Monk with Christmas tree
Monk with Christmas treeIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The rabbi of the Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa instructed students not to enter the student union building due to the presence of a Christmas tree.

Rabbi Dr. Elad Dukov made the statements on the Srugim Hebrew news website after Christian students at the Technion erected the tree.

Rabbi Dukov called the presence of the tree "anti-Jewish" and said that it was worse than Christian symbols such as crosses. “It is not a Christian religious symbol but, even worse, a pagan one.”

Rabbi Dukov instructed the students not to enter the building in which the tree stands to purchase food or for any other reason.

The placement of a Hanukkah menorah next to the tree does not make the presence of the tree any less offensive to Rabbi Dukov. "I do not want the Menorah placed next to something which is in complete contradiction with all the struggles of the Maccabees."

Many students from the Technion criticized the rabbi's remarks. "As tolerant people, we should respect everyone. Are we really boycotting a place just because a symbol of another religion was placed there?" one student asked, according to Channel 2. Other students called the rabbi's approach "narrow-minded" and "embarrassing."

Many religious students supported Rabbi Dukov, and explained that he was only doing his job as a halachist (interpreter of Jewish law) and that he represents the views of the religious students at the Technion.

MK Youssef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) wrote to the head of the Technion calling for the dismissal of Rabbi Dukov for "racism" and called for Atorney General Avichai Mandelblitt to open a criminal investigation into the rabbi's comments.