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Bethlehem, Palestine & Natal Brazil 1999.
A panel by the artist Dorian Gray Caldas, decorates the entrance to the Piramide Palace Hotel in Natal, Brazil, to commemorate the fraternal ties between the two cities.
The City of Natal in northern Brazil was founded on Christmas Day, December 25, 1599. Natal in portuguese means Christmas, and it was on that special day in 1599 that the portuguese colonists decided that the most appropriate name for their new city would be Natal, in honour of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.
Giries Elali, having immigrated with his family from Bethlehem to Brazil in 1964, never forgot his birthplace and native land. Other than writing a book in 1991 "Bethlehem the immortal City", he worked hard to fraternize both cities. After long negotiations with the Municipalities of Bethlehem and Natal, he succeeded in bringing the two cities officially together. The official documentation was signed by the then Mayor of Bethlehem Hanna Nasser, and the Mayor of Natal Wilma de Faria on December 9, 1999.
This plaque commemorates this historical event, accomplished by the tireless efforts of an outstanding Bethlehemite.