Jerusalem Jews Concerned by Christian Symbols in Old City

Residents of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem troubled by the presence of Christian symbols as part of the Festival of Light.


The Jerusalem Festival of Light is taking place this week in the heart of the OId City of Jerusalem. The festival features innovative technology, lighting, art, music and shows.

The festival was initiated by the Jerusalem Development Authority and Ariel Municipal Company and features artists from Israel and abroad who use light in order to create statues, installations, performances and artwork.

Local Jewish residents, however, have expressed concerns over the increased presence of Christian symbols in the Jewish Quarter as part of the festival.

Ephraim Holtzberg, a resident of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem, told Arutz Sheva on Wednesday that visitors who come for the festival, see at the entrance to Jaffa Gate dozens of lit crosses and the huge dome of a church.

“It’s unbelievable; you’d think you have reached the Vatican,” said Holtzberg. “A huge structure of a Christian church and, to the right of it, dozens of huge crosses in colored lights. Is this Jerusalem?”

He said that rabbis in the city have demanded that Mayor Nir Barkat either remove the crosses or resign.

“I called Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl, formerly the rabbi of the Jewish Quarter, and he told me that the mayor must resign,” said Holtzberg. “If he cannot respect the Jewish religion he should resign. I cannot be that anybody who wants to go to the Western Wall will have to pass between the crosses.”

He also said that, in addition to the crosses, naked sculptures have been placed in the area and that these embarrass even the Christians.

“Women who live in Neot David cannot leave their house because of the nude statues,” said Holtzberg. “It does not respect even the churches. Let them put naked statues on the beach in Tel Aviv, not in Jerusalem.”

The Ariel Municipal Company told Arutz Sheva, in response to Holzeberg’s claims, that “the allegations are untrue and there is no connection between crosses and an exhibit of flowers that has been placed in the Tower of David. The exhibit includes beautiful artistic flowers and it requires great imagination to see a cross among them.”

As for the exhibit at the Jaffa Gate, said Ariel, “It is a large and impressive dome which was exhibited in other places all around the world. There is no connection between the dome and Christianity, and any attempt to associate it with any religion is absurd.”


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By Arutz Sheva Staff

One comment

  1. Stormy says:

    I am a protestant Christian in America. I do agree that the Christians in Jerusalem should definitely NOT go overboard with the decorations, to the point that it makes the Jewish people completely uncomfortable. There needs to be compromise and respect. Nude statues is definitely going overboard and should not be placed there. As long as the Jewish people are not expecting ALL decorations to be taken down, then I don’t think that it is too much to ask to tone it down. We as Christians see the cross as one symbol of our religion, but we should respect the Jews right to feel comfortable to walk to the western wall and pray. The crosses should be placed somewhere, less offensive until the day of festivities. I never want to see Christians and Jewish people ever become enemies. I do not support Israel to convert Jews, but because God through the Bible tells us to support the Jewish people. The Bible tells us that God will draw the Jewish people back to Israel and no one should stand in the way of God’s will. In fact Christians should help any way that we can, setting aside our own selfish claims on Israel. Yes Israel is important to us, but above all we must be sure to not stand in the way of God’s will. Unfortunately the reason why most Muslims are against Israel and the Jewish people, is because they refuse to set aside selfishness. Most Muslims want to claim Israel for themselves and this is a complete disregard to God’s will.

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