Dutch city reverses promise to change 'Nazareth, Palestine' sign

Reversing a 2014 promise, Dutch city maintains street signs identifying Israeli cities as located in Palestine.

Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA ,

Flag of the Netherlands
Flag of the Netherlands

A Dutch city that in 2014 agreed to change street signs identifying Israeli cities as Palestinian postponed the correction indefinitely.

A spokesperson of the municipality of Eindhoven in the eastern Netherlands on Friday wrote on Twitter that the signs that identify the cities as being located in Palestine would be changed — “but in the framework of regular replacement, which is now not on the table.”

The city agreed to change the signs in 2014 following an outcry by Dutch Jews and Israel advocates, including Likoed Nederland, which complained the designation was politicized and intended to “wipe Israel off the map.” The cities referred to on the street signs include Jerusalem, Nazareth and Tiberias.

On Friday, the municipal spokesperson said the reference to Palestine was to “biblical Palestine.” The spokesperson was replying to renewed criticism on Twitter by Esther Voet, editor-in-chief of the NIW Dutch-Jewish weekly, and others.

The New Testament does not mention 'Palestine'. The Hebrew Bible, which many Dutch Christians view as equal in its significance to the New Testament, does not mention 'Palestine' either. It does speak of Pleshet — lands inhabited by the Philistines, the Hebrew moniker meaning 'invaders', which was given to an extinct non-Semitic coastal people that lived in the west of the Land of Israel in the 12th century B.C.E.