday, to a visit by Greek Orthodox Church Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, to the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Theophilos III, along with several other religious and political figures, were visiting Bethlehem as part of celebrations for Greek Orthodox Christmas Eve.

Despite an intense presence of Palestinian security forces who attempted to open roads near Bethlehem’s Manger Square, for the patriarch’s car, angry protesters swarmed around the procession, holding signs, Palestinian flags, and chanting slogans against Theophilus III.

According to Ma’an News Agency,  some people threw stones and smashed windows of the car that the patriarch was riding in as they demanded he be stripped of his titles and removed from the church.

Theophilos III is accused of orchestrating the sale of more than 500 dunams (123.5 acres) of Palestinian land belonging to the Arab Orthodox Church in Jerusalem to Israelis belonging to Zionist and settler groups.

The protest was not the first of its kind in Bethlehem — visits by Theophilus III to the biblical town have been boycotted in the past.

On Saturday, heads of the municipalities of Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour boycotted the reception, along with several religious organizations affiliated with the Greek Orthodox Church.

The church has been accused numerous times, over the years, of selling its leasing rights over land in Jerusalem to Jewish Israeli investors, with Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist revealing late last month that the Orthodox Patriarchate had sold the rights to 500 dunams, in August 2016, for 114 million shekels ($32 million), a move to be effective in 2050, when the Jewish National Fund’s lease of the land is set to expire.

Detractors have accused the patriarchate of contributing to Israeli plans to “Judaize” Jerusalem by selling or leasing off large amounts of land to Israeli authorities and business people, betraying the church’s responsibility to protect Palestinian lands that were handed under its care during the Ottoman period.

In 2015, a patriarchate spokesperson denied that the church was selling off lands in Jerusalem — a claim that did not convince many members of the faith, at the time.

Related story:

12/07/17 Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour Engage in “Christmas Blackout” to Protest US Jerusalem Decision

Related Videos

Related News

Merry Christmas! Orthodox Christmas Service in Moscow

Source

Posted on 

From Sputnik:

Orthodox Christians in Russia celebrate Christmas on January 7. There is a 40-day Lent preceding Christmas Day. On the eve of the significant event, orthodox observers attend liturgies in churches all over the country that last well into the early hours of the morning.
The main mass in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior is led by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Commentary is provided by Sergei Brun, academic fellow at the Museum of the Russian Icon in Moscow, and RT journalist Daniel Bushell.

Putin Wishes Russian Children a Happy New Year

Posted on 

A time of mounting excitement in Moscow as the city gets set for the holidays–in Russia, New Year is celebrated before Christmas, rather than after it. The Russian Orthdox Christmas will be observed on January 6-7, 2018. What I find most striking about the video is the extent to which the Russian children seem to idolize Putin–almost as if he’s a rock star or something. I would find it hard to imagine any group of American children displaying such frenzy and adoration upon the appearance of a US president.

You’ll note also that some of the children in the video are from Sevastopol. The city is located in Crimea, and for many of them it’s their first trip to Moscow. Obviously they are quite impressed!

A little bit about Russian Orthodox Christmas:

People in Russia celebrate Christmas Day with activities such as having a family dinner, attending a Christmas liturgy and visiting relatives and friends. There is a 40-day Lent preceding Christmas Day, when practicing Christians do not eat any meat. The Lent period ends with the first star in the night sky on January 6 – a symbol of Jesus Christ’s birth. Many Orthodox Christians go to the church to attend a Christmas liturgy that evening. (Source).

Merry Christmas Day with Bolero at Sunrise

December 25, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

I performed the the Bolero Together with Konse Big Band  (led by Prof. Johannes Berauer)  at Klagenfurt Jazz Club,Austria,  four days ago.

Bolero at Sunrise was arranged by the  Callum Au

Merry Christmas

Gilad

IN PHOTOS: ISRAELI FORCES CLASH WITH PALESTINIAN SANTA CLAUSES ON CHRISTMAS EVE

South Front

24.12.2017

On December 24, Palestinians, many of them dressed as Santa Claus, staged a rally in the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank protesting against to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s true capital.

Israeli forces used tear gas and stun grenades against the protesters near an Israeli military tower in Bethlehem. This rea is widely known as the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ.

