Parents and residents are fuming after a Jerusalem community center announced that its annual Hanukkah party will include a celebration for Mohammed and Santa Claus.
Jerusalem's French Hill community center traditionally holds a Hanukkah party for the community. However, residents were shocked to discover that this year's party will include a celebration of Mohammed's birthday and will feature a man dressed as Santa Claus distributing presents to children.
Jerusalem City Council member Avraham Bezalel of the haredi Shas party fired off an angry missive to other members on the council. "Hanukkah is a holiday whose entire essence is the victory of the uniqueness of the Jewish people against the attempts of other nations [and their religions] to harm it, its Torah, and its culture," wrote Bezalel.
"Unfortunately, we have heard that the community center plans to violate this holiday and sanctify figures hailing from other religions," he continued. "I will do everything possible to scuttle this event."
Other Jerusalem City Council members agreed. "Hanukkah symbolizes the victory of the Jews, there is no place to mix the events with the events of other peoples ... We must preserve the holiness of Hanukkah," wrote Pini Ezra.
An uproar erupted last year after 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 put up the tree.
Rabbi Dukov called the presence of the tree "anti-Jewish" and said that it was worse than other Christian symbols, such as crosses. “It is not a Christian religious symbol but, even worse, a pagan one.”