The unofficial Arab capital of Israel
and the largest city in the northern part of the country, Nazareth
has been most popularly associated with biblical history.
Described as a small agricultural town in the New Testament, Nazareth is often referred to as the cradle of Christianity, the hometown of Jesus. The oral narratives of Jesuszzz*z life propagated by early Christian missionaries are believed to have originated in Nazareth. In 2008, Nazareth was comprised of a largely Arab population of 65,000 with 31 percent Christians and 68 percent Muslims.
The inception of Christianity in this city was followed by the Byzantine period when Christians and Jews experienced curtailment of religious rights and often religious persecution. This treatment continued till Christian Crusaders invaded in 1099 AD.
The earliest inhabitants of Nazareth are believed to have been Canaanites from the Bronze Age followed by Israelites or Galilean Jews. Unlike other parts of the region there is no archaeological evidence of Assyrian, Persian or Roman rule.
Between the Islamic conquest of Palestine in 637 AD and the start of the first crusade Nazareth experienced consecutive periods of rule and influence by both religions.
Prior to Israelzzz*zs establishment, Nazareth was envisaged as part of an independent Arab state under the UN partition plan of 1947. Not a scene of heavy fighting or violence, the town put up little resistance during the 1948 war before it conceded to Israeli authorities on the grounds of protection and cessation of hostilities.
Due to its demography Nazareth’s political scene is dominated by leftist Arab political parties Maki
(formerly Hadash) and Ziad, both influenced by communist ideologies.