On Christmas Eve, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a tweet wishing Christians around the world a Merry Christmas, pointing out that Israel is a tolerant nation that protects the right of people from different faiths to worship at their holy shrines.
Netanyahu then made an extraordinary and warm offer from a head of state, offering to personally lead Christians next year on a tour of their most holy sites, from the Jesus boat in the Sea of Galilee in the north of Israel to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
It’s a pleasure for me on Christmas Eve to be here, standing in Jerusalem, it’s right behind me, the Holy City. I’m very proud to be the prime minister of Israel, a country that says “Merry Christmas” first to its Christian citizens, and to our Christian friends around the world, I’m proud that Israel is the country in which Christians can not only survive, but they thrive because we believe in this friendship among people, and we protect the rights of everyone to worship in the holy shrines behind me.
So now I have a proposition for all our Christian friends: I’m going to take next year, in Christmas, for those who come to Israel, I’m going to take a guided tour; in fact, I’ll be your guide, on this guided tour, and think of all the places you can walk. You can go to the Jesus boat in the Sea of Galilee, you can get to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre right behind me, any places that you’ll want to visit in the footsteps of Jesus, and the origin of our Judeo-Christian heritage. So, please come to Israel, next year in Jerusalem, and Merry Christmas to all of you.