They’re not celebrating Christmas this year in the town Christians believe to be the childhood hometown of Jesus.
Ali Salam, the mayor of Nazareth who is a Muslim, ordered that all celebrations of the Christian holiday be called off, the city council announced Thursday, according to the Times of Israel.
“Our identity and faith aren’t up for debate,” Salam told the Times. “The decision (by U.S. President Donald Trump about Jerusalem) has taken away the joy of the holiday, and we will thus cancel festivities this year.”
Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Dec. 6, shattering decades of U.S. neutrality on the subject as it pertains to the centuries-long struggle between Israelites and Palestinians. Some U.S. allies rejected that move as “very dangerous” and “catastrophic” for Middle Eastern relations.
In fact, clashes broke out again Friday, leading to the death of two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip amid protests of Trump’s recognition, the Associated Press reported.
Nazareth is the capital of Israel’s Northern District, about 100 miles north of Gaza, and is known as “the Arab capital of Israel.” It is also considered “the cradle of Christianity,”underscoring the fraught level of tension in not only the city, but the region.
Salam also called Trump “wretched,” and said he stabbed Palestinians in the back with the latest move, according to the Jerusalem Post, which also reported that non-official celebrations in the city may still proceed this year.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Nazareth was where Jesus grew up, not his birthplace.