Jewish Journal

Christmas in the Knesset?  No Prayer on El -Al Political Correctness and Multiculturalism hit Israel

by LiAmi Lawrence

December 29, 2013 | 7:26 pm

This past week Arab Christian Knesset Member Hanna Sweid (Hadash) requested that a Christmas tree be put up in the Knesset to show religious pluralism in the Jewish State.  The request by Sweid of the Communist Hadash party, was rejected by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein who  told Sweid he is free to put a tree in his office but not in the Knesset.

Sweid, told the Jerusalem Post "that a Christmas tree could have been an opportunity to emphasize the Knesset's special status  not only as an official institution but also a pluralist one where Arab Knesset Members are elected by the public, including Christians and are representatives of all parts of the population".

Should Israel with an 80% Jewish population become more multicultural and less Jewish?  Last week, after a series of complaints by passengers including Christian tourists to Israel,  El Al Airlines announced that they will suspend playing the "Tiflat Haderech (The Traveler's Prayer) over the airlines sound system before take-off.  The passengers were offended that it was a Jewish religious prayer on an airline with a big Star of David on it's tail.

Can we expect Israel's 20% Arab minority to stand and sing the words to "Hatikvah" about the Jewish soul returning after 2,000 years yearning for Zion?  What about the Israeli flag with the Jewish Star smack in the middle?  Is this too offensive?

How Jewish is Israel? In the past Christmas was just another day in Tel Aviv with no one noticing. However, with the influx of 1.2 million Russian immigrants including 300,000 non Jews, Christmas trees have sprung up everywhere.

As Israel becomes a more international cosmopolitan destination for tourists coming to the Holy Land each year (more than 3 million this year) how Jewish are we suppose to be?  Should the full  so called "Jewish zoo"  be on display for the tourists to watch us in our habitat -lol  or should we tone it down to be like everyone else in the world and more inclusive and not be a stand alone people?  Should we care what the "goyim" think?  Political correctness  may be our downfall.

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LiAmi is the former Director of Media for the Israeli Consulate and a public relations maven. A former actor & personal trainer to the rich and famous, he is known in the Los...

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