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

Merry Christmas Everyone, Joy to the world: Jesus is a celebrated prophet in Islam, too, peace be upon him

Joy to the world: Jesus is a celebrated prophet in Islam, too, peace be upon him

Joy to the world: Jesus is a celebrated prophet in Islam, too, peace be upon him

 Christmas in Bethlehem is a special time for all children – Muslim and Christian
In the interest of peace, Safdar Khwaja from CAIR reminds us that Muslims revere Jesus highly, and believe in the divine origin of the holy books of all three Abrahamic religions. She reminds us of the need to work together, for there is much to be done in our broken world.
At the end of the article, If Americans Knew offers you some photos of Christmastime in Bethlehem, where there is genuine interfaith peace.

by Safdar Khwaja, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Christmas season brings lights, cheer and charity across America and prayerful celebration of the Christian savior’s birth in churches across the world. Greeting cards proclaim “Joy to the World,” though people might wonder just how to spread joy.

Christian Americans also might wonder how non-Christians perceive the festive Christmas season — particularly Muslims, given all the controversy about them that’s been stirred up in recent election cycles.

It may come as a surprise to many people that Muhammad, peace be upon him (pbuh), recognized Jesus (pbuh) as the promised final leader for mankind. As recorded in multiple Hadith (sayings of the Prophet) ( Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 34, No. 425 et seq.), “… Jesus (pbuh) son of Mary, will descend amongst you as a just ruler, kill the anti-christ, and abolish unfavorable practices. Money will become in abundance so that no one will accept it as charity.”

This significant Hadith is neither unique nor an isolated forecast in Islam. As the youngest of the three major Abrahamic faiths, Islam recognizes all of the revelations and commandments of a singular God (Eloh in Hebrew, Alah in Aramaic, Ilah in Arabic, Allah as “the-God” in Arabic), as a continuum of God’s messages. The Scrolls (Abraham, pbuh), Torah (Moses, pbuh), Psalms (David, pbuh), Gospels (Jesus, pbuh), and Quran (Muhammad, pbuh), are all recognized as of divine origin and included in the faith of Islam.

Quran 2:136: “Say: (Oh Believers) ‘We believe in God and in what was sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and what was given to Moses, Jesus, and all the prophets by their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we devote ourselves to Him (God).’ “

Followers of these divine revelations are recognized as “People of the Book,” with marriages allowed among them, which has led “mixed” families over the centuries to develop close relationships.

Jesus is mentioned 25 times in the Quran in many contexts, including as a messenger of God, as the Messiah, as the “word” and “sign” of God, as endowed with healing miracles, as ascending into heaven, as promising to return.

The Quran mentions the virgin birth of Jesus many times. He is the only prophet who is mentioned along with his mother. The Quran’s chapter 19 is dedicated to Mary (Maryam), who holds a singularly exalted place in Islam, being the only woman named in the Quran. She is referred to 70 times in multiple chapters, and she explicitly is identified as the greatest of all women.

To Muslims in America, celebration of the life of Jesus and acts of charity during the Christmas season are very similar to their own traditions. The two major Muslim celebrations, or Eids, feature charity, prayers and festivities. They occur following the month of fasting (Ramadan) and at the commemoration of Abraham’s (pbuh) commitment to personal sacrifice. Celebrations such as Christmas and Eid are meant to renew the foundations of our beliefs.

Sadly, we see anxiety and suspicion between Christians and Muslims, which are politically inspired and cause us to overlook our shared heritage. If we were true to the teachings of our faiths, we would see that the values we collectively cherish are rooted in a common history. Such a realization could become the basis for cooperation, for friendship, for truly spreading “Joy to the World.”

Humanity has massive challenges to overcome; disease, poverty, hunger, ignorance, war, the list goes on. These challenges require a new paradigm of collaboration among people of all faiths, or no faith, from the local to the global level.

Interfaith dialogue is growing here in Pittsburgh, but participation remains sparse. In our “home of the brave,” we need more brave souls who are willing to listen to the narratives of people who are very different from themselves.

Here is my wish for this holy, festive season:

May our leaders be brave. May they employ their energies and talents toward bringing us together rather than driving us apart. May they help us solve the intractable problems we face by harnessing our common values and humanity. May this spirit of cooperation bring us joy.


