Stain a soap failed to remove
Sthose responsible for the script realised that this was the case.
This episode (available on BBC iPlayer) features a school nativity play. Two children take on the roles of Joseph and his wife, the very heavily pregnant Mary, trying to find somewhere to stay in Bethlehem. According to the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, and to the embellishments of various apocryphal texts, they were apparently refused admission to an inn, and had to make do with a stable, wherein Mary gave birth. But this was not the version retold in EastEnders. In the EastEnders version, Joseph and Mary are refused admission to various hostelries because of their religion. The B&B that eventually admits them is apparently run by an adherent of Islam (also played by a child, a young boy), and Joseph proudly announces to his wife, to the school audience and of course the viewing public that they are able to stay there because (and I quote) “Islam welcomes all faiths.”
From an historical point of view this version of events is total nonsense. It’s also dangerous nonsense. Although the EastEnders nativity play makes no mention of the fact, Joseph and Mary, the birth parents of Jesus, were Jewish. Scholars whom I have consulted agree that, even if the nativity as told in the Gospels is – broadly speaking – true, the couple were certainly not refused admission to any inn on religious grounds. Remember that at the time of the nativity Christianity did not yet exist, nor (more to the point) did Islam, the origins of which date from over six hundred years later.
“Why are you making such a fuss?” I can hear some of you say. “Why stir the pot?” Because, dear friends, the messages of the TV soaps have a habit of draining deep into popular culture and they spread, thereby, into society’s collective memory. Whoever was responsible for the ludicrous nativity storyline broadcast on December 24 was trying to fool us. This piece of utterly false propaganda needs to be exposed.
Mary and Joseph were Jewish. So was their son, Jesus. The towns from which and to which they journeyed (Nazareth and Bethlehem) were Jewish. So was Jerusalem.
For some time, the Palestinian Arab leadership has being doing its best to deny that there ever was any link between Jerusalem and the Jewish people. But the historical record says otherwise.
In former times, Muslim scholars are even on record as declaring that both Jewish Temples stood at the very spot whereon the al-Aqsa mosque was subsequently constructed. “The place belonged to the whole community of the children of Israel,” wrote the 15th-century Egyptian imam Jalal-Addin (in his History of the Temple of Jerusalem), “every one of whom had a right in it.”
EastEnders is a work of fiction. In works of fiction we must all expect and permit a degree of dramatic licence. But it seems to me that, in its 24 December reconstruction of a school nativity play, EastEnders has abused this licence.
An apology is called for.
The BBC’s dangerous propaganda needs to be exposed