Last year, on the same day the forest fires began ravaging the Carmel region of northern Israel, the Haifa municipality erected a Christmas tree sculpture comprised of over 5,000 recycled water bottles in honor of the Christian holiday. The tree, designed by Israeli artist Hadas Itzcovitch and her father Ernest Itzcovitch, is 38 feet tall and is lit using energy-efficient LED lights and is meant to raise awareness about environmental issues. The tree was erected once again in 2011, as Haifa expects an estimated 90,000 visitors this holiday season.
Haifa is the third largest city in Israel and is home to Muslims, Christians, Jews, Baha’i, and Druze. People of all backgrounds came together to collect bottles and contribute to the monument that now stands in the city center.
Yuval Ben-Ami at +972 Magazine points out that unlike the mayor of Nazareth Illit, Haifa’s mayor Yona Yahav placed this tree right at the crossroads between the Jewish and Arab neighborhoods (and perhaps even a bit further into the Jewish neighborhood).