Two Christmas trees in the Arab city of Sakhnin in the north of Israel were burned by arsonists on Saturday morning, December 26, the Communist newspaper Al-Ittihad reported. The Arab-Christian residents of the northern city woke up on the day after Christmas to discover, to their dismay, that the two large trees that had been placed in public areas near the churches had been set on fire during the night. One tree was set alight outside the Catholic Church and the other in front of the Orthodox Church.
Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) visited the city and condemned the incident, calling it a “despicable act that attacks the Christmas spirit and the spirit of unity in Arab society” in Israel. “Our solidarity is stronger than anyone who tries to harm it. We will put new trees in place and make sure that the criminals are sentenced,” he added. The Sakhnin municipality replaced the destroyed trees on Saturday evening.
Hadash mayor of the city, Dr. Safuat Abu-Riya told Al-Ittihad that the attack was an attempt to cause divisions between the city’s Christian and Muslim residents. According to a joint-communique issued by Hadash and the Communist Party branches in Sakhnin, “Sinful and malicious people try every year to sow discord and division among the residents of the city. The attempt to burn the Christmas trees is a malicious act, and we condemn it.”