Safdar Khwaja is president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

 

Palestinian Christians celebrate the lighting of a Christmas tree in Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Christmas Eve is a major event for the biblical town, drawing thousands of foreign tourists each year. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

 

Another view of Manger Square
A member of the Palestinian Authority security services patrols in front of the nativity scene in Manger Square
Greek Orthodox Liturgy in the Church of the Nativity


Bell tower in the background is the Church of the Nativity, built over the site traditionally believed to be where Christ was born
Santa is an equal-opportunity acceptor of donations.
Catholic clergymen outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
A Christian worshipper prays after lighting a candle on Christmas Eve at the Church of the Nativity, built atop the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born, in the West Bank

Rabbi Warns that Jews May Be Headed for a ‘Cataclysmic Disaster’

Posted on 

Is Patagonia to Become the New ‘Promised Land’?

By Richard Edmondson

Bible scholars have pointed out that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke appear to have been written with two different audiences in mind. The Gospel of Matthew seems to have been directed at a Jewish audience, while the Gospel of Luke would appear to have been written with a primarily Gentile audience in mind.

One passage in Matthew where we can see the intended audience was Jewish is in the story of Jesus’ birth. Here we encounter a reference to the Old Testament book of Micah–a citation which not only  prophesies the birth of Christ but which clearly  presents the Israelites as divinely chosen. The passage in question is Matthew 2:1-6. The setting is Herod’s court in Jerusalem, where the three wise men from the east have just stopped off in their quest to find the newborn Christ child:

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd[d] my people Israel.’”

The quote in verse 6 containing the words “my people Israel” is a cross reference to Micah 5:2. It’s rather amazing that the gospel writer supplies us with these words in the story of Jesus’ birth…but then later goes on to give us the following passage in the account of his death:

24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” 25 Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

It is almost as if the Jews have gone from being divinely blessed in the early part of the gospel…to divinely cursed in the gospel’s closing chapters.

The reason I make mention of the birth story from Matthew is not solely because we’re in the Christmas season, but for a couple of other reasons as well. One has to do with a commentary published recently by a rabbi by the name of Brant Rosen; the other in regard to some interesting information presented recently by Thierry Meyssan of Voltairenet.org. Let’s take Rosen’s commentary first.

Rabbi Brant Rosen is an advocate of justice for Palestinians as well as the founder of Tzedek Chicago, a “non-Zionist” synagogue in Chicago. He also maintains a blog, Shalom Rav, where he recently published an article entitled “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.” In the article he discusses the intersection of Zionism with Jewish messianism, this in the context of Trump’s recent decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem–and he comments that “Zionism has always been, in its way, a kind of false messiah.”

He also warns that Jews today may be headed for a “cataclysmic disaster,” and he quotes Gershom Scholem, a Jewish scholar of the 20th century who authored a biography of Sabbatai Zevi, a Jewish false messiah who gained a huge following in the 1600s. Scholem’s perspective on the subject, written in 1928, reads in part:

The messianic phraseology of Zionism, especially in its decisive moments, is not the least of those Sabbatian temptations which could bring disaster to the renewal of Judaism.

Rosen then goes on to comment:

I genuinely believe that the disaster Scholem wrote of has already come to pass. This zealous drive for political sovereignty and control over Jerusalem as the “eternal undivided capitol of the Jewish people” is a form of idolatry that has all but highjacked a venerable spiritual tradition. Now I fear a much more cataclysmic disaster is waiting in the wings.

Perhaps Rosen isn’t the only Jew worried about a cataclysmic disaster at this point–and this brings me to Meyssen’s article.

Entitled “What is Israel’s Project in Argentina?“, the piece was posted December 12 at Meyssen’s Voltaire blog. In it the author discusses Jewish billionaire Joe Lewis of Britain, who has purchased vast amounts of land in the region of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in southern Argentina. Meyssen notes that the properties Lewis has acquired “cover areas several times larger than the State of Israel”; that hundreds of thousands of houses have been built upon them, as well as a private airport capable of handling military aircraft; and that 8,000-10,000 Israeli soldiers journey there every year for “holiday camps.”

A  few other interesting points Meyssen makes are:

  • Google Earth has neutralized satellite photographs of the region just as it does with NATO military installations
  • Israel has now secured a submarine base in the area courtesy of neighboring Chile, while “tunnels have been dug in order to survive the polar winter”
  • George Soros is now believed by some inhabitants of the region to be financing a secessionist movement, presumably to “liberate” Patagonia from Argentina

Meyssen comments that it is “impossible for the moment to determine if Israel is engaged in a programme for the exploitation of Antarctica, or if it is building a rear base in case of defeat in Palestine.” Of course if nuclear war breaks out between the US and Russia, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego would probably be among the less severely impacted parts of the planet–so that might be a factor in the thinking as well. I don’t know.

