Nazareth, the biblical city considered the childhood home of Jesus, “is hoping for a Christmas miracle,” according to USA Today, in the form of more tourists.
Nazareth recently stuffed its markets and shops with Santa hats and stockings, promoting the upcoming Christmas holiday, when Christians around the world celebrate Jesus’ birth.
The problem in the town's business plan surfaced this month: President Donald Trump’s declaration to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city has decreased people’s interest in Nazareth.
The city’s Christian minority often faces economic hardships, but Trump’s announcement sparked violent protests throughout the region. Muslims in the area canceled a number of festivities, too, including a Christmas tree lighting, USA Today reported.
Badia Basha, 66, a Christian resident who sells Christmas trinkets outside Mary’s Well — “where Christians believe the Angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to the son of God,” according to USA Today — said the protests have disrupted the spirit of Christmas.
“Christmas is supposed to bring many performances and singers and visitors that include Christians and also Muslims and Jews to this city, but today there is almost nothing. It is not as it really should be,” Basha said.
Christians hold out hope more people will visit the region to celebrate the holiday.
Trump’s move to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel sparked outrage on the international front, too. The United Nations denounced the U.S.’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, ignoring Trump’s threats that the U.S. will no longer aid countries that vote against it, The New York Times reported.
The U.N. voted 128-9 for a resolution that calls for the U.S. to take back its declaration on the holy city, according to the Times. Thirty-five countries abstained and 21 others weren’t there for the vote.1 comment on this story
Typical U.S. allies like Britain, France, Germany and Japan supported the resolution.
In response to the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley issued a warning to countries who denounced the U.S.’ decision, according to NPR.
“This vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the U.N. and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the U.N. And this vote will be remembered,” she said.
Haley later invited the 65 countries who did not vote against the U.S.’ decision to a reception as a sign of gratitude, according to Fox News.