Photo: Shamir Alvaz
Nazareth Illit
Photo: Shamir Alvaz

Nazareth Illit seeking to change its name

Mayor Ronen Plot says residents are tired of the 62-year-long confusion between the biggest Jewish city in Galilee and the neighboring Arab town of Nazareth—where, according to Christian belief, Jesus Christ had lived.

Nazareth Illit Mayor Ronen Plot declared Sunday that he intends to rename the city, which is located next to the biblical town of Nazareth, to avoid the confusion among its visitors.



"The time has come for Nazareth Illit to receive it own independent identity, and put an end to the chronic confusion between us and the neighboring Nazareth," stressed Plot, who won last week’s municipal election since he was the only candidate in the running.


"This coming Christmas will be the last time foreigners headed for the Nazareth municipality will end up at my office," he said smiling.


Nazareth Illit (Photo: Nazareth Illit Municipality spokesperson)
Nazareth Illit (Photo: Nazareth Illit Municipality spokesperson)


According to Christian belief, the family of Jesus Christ hails from the city of Nazareth—where his mother received the news of her pregnancy, and where Jesus himself spent most of his life. 


The Nazareth Illit municipality said it has been suffering from the name confusion since 1956, when Israel's first prime minister David Ben-Gurion decided to call the newly established settlement Kiryat Nazareth—which was later changed to Nazareth Illit (Upper Nazareth).


The residents make it clear that these are two completely separate cities, despite the geographical proximity and a similar name.


Nazareth (Photo: Assaf Rozen)
Nazareth (Photo: Assaf Rozen)


"Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel and Nazareth Illit is the largest Jewish city in the Galilee … These are separate authorities with a completely different identity and character," emphasized Plot, adding that even though it has been 62 years since the city was established, “Israeli citizens still haven’t grasped there is a difference,” making the potential name change inevitable.


“We need to fix this mistake once and for all,” the mayor added.


The municipality added in a statement that various MKs, ministers and even the prime minister himself had erred in the past and referred to the city as Nazareth.


"Ben-Gurion himself wrote Nazareth in some of his documents when referring to Nazareth Illit,” said the municipality’s statement.


Nazareth Illit Mayor Ronen Plot
Nazareth Illit Mayor Ronen Plot


Plot intends to submit an official proposal to change the city’s name during the first city council meeting.





פרסום ראשון: 11.05.18, 14:36
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