In any event, I suggest people read Meyssen’s article in its entirety, because there’s a lot of interesting information in it that I haven’t covered here. As for Rosen’s article, while I look somewhat askance at a comment he supplies about “Christian supremacy,” I do note that the remark is made in regard to Christian Zionist pastor John Hagee, and while I confess I find Rosen’s characterization of Judaism as a “venerable spiritual tradition” a tad puzzling, I’ll go out on a limb and guess that he has passages like Exodus 23:9 (“you shall not oppress a stranger…” etc.) more so in mind than the exhortations to blood and genocide. I’m guessing he does not include Talmudic supremacy as part of that “venerable spiritual tradition.” And I’m also guessing he would take strong exception to comments of such as Rabbi Saadya Grama:

Jewish success in the world is completely contingent upon the failure of other peoples. Jews experience good fortune only when gentiles experience catastrophe…The difference between Jews and gentiles is not historical or cultural, but rather genetic and unalterable.

But the fact is that numerous other rabbis, despite this ‘venerable’ spiritual tradition, hold views similar to Grama’s. Whether theirs is a theological ideology or a political ideology, it is an ideology nonetheless that has brought “catastrophe” upon Syrians for the past seven years–and upon Palestinians for the past seventy years.

It may at some point bring catastrophe upon others as well, including Americans. Given the unemployment rate and the totally unprecedented degree of wealth disparity we’re seeing, some might say it already has.

If Jews who subscribe to Talmudic precepts should continue in their endeavors at foisting these catastrophes, the result is going to be a “cataclysmic disaster” upon Jews themselves–if that is the point Rosen is trying to make, then I agree with him and I think his prediction is correct.

What I would say to Jews in general is that moving to Patagonia is not going to save you. Unless you change your ways, you’re going to be hated and resented there just as you are presently hated and resented in Palestine, and just as you have been hated and resented most everywhere else you have settled and lived for the past two millennia, going all the way back to the riots of Alexandria in 38 A.D.–or even earlier.

The only way to break this cycle is by learning to act with kindness, to treat others with love and compassion–which of course were the precise teachings of your messiah–that is to say your true messiah–Jesus.

Doing this would not only save you, it potentially would save humanity as a whole, for the entire planet is teetering on the edge of the abyss right now.

Merry Christmas Russia!

orthodoxchrist1

January 7 is celebrated as Christmas day by millions of Orthodox Christians around the world. A midnight liturgy is scheduled for tonight at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior.  You can watch the service here. Merry Christmas to all!

Related

 

Russian Soldiers Distribute Christmas Gifts to Syrian Children

Speaking on Tuesday of this week, CIA Director John Brennan accused Russia of waging a “scorched earth policy” in Syria. I think clearly we can see evidence of this in the above video.

All kidding aside, Christian charity seems very much alive in Aleppo, and Russian soldiers apparently are quite in the Christmas spirit (The Russian Orthodox celebration of Christmas takes place this Saturday, January 7). The children in the video reportedly are saying “Thanks Russia” in both Arabic and Russian.

The video below is a tad bit older, having been uploaded back in September of 2016, though a similar spirit of giving is very much on display.

But getting back to Brennan…

“What the Russians have done in Syria in terms of some of the scorched earth policies that they have pursued that have led to devastation and thousands upon thousands of innocent deaths–that’s not something that the United States would ever do in any of these military conflicts,” the CIA director said in an interview with PBS.

And perhaps predictably he also gave a back-handed slap to Wikileaks, referring to Julian Assange as “not exactly a bastion of truth and integrity,” while doing some Putin-bashing as well:

We see what he’s done in places like Crimea and Ukraine and in Syria. He tends to flex muscles, not just on himself, but also in terms of Russia’s military capabilities. He plays by his own rules in terms of what it is that he does in some of these theaters of conflict.

Playing by our “own rules” is of course something that the US and its “special” friend Israel both excel at, but I don’t suppose we’ll hear Brennan admit to that anytime soon. In any event, it’s good to see the children of Syria experiencing the joys of Christmas despite the scorched earth policies directed against them–not by Russia, of course, but by terrorists backed by the West and its allies.

