Haredim threaten to boycott Mamilla Mall - Israel Business, Ynetnews

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Holiday of Lights?

Mamilla Boulevard (archives) Photo: Shlomi Cohen
Mamilla Boulevard (archives) Photo: Shlomi Cohen

Haredim threaten to boycott Mamilla Mall

Christmas-style lights placed along shopping boulevard anger Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox sector. Mall's CEO apologizes, says complex was lit up in honor of Hanukkah

Ari Galahar
Published: 12.24.10, 09:49 / Israel Business

The ultra-Orthodox community is threatening to boycott Jerusalem's luxurious Mamilla shopping complex due to electric ornaments resembling Christmas lights, which have been placed along the boulevard.


Wall posters calling on the public to boycott the mall's stores began appearing in haredi neighborhoods several days after the ornaments were placed in the shopping complex.


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The ads – titled "Is Jerusalem becoming Christian?" – were signed by the Rabbis' Committee for the Sanctity of Jerusalem. They stated that "if this idol worship is not removed immediately, we will declare a consumer boycott against the mall and the Mamilla Hotel, owned by businessman Alfred Akirov."


The haredim are troubled by the fact that the Mamilla Boulevard is one of the most pleasant ways to reach the Western Wall, prompting tens of thousands of Jews to cross the mall on their way to the holy site, "forcibly exposing them to real paganism".


The shopping complex's management clarified that it had nothing against the haredi or religious public and was willing to cover the light bulbs with a large cloth if they violated Jewish Law in any way.


"Every year, from before Hanukkah through February, we light up the boulevard with these lamps in order to begin the holiday of Hanukkah with a lot of light, and then continue with the lights throughout the winter," explained the Mamilla Mall CEO.


"Because I don't wish to hurt anyone, I agreed to first of all remove the green plastic, which was aimed at covering the electricity system's cables, and because they interpreted it in a completely different way I decided to remove it. I apologize if I have caused anyone injustice."


According to the CEO, Christmas trees were never placed in the mall and will never be seen there.



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