Rabbi Dov Lior, chairman of the Yesha Rabbis Council and a prominent right-wing leader has called on the public to act to "Judaize" the town of Nazareth Illit, which he claims has always been Jewish.
Rabbi Lior stayed in the northern town during the weekend as the guest of the local yeshiva, along with dozens of his students from the Nir hesder yeshiva in Kiryat Arba.
They attended prayers and classes in synagogues across town, had Shabbat evening meals with local families and held two central events that attracted hundreds of residents.
During his visit Lior called on the residents "to act determinedly for a Jewish Nazareth Illit," and explained: "In Nazareth, much like in Hebron, it takes a determined Jewish community to transform an area that has always been Jewish and that is currently inhabited by Arabs, into an area of emerging Jewish life and Jewish revival."
Dovi Shefler, head of the Nir hesder yeshiva, said that the students' presence in town had stirred much excitement among religious and secular residents alike.
"This visit is an example for how to strengthen the communities in the periphery. We hope to see Nazareth Illit developing in the near future, with a religious community that will boost spiritual life in town and fill it with Jewish content," he added.