Lebanese Writer Answers Netanyahu’s Bogus Claim About Christmas

[ Ed. note – The writer of the piece below is Elie Fares, who maintains the blog A Separate State of Mind. The language he uses is a bit “colorful” in places, but he makes some good  points about a bogus claim that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made yesterday. In a diatribe against Secretary of State John Kerry–and given in response to a speech Kerry made earlier in the day–Netanyahu claimed, falsely, that Israel is the “only place in the Middle East where Christians can celebrate Christmas.”

I put up a post about the Israeli leader’s rant yesterday entitled Spitting Vitriol. ]

***

No Netanyahu, Israel Isn’t the Only Middle Eastern Place Where Christians Can Celebrate Christmas

A Separate State of Mind

In his increasingly childish bitchfit against the international political establishment that saw his country’s transgressions through settlements on Palestinian land finally made illegal with a UN resolution banning Israel – yeah, right – from building more of them, the Israeli PM is lashing out at his country’s closest ally and the reason Israel has been off the hook in everything it’s done for years, the United States.

As part of a rant aimed at US Secretary of State John Kerry whose tone was very moderate towards the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, with him recognizing the plight of Palestinians and their refugees, the land grab they’ve been victim of, among other things, Netanyahu figured it best to remind Kerry, and by extension of his buzz words that you know will circle Fox News for months to come, other Americans and Westerners who see Israel as the only worthy beacon of civilization in the Middle East that – and I quote:

Continued here

Christmas in Syria: Syrian President and his wife visit Saïdnaya Convent

Protectors Of Syria’s Pluralism

Tuesday, 27 December 2016 10:51

Bashar and Asma al-Assad Visit Saidnaya Monastery For Christmas, Reaffirming Their Status As Protectors Of Syria’s Pluralism

by Jonathan Azaziah

December 26, 2016

Gotta love Bashar and Asma al-Assad. The Syrian Arab Republic’s President and First Lady, as well as their daughter Zein and two sons Karim and Hafez, spent Christmas Day at Our Lady of Saidnaya Monastery in the ancient Aramaic-speaking town of Saidnaya, which rests on the slopes of the rugged Qalamoun Mountains that were liberated from Takfiri terrorist occupation by Hizbullah and the Syrian Arab Army last Spring. The Assads visited with the nuns and orphans of the Monastery and spent the day eating, laughing, snapping photos, unwrapping gifts and just generally enjoying the holy occasion.

“God bless you!” is what Bashar and Asma were hit with when they first entered the Monastery, and as they made their way down into the courtyard where they were adorably mobbed by loving children, they were also told by the nuns, “Now we are truly feeling the holiday spirit!” ‘Twas one of those moments in which you realize that these individuals, Dr. Assad and First Lady Asma, truly are FOR the people, OF the people and BY the people. This is the kind of popular support that cannot be bought, nor staged, nor forced. One simply has it or one does not. Clearly the Assads ABSOLUTELY have it.

And this is the essence, isn’t it? Every drop of Zioganda that the mainstream media has spewed out like an obese ‘Israeli’ settler with a torn stomach tract over nearly 6 years is rendered useless with scenes such as these. If Syria’s First Family was as despised by “everyday Syrians” as the Zionist press says they are, why the warm welcome and embrace from nuns and orphans, i.e. some of the most vulnerable persons in all of Syria, especially during this “conflict”? If the Assads were so petrified of their well-being because of this aforesaid hatred from “the people”, why’d they travel to an area as volatile as Saidnaya, which had been attacked by Takfiri gangs at numerous points, with nothing but basic security?

And if Bashar, Asma and their children were “divorced from reality” as a cornucopia of officials from Western ZOGs, “activists” of the NGO-Human-Rights-Industrial-Complex and terrorist-sympathizers the world over have suggested since the opening days of the manufactured rebellion in March 2011, wouldn’t they be holed up in some mountaintop mansion bunker somewhere instead of traveling around Syria to be with their countrymen in these most desperate times? Yes. Certainly. Dr. Assad and the First Lady are in fact very much in tune with Syrians, hence why they were voted back to the People’s Palace in overwhelming numbers by Syrians, why the SAA is supported just about entirely by Syrians and why Syrians view the Assads’ leadership as a trusted source of guidance.

