Nazareth – the hometown of Jesus – has cancelled Christmas.
All Christmas festivities have been halted because of Donald Trump’s controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
The decision has proved hugely unpopular across many parts of the world, and especially in the Middle East among Muslims.
Nazareth is the largest Arab city in modern-day Israel. Some 70 per cent of the population is Muslim and around 30 per cent are Christians, reflecting the importance of Nazareth to followers of that faith.
The New Testament declares Nazareth as the hometown of Jesus.
‘We have decided to cancel the traditional Christmas singing and dancing because we are in a time of dispute, because of what Trump has said about Jerusalem,’ Nazareth city spokesman Salem Sharara said.
He added: ‘Our identity and faith aren’t up for debate.’
‘The decision [by Trump] has taken away the joy of the holiday, and we will thus cancel the festivities this year.’
However, the decision by the city’s mayor could backfire on Nazareth as it usually plays host to many tourists at this time of year.
Among the many traditions in the city is a Christmas Eve parade.
Nazareth is thought to be the place where Jesus grew up, and he is commonly referred to as Jesus of Nazareth in many texts.
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Earlier this month, Trump made his controversial decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, overturning years of American policy.
The decision provoked widespread anger in Arab countries – as well as being opposed by many in the West.
A ‘day of rage’ following the decision saw clashes between protesters and security forces in the occupied West Bank and Gaza and one Palestinian was killed.
In response, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has declared East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.
A visit to Jerusalem by US vice-president Mike Pence has been delayed because of the latest crisis.