At Technion University in Israel, the university’s rabbi has forbidden students to enter the student union building due to the presence of the Christmas tree. Dr. Yousef Jabareen, M.K, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who was in Canada last October says this is one example of Israel’s religious intolerance. Read more…
After a visit to Ottawa in October examining how Canada treats its minorities, Dr. Yousef Jabareen, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and a member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament), wrote an op ed in the Toronto Star outlining for Canadians some of the ways in which the non-Jewish citizens of Israel suffer discrimination.
He did not mention religious discrimination. But a short note from him this week highlighted another example of the intolerance of the Jewish State toward its non-Jewish citizens. Last week the Rabbi of Technion University in Haifa, forbade Jewish students from entering a building with a Christmas tree, calling the tree a “pagan symbol, even worse than a Christian symbol”, according to Aarutz Sheva, a right wing Israeli news source.
Christmas Greetings from Jerusalem!!
I am writing to you asking Canadians to help defend freedom of expression and freedom of religion here in Israel at Christmas time.
Rabbi Dokob, the official rabbi of the Technion University in Haifa has objected to the erection of a Christmas tree on campus and called for students not to enter the compound and not to purchase food at its restaurants because the Christmas tree is an “anti-Jewish symbol”.
When asked whether his statement abridges the right of Freedom of Speech and Religion, Rabbi Dokob responded “this is the only Jewish state in the world” and added “the role of academic campus is to be a light for the gentiles and cannot support any unsupervised idea”.
Such statements severely prejudice Arab students at the Technion, and the entire Arab society in Israel.
I have appealed to the President of the Technion and demanded he immediately fire Rabbi Dokob and condemn his racist remarks.
I would like to invite Canadians who support freedom of religion, and particularly Canadian Christians, to defend the right to have a Christmas tree on the campus of Technion University in Haifa.
Dr. Yousef Jabareen, MK.
A statement from the Technion in response to complaints, noted that although Rabbi Dokow is an official of the university, his views were written on his personal Facebook page and do not reflect the inclusive views of the university.
“The Student Union of course recognizes all of the Jewish holidays, but at the same time acknowledges students of other religions, their right to express themselves out of respect, friendship and tolerance,” a university spokesperson said.
The incident at Technion is part of a broader trend in Israel.
The Jerusalem rabbinate has called on hotels in the city not to erect Christmas trees or host New Year’s Eve parties, according to a letter that emerged Tuesday in the Times of Israel. The letter was addressed to hotel managers and signed by the two chief rabbis of Jerusalem.
Perhaps encouraging Israel to embrace the same religious freedoms we enjoy in Canada, might be a good objective for our new Canadian ambassador.
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