For posterity’s sake, let us be fully lucid: The Saidnaya visit was not some kind of publicity stunt or media operation but the latest stop in the routine nationwide rounds made by the Assads. The Syrian President has recently been in Kafar Souseh to celebrate Mawlid al-Nabawi and was also on the front lines of Aleppo to mark the liberation of the city. Asma, for her part, has been seemingly even busier, visiting wounded soldiers, the disabled, orphans, shellshocked students and the families of martyrs in and around Damascus, Latakia, Hama and Tartous.

Can the same be said about the Takfiri terrorist darlings of Washington, the EU, the GCC and ‘Israel’? No. Because celebrating Mawlid al-Nabawi and/or Christmas in the ever-shrinking “rebel”-held areas is grounds for lashes and beheadings. Zio-NATO’s proxies continue tormenting Syrians from all ethno-sectarian backgrounds and from every age bracket. And the only “martyrs” that these Wahhabi mercenaries have any interest in receiving are the ones who bring disgrace and dishonor to the very concept of martyrdom, i.e. those who are brainwashed as well as manipulated, among them children, into unleashing suicide operations on Syrian civilians.

Indeed, Christmas Day highlights the genuineness of the Assads along with the stark contrast between their commitment to upholding and safeguarding Syria’s pluralism vs. the hateful, destructive barbarity of the Takiri scourge. Imagine for a moment what life would be like for the people of Saidnaya, or Maaloula, or Halab, or Armenian Kessab in Latakia, or Wadi al-Nasara (Valley of Christians) in Homs if the Assads were no more and all that remained was the Christmas-hating Wahhabi fanatics bankrolled, armed, trained and politically supported by the US-‘Israeli’ Empire.

Let that sink in and try not to scream from the horror. So if it comes down to the democratically elected Resistance Axis leader and his brilliant, compassionate, composed-but-fierce and elegant missus, or the head-chopping maniacs that Zio-Imperialist powers keep referring to as “revolutionaries”, check the scenario: I’ll take the “dictator and his wife” over the “democratic freedom fighters” each and every day of the week plus twice on a beautiful Christmas Sunday in Damascus.

And you know what? Syrians–from liberated Aleppo to protected Saidnaya–would, and do, agree. Emphatically. #LongLiveSyria #LongLiveTheAssads #MerryMouqawamistChristmas

 

http://mouqawamahmusic.net/author/admin/

 

Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

alibrahim5656@hotmail.com

President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian First Family joined the sons and daughters of the martyrs for Christmas celebration in Saidnaya Convent.


manar-022325200148268957810

manar-06313550014826896992

manar-08850530014826896251

 

Related Articles

President al-Assad with the First Lady Asma at the Orphanage and Monastery in Saidnaya

Bethlehem Christmas

DEC. 24, 2016 9:26 P.M

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinians marked the occasion of Christmas Eve on Saturday morning in the southern occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem, which is traditionally held as the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

 A parade lead by the Latin Patriarch of Palestine, Jordan, and the Holy Land Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who is also the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, are set to arrive in Bethlehem in the afternoon and will be officially received at the Nativity Church in Bethlehem’s Manger Square.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah are also expected to arrive in Bethlehem later Saturday to partake in Midnight Mass.
Abbas released a statement Friday marking the occasion of Christmas, saying that “Despite the Israeli occupation, our presence in our homeland and the preservation of our cultural and national heritage are the most important form of resistance in the face of the darkness of a foreign colonialist occupying power.”
He described Christmas as “a Palestinian call for hope and justice,” which is “a unique message that we have been carrying generation after generation, as a precious treasure that began in Palestine and is celebrated all over the world.”
“We are about to mark 50 years of Israeli occupation, the longest military occupation in modern history,” he wrote in his statement, highlighting that despite Bethlehem’s religious and historical significance, the town “has not been spared the brutality exercised by decades of humiliation, colonization and Apartheid.”
“Jesus’ place of birth is a city now surrounded by 18 illegal Israeli settlements and divided by the illegal Annexation Wall, including the latest illegal Israeli steps to construct the Wall at the Cremisan Valley.”
“Israeli occupation policies have cut Bethlehem’s connection with Jerusalem, both an integral part of the occupied State of Palestine, for the first time in 2000 years of Christianity.”
He affirmed that the state of Palestine would continue to preserve its national heritage as well as “the historic status quo of all religious sites, including the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound” in occupied East Jerusalem.
He lauded the commitment of Palestinian Muslims and Christians to coexist peacefully throughout the centuries, and condemned “failed attempts” to divide them that he said “originate from those with a racist and colonialist mindset,” referring specifically to a recent law proposed by Israel to mute the Muslim call to prayer.
Abbas addressed all Palestinians in his message, “particularly our refugees in Syria and Lebanon, including al-Dbayeh and Mar Elia refugee camps, as well as those who will celebrate Christmas in Gaza and in our occupied capital Jerusalem.”“I salute our prisoners,” he added.
“The message of hope, the message of justice and peace brought by Jesus from a humble Grotto in Bethlehem shall prevail over the darkness of exile, colonization, unlawful imprisonment, and Apartheid.”

