Israeli mayor wants to make clear his town was not Jesus’s too

An Israeli city tired of being confused with Nazareth, the iconic city next door where Christians believe Jesus was raised, is hoping to change its name, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Just three kilometres and a 10-minute drive separate Nazareth Illit from its famous neighbour.

“Residents have had enough of people, including tourists, thinking that their city is part of Nazareth,” city spokeswoman Orna Buhbut told AFP.

The mayor of Nazareth Illit is behind the push for a name change.

“This coming Christmas will be the last time foreigners headed for the Nazareth municipality will end up at my office,” the Ynet news site quoted Mayor Ronen Plot as saying.


Nazareth Illit, which means Upper Nazareth in Hebrew, is a new city that was given its name in the 1950s not long after the creation of the state of Israel.

But while the two urban centres share all or part of their name, the similarities end there.

Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel, and its population of 75 000 is almost entirely Muslim or Christian.

It welcomes crowds of pilgrims each year to visit the site where Christians believe the Archangel Gabriel announced Jesus’ birth to Mary, and where they believe his childhood home was located.

Nearby Nazareth Illit, founded 62 years ago with a population of 51 000 — most of them Jewish of Russian origin —stands out mostly for its rapid development.

The city wants to emerge from the shadow of its famous neighbour, Buhbut said.

“The resemblance between the two names causes confusion,” she said.

Mayor Plot plans to present the proposal to the city council on November 21 and a committee would be formed to accept proposals for names, with residents taking part.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Agency
External source
Advertising

ANC wants pension funds to finance infrastructure build

The party released its plan for the reconstruction of the country’s post-coronavirus economy on Friday. This would involve changes to Regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act

Ebrahim Patel MIA as the South African National Accreditation System...

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel has failed to intervene at the South African National Accreditation System since being made aware of alleged board inteference last November

Nigeria’s anti-corruption boss arrested for corruption

Ibrahim Magu’s arrest by the secret police was a surprise — but also not surprising

Eskom refers employees suspected of contracts graft for criminal investigations

The struggling power utility has updated Parliament on investigations into contracts where more than R4-billion was lost in overpayments
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday