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Israel's parliament bans Christmas tree display

Monday - 12/23/2013, 10:10am  ET

JERUSALEM (AP) -- The office of the speaker of Israel's parliament says he has rejected a Christian lawmaker's request to publically display a Christmas tree in the building.

Eran Sidis, a spokesman for Yuli Edelstein, said Monday that the speaker rejected yesterday's request, but said the parliamentarian could display a Christmas tree in his office and his party's conference room.

Sidis denied the rejection was connected to Israel's Jewish character. He said displaying the tree until Orthodox Christmas January 7 would be too long.

Hanna Swaid, a Christian opposition lawmaker from Israel's Arab minority, said a Christmas tree would promote multiculturalism and freedom of religion.

There have been previous bans on public Christmas tree displays. The mayor of a Jewish town bordering Nazareth has previously refused them, though some Christians live there.


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