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Change of Mind?

Christmas tree alongside Hanukkah lamp in Ramat Aviv
Christmas tree alongside Hanukkah lamp in Ramat Aviv 
 
 

ZARA changes Christmas display following complaints

Spanish fashion chain adds Hanukkah candlesticks to store windows in Israel, apparently in response to shoppers' anger over Christian symbols in Jewish country

Meirav Crystal
Published: 12.14.09, 22:31 / Israel Business

The ZARA fashion chain has reduced the number of Christmas trees in its display windows in Israel and added Hanukkah candlesticks, apparently in response to shoppers' complaints that the Spanish company was marking the Christian holiday while ignoring the Jewish holiday being celebrated these days.

 

Ynet has learned that Hanukkah lamps have begun appearing in the fashion chain's store at the Ramat Aviv Mall in Tel Aviv and that the number of Christmas trees has been reduced.

 

Some of the Christian symbols were also removed at Haifa's Grand Canyon shopping center, and a sign reading 'Christmas' has disappeared. A source in the store promised that Hanukkah candlesticks would be added later on.


 

Tree gone, candlestick on its way. ZARA store at Haifa's Grand Canyon mall (Photos: Avishag Shear Yeshuv)

 

Two shoppers told Ynet last week that they were hurt by ZARA's to mark the Christian holiday and ignore the Jewish one. The stores had placed Christmas trees in four of its main stores across the country, which no Hanukkah symbol to be seen anywhere.

 

Gesture of reconciliation?

"The display window at ZARA's Kiryon store in Haifa has been decorated with Christmas trees," one of the buyers wrote in a letter to Ynet. "There was not even one Hanukkah candlestick there. It seems like a failure to me. We are in Israel after all, and this is first of all a Jewish country. ZARA is simply impudent."

 

Another shopper reported seeing Christmas trees in Haifa's Grand Canyon mall. "I have no problem with Christmas or with these trees," she said. "They're actually very pretty. But for some reason, there is no sign of Hanukkah there – no dreidels, no Hanukkah candlesticks. Instead, there are children dressed in red clothes and a number of green Christmas trees, a tree or branch in each window. This isn't Europe or America; we are still a Jewish country."

 

Following the complaints, Ynet called the chain's customer service. A representative told us that the stores in Israel were instructed to follow the rules of the chain's headquarters in Spain.

 

"We, as ZARA franchisers, are obligated to act in accordance with the global ZARA rules," the representative explained. "We have Christian, Jewish and Muslim customers and we are a melting pot for all clients. Therefore, the Israeli branches don't deviate from the international concept and don't look any different form the branches in Spain."

 

It appears that the company has now decided to give up on some of its international glamour in favor of its local residents, in a bid to reconcile with its many customers in Israel.

 

ZARA declined comment on this report.

 

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