Norwegian mayor asks church to take down Star of David decoration

Head of Strand in southern Norway says symbol, used as Christmas holiday ornament, is too associated with Jews, Israel

Cnaan Liphshiz is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

An illustrative image of a Star of David. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images via JTA)
Illustrative: A Star of David on the synagogue of the Jewish community in Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany (Jan Woitas / dpa / AFP) / Germany OUT)

JTA — A Norwegian mayor asked a church to replace its traditional Star of David Christmas decoration due to complaints that it’s too associated with Israel and Jews.

Strand mayor Irene Heng Lauvsnes asked the Klippen Pentecostal church, which lights a large Star of David neon decoration in a municipal park where it holds a Christmas celebration, to replace the symbol with a “traditional Christmas star,” the Strandbuen newspaper reported Wednesday.

The park in southern Norway must remain “neutral,” especially in light of the controversy, Lauvsnes told the Aftenbladet news outlet.

Unnamed critics said the church “designed [the decoration] as a Star of David, a national symbol both for the Jews and for the State of Israel” and “therefore does not fit in the public space” in Strand.

The church is considering the request as it does “not want to provoke in any way,” its representative told Strandbuen.

The use of the Star of David in Christmas decorations is common throughout northern Europe.

The municipality’s intervention provoked anger, including by the editor in chief of the Dagen daily, Vebjorn Selbekk.

“Municipal Christmas bureaucrats obviously do not want a Jewish or Israeli mark on their Christmas. Then we almost have to remind them of some key facts about why we celebrate Christmas at all,” Selbekk wrote in a column titled “merry Jew-free Christmas,” adding the the holiday “is marked by the fact that a Jewish boy was born to a Jewish mother in a Jewish stable in a Jewish city in a Jewish country.”

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