JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished Christians in Israel and throughout the world a Merry Christmas.
In a videotaped message, Netanyahu noted that Christians throughout the Middle East are subject to persecution, except in Israel.
“Christian communities across the Middle East are experiencing a particularly difficult time. They’re experiencing violence, persecution and fear,” Netanyahu said.
“Here in Israel religious freedom is a sacred principle. Israel’s Christian citizens enjoy the full blessing of freedom and democracy. Their equal rights are enshrined in Israeli law,” he added.
Netanyahu called on Christians to focus on what unites them with the Jewish state. “Let us remember the common heritage and values that unite us in the face of extremism and hatred, which we will never accept,” he said.