Christmas in Aleppo

israeli rabbis say Christmas trees not ‘kosher,’ raising questions of synagogue and state

No Xmas lights for state that is ‘light unto nations’

Source

By Andrew Tobin, JTA
December 21, 2016

‘Tis the season, but some Israeli rabbis are not feeling the Christmas spirit.

Rabbinic officials in Jerusalem and northern Israel recently issued separate statements saying that displays of Christmas trees are against Jewish law. Other Israelis rushed to the defence of the ornamented evergreens.

The difference of opinion over Christmas highlighted disagreement about the role of religion in the Jewish state.

In a letter that emerged Tuesday, the Jerusalem Rabbinate urged hotels in the city not to put up Christmas trees this year.

“As the secular year ends, we want to remind you that erecting a Christmas tree in a hotel contravenes halacha and that therefore it is clear that no one should erect [a tree] in a hotel,” Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar wrote to hotel managers.

The letter also said it was “appropriate to avoid hosting” New Year’s parties, reminding hotel managers that the New Year is properly observed at the beginning of the Jewish calendar.

A day earlier, the rabbi of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, a prestigious public science and engineering university in Haifa, forbade students from entering the student union on campus because of the presence of a Christmas tree in the building.

“The Christmas tree is a religious symbol — not Christian, but even more problematic — pagan,” Rabbi Elad Dokow wrote in a Q&A on the religious Srugim website. “Halacha clearly states that whenever it is possible to circumvent and not pass through a place where there is any kind of idolatry, this must be done. So one should not enter the student union if it’s not necessary to do so.

“This is not about freedom of worship. It’s about the public space of the campus,” he added. “This is the world’s only Jewish state. And it has a role to be a ‘light unto the nations’ and not to uncritically embrace every idea.”

Dokow compared the Christmas tree’s display to letting students declare that Jerusalem does not belong to the Jewish people or allowing a Spanish food festival that “prominently featured pork.”

Israel’s Basic Laws, which serve as a provisional constitution, enshrine its status as a “Jewish and democratic state.” But the proper balance of these two parts of Israel’s identity is an open question.

The Supreme Court in Israel has consistently protected the right to freedom of religion, which it finds in a constitutional law protecting “human dignity and liberty.” How far that right extends into the public arena is unclear.

A private hotel, though it serves the public, has clearer discretion regarding religious expression than a public university, said Shuki Friedman, a religion and state researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute think tank.

“No one can oblige a hotel to put up or take down a Christmas tree,” he said. “On the other hand, when we talk about a university, it’s considered a public space. Whether a university puts up a Christmas tree or refuses to put up a Christmas tree, it could be legally challenged.”

Friedman said it also depends on who is using the space. In Nazareth, an Arab-Israeli city in northern Israel with a large Christian population, a public Christmas tree would clearly serve the local population, he said. Conversely, Friedman added, the Western Wall is “one place there will not be a Christmas tree.”

About 2 percent of Israel’s population is Christian. Most Christians in Israel are Arabs, who comprise some 20 percent of Israel’s more than 8 million residents.

The Chief Rabbinate — the highest Jewish authority in Israel and overseer of the Jerusalem Rabbinate — last year offered some protection to displayers of Christmas trees. Under threat of a petition to the Supreme Court, the Chief Rabbinate issued guidelines stating that its kashrut inspectors could not revoke the kosher certifications of hotels over the trees or Shabbat violations.

The Technion responded to its Christmas tree controversy with a statement saying that Rabbi Dokow’s words “expressed his personal opinion and not that of the Technion.”

