File - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, center right, receives Hezbollah official Ibrahim Amin Sayyed in Bkirki, Friday, May 16, 2014. (The Daily Star/Maronite Patriarchate Bkerke, HO)
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From festive trees in the southern suburbs to a special message on Christmas Day, and even concerts by their boy scouts in Maronite churches, Hezbollah's outreach to Christians in Lebanon this year could hardly be more explicit.The Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, made up of Hezbollah MPs, released a statement on Christmas Day urging Christians to be optimistic during the season about the situation in Lebanon and the region.Kassir said Hezbollah's messaging was intended to point out that the danger of radicalism spilling over is one they share with the Christians.Hezbollah signed a memorandum of understanding with Aoun in 2006, one that offered it a quick path to an alliance with Lebanon's largest Christian community, though it has long tried to woo Christians in the south and the Bekaa Valley. Sami Nader, the director of the Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs, said Hezbollah is trying to portray itself to the Christians as the alternative to the chaos of ISIS.But Hezbollah ought to carry out the real sacrifices necessary to preserve the Lebanese state, he said, adding that the public outreach to the Christians during Christmas was closer to "cosmetic".
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