Nazareth in 2009

According to most accounts Nazareth was a small Jewish settlement in Jesus’s time. It was apparently held in some contempt, an idea reinforced by the uncomplimentary labelling of Jesus as “Jesus of Nazareth” and of early Christians as “Nazarenes.” Nazareth was designated by the Christian testament as the hometown of Joseph and Mary, the place where Mary accepted the call of an angel (the annunciation) to become the mother of Jesus, the town to which Mary and Joseph returned after the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and the family’s flight into Egypt, and finally the place where Jesus grew up.

My first photo is of the restaurant Mary and I confronted as soon as we stepped off our bus and the second of a Nazareth market. The third is of a highly unwelcoming sign asserting the Muslim faith as one true one.

Nazareth is a now a town of Israeli citizens consisting of Muslims and Christians, some of the latter Palestinian Christians.  The Christian-Muslin tensions are obvious, and Nazareth, especially Lower Nazareth, is by no means thriving. Anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian sentiments run high. The Sea of Galilee is not far away.Israel 426Israel 431Israel 429