For more than two billions believers, Nazareth is the place it all began. It is the town where angel Gabriel revealed to Mary that she was carrying the son of God. The word for Christians in Hebrew is Notzrim, which means those who come from Nazareth. Jews, by the way, are called Yehudim in Hebrew, which means those who come from Yehuda (Judea). The Annunciation and the birth of Jesus changed, or at least affected, basic concepts in Western culture – from the perception of God, sin, the End of Days, and morals, to the arts and many other areas of life. But Nazareth is much more than the place of the Annunciation. There are different churches that belong to different denominations, each emphasizing its own particular features.
Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel with 70,000 inhabitants, 80 percent of whom are Muslim and 20 percent of whom are Christian. Arabs live in many of Israel’s cities – Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, and Haifa, for example, but Nazareth is totally Arab and functions as the political, cultural, and economic center of Israeli Arabs. The city is a good base for a day tour in the city and the Jezreel Valley (Megiddo and Mount Tabor) and a good place to sample Arab cuisine.