“Even before the Technion opened its gates about 100 years ago, its founders stated that the institution they hoped to build would be open to all, irrespective of religion, ethnicity and gender,” the statement said, noting that religious and secular Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze and Circassians from around Israel and the world study “side by side” there and students of “all religions and communities” help manage the student union.

“The union, it goes without saying, celebrates all the Jewish festivals and, concurrently, it allows students from other religions to express themselves with respect and tolerance. The different festivals are celebrated in a range of ways, including, in this case, a Christmas tree beside the Hanukkah menorah.”

Knesset member Yousef Jabareen of the Joint List of Arab political parties accused Dokow of incitement. In a letter [sent on] Monday to the Technion’s president, Peretz Lavie, Jabareen said,

There’s no need to elaborate on the gravity of these statements, and the serious offence to the Technion’s Arab students and to Israeli Arabs in general. These statements contain clear incitement to racism, in violation of the law, and therefore also constitute a serious criminal offence.
Haaretz

According to Haaretz, Technion student Peter Hana said “an absolute majority of students, as well as management and the dean,” supported the Christmas tree, and “only a handful of students and the rabbi himself chose to come out against it.”


Jerusalem rabbis instruct hotels to drop Christmas trees

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate says the city’s directive, which also takes aim at New Year’s parties, is a ‘private initiative’

By Times of Israel staff
December 20, 2016

The Jerusalem rabbinate has called on hotels in the city not to erect Christmas trees or host New Year’s Eve parties, according to a letter that emerged Tuesday.

The letter, addressed to hotel managers and signed by the two chief rabbis of Jerusalem, stated:

As the secular year ends we want to remind you that erecting a Christmas tree in a hotel contravenes halacha [Jewish law] and that therefore it is clear that one should not erect [a tree] in a hotel.

It is also appropriate to avoid hosting parties to mark the end of the secular year. We wish to remind you that our new year occurs on the first of [the Hebrew month of] Tishrei, in an atmosphere of holiness, with the happiness of mitzva.

Although the letter does not threaten sanctions, it could be interpreted as a veiled threat, in contravention of guidelines issued by the Chief Rabbinate in 2015 asserting that kashrut inspectors could not revoke the kosher certification from hotels and other establishments over photography, music or movie screenings on Shabbat, or if a Christmas tree was displayed during the holiday season.


One of the city’s many Santa Clauses passes the Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90

A spokesperson for Israel’s Chief Rabbinate said that the letter was not connected to the kashrut licensing authority. “This was a private initiative from the Jerusalem rabbinate. The purpose was to request that [hotels] remove Christmas decorations out of consideration for the feelings of those members of the public who observe mitzvot,” he told the Kipa website.

The Israel Hotels Association said it was concerned the directive could prove detrimental to Christian tourism.

Last year’s guidelines were issued following a petition by the Israeli group Hiddush*, which threatened to appeal to the Supreme Court if the existing regulations weren’t changed.

Hiddush said the Chief Rabbinate had been in violation of the Kosher Fraud Law established in 2013, which states that “the kashrut inspector should only consider standards of kashrut alone in certifying an establishment as kosher.”

According to a Supreme Court ruling, basing an establishment’s kosher certification on considerations such as Sabbath observance or modesty was in contravention of the law.

Uri Regev, CEO of Hiddush, said on Monday, “We have heard of [local] rabbinates that do not consider themselves bound by the law or the ruling of the Supreme court. We understand the sensitive situation that hotels find themselves in, and offer our assistance in enforcing the law against renegade rabbinates, which are publicly funded by the state but disregard its laws.”

Separately, the rabbi of the Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa forbade students to enter the student union building due to a Christmas tree placed there.

Rabbi Elad Dokow, writing on the Srugim website, described the tree as an attack on Jewish identity. “It is not a Christian religious symbol but, even worse, a pagan one,” he wrote. Therefore he said, students may not enter the building to purchase food or for any other reason.

He described the tree as “anti-Jewish,” not simply as anti-religious.

MK Youssef Jabareen of the Joint (Arab) List wrote to the head of the Technion calling the rabbi’s words were incitement to racism, Haaretz reported, and saying that such an attitude harms relations on campus between Jews and Arabs. He called on the Technion to dismiss the rabbi.

%d bloggers like this: