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Santa Claus hits the beach for some Christmas volleyball

Tel Aviv celebrates holiday season with a jolly contest; in Jerusalem, city’s ‘official’ Santa heads to Dead Sea for some relaxation

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Four volleyball-playing Santa Clauses have a game on the Tel Aviv beach (Courtesy YoSee Gamzoo Letova/Tel Aviv Global & Tourism)
Four volleyball-playing Santa Clauses have a game on the Tel Aviv beach (Courtesy YoSee Gamzoo Letova/Tel Aviv Global & Tourism)

It appears that Santa Claus has made a Tel Aviv detour this year — for some fun and games.

The city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa marked the Christmas holiday Wednesday with four beach volleyball-playing Santa Clauses.

The two women and two men are players and coaches from Koach Tel Aviv, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing participation in beach volleyball across Israel.

Last year, Tel Aviv marked the start of Christmas with a Santa Claus arriving on a paddleboard.

Down at the Dead Sea, Jerusalem Santa Issanis Kassissieh spent a day relaxing at the lowest point on Earth, including a spot of desert meditation overlooking the region.

Kassissieh, a basketball player-turned-coach, is well-known in Israel as the only “official” Santa in Jerusalem — a graduate of the Michigan-based Charles W. Howard Santa School.

Kassissieh is a familiar figure in Jerusalem’s Old City during the Christmas season, where he welcomes visitors to Santa’s House, his home and a 700-year-old stone building at the crossroads of Saint Peter Street and Latin Patriarchate Road in the Christian Quarter. The house is decked out with red and white striped poles for the holiday season and signs pointing toward the North Pole and Santa’s workshop.

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