Really? At the birthplace of Jesus himself?
In the birthplace of Jesus Christ, Bethlehem officials are dismantling Christmas decorations as a gesture of solidarity with Palestinians amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza.
According to Fox, the city, situated in the West Bank, announced through social media and official statements that decorations from previous years are being removed to honor the martyrs and show support for the people in Gaza.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the Bethlehem Municipality crews conveyed the decision to dismantle the Christmas decorations, stating that it is not appropriate to engage in festivities while there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and ongoing attacks in the West Bank. A spokesperson for the city mentioned the somber mood among the people, expressing sadness, anger, and upset feelings due to the ongoing conflict.
Despite Bethlehem’s significance to Christians and its popularity as a religious tourism destination during the Advent season, the city is predominantly Muslim. The Christian population in Bethlehem has witnessed a decline since the mid-20th century, dropping from over 80% in 1950 to around 10% in a Muslim-dominated region today.
Various factors, including persecution, religious harassment, and low birth rates among Christian communities, have contributed to the shrinking Christian demographic in the West Bank. While Bethlehem remains a symbolically important city for Christians, the overall Christian population has decreased, and many have chosen to leave the area. In Israel, Christians constitute just under 2% of the population, totaling around 185,000 people, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.