Issa Kassissieh wears a Santa Claus costume as he rides a camel
Issa Kassissieh wears a Santa Claus costume as he rides a camel
Photo: Reuters
Issa Kassissieh wears a Santa Claus costume as he rides a camel

Santa on a camel delivers Christmas trees in Jerusalem

Issa Kassissieh, aka the Jerusalem Santa, distributes both Christmas spirit and trees around the Holy City on a mission 'to bring joy and love and peace to the Holy Land'

Reuters |
Published: 12.19.19 , 17:31
Along the ancient walls of Jerusalem's Old City, a man dressed as Santa Claus tries to raise holiday cheer from atop a camel by offering free Christmas trees to residents.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter
  • The man behind the beard is Issa Kassissieh, a Palestinian Christian who has in recent years distributed both Christmas spirit and trees, provided by the municipality, in a city sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians alike.
    Issa Kassissieh wears a Santa Claus costume as he rides a camelIssa Kassissieh wears a Santa Claus costume as he rides a camel
    Issa Kassissieh wears a Santa Claus costume as he rides a camel
    (Photo: Reuters)
    His mission, he says, is "to bring joy and love and peace to the Holy Land".
    This year, as ever, those qualities are badly needed.
    The Jerusalem Santa walks atop Jerusalem's Old City wallsThe Jerusalem Santa walks atop Jerusalem's Old City walls
    The Jerusalem Santa walks atop Jerusalem's Old City walls
    (Photo: AFP)
    Five miles (8 km) down the road in the West Bank, on the other side of a towering Israeli concrete military barrier, is the center of the biblical story of Jesus's birth, the Palestinian town of Bethlehem.
    Jerusalem Santa holds a potted plantJerusalem Santa holds a potted plant
    Jerusalem Santa holds a potted plant
    (Photo: AFP)
    The town is enjoying its busiest tourist year in two decades, with foreign pilgrims coming in large numbers, taking advantage of a relative lull in Israeli-Palestinian tension.
    Eastern Orthodox nuns walk with potted plants in Jerusalem's Old CityEastern Orthodox nuns walk with potted plants in Jerusalem's Old City
    Eastern Orthodox nuns walk with potted plants in Jerusalem's Old City
    (Photo: AFP)
    But this Christmas, Israeli authorities have barred the 1,000 or so Christians living in the Palestinian Gaza Strip from visiting either Bethlehem or Jerusalem, citing security reasons.
    First published: 17:31 , 12.19.19
    Talkbacks for this article 0