Unlike other countries in the Middle East, where Christian communities are shrinking and many of them are in danger, in Israel there is a strong and growing Christian community that participates fully in the life of the country, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a taped Christmas greeting on Monday.
“Israel is proud of its record of religious tolerance and pluralism, and Israel will continue to protect freedom of religion for all,” Netanyahu said. “And we will continue to safeguard places of Christian worship throughout our country.”
Bet you didn’t realize this nice statement reflected the “rightist-evangelical anti-Muslim wing of the Republican Party.”
In related news, via The Telegraph, Christianity ‘close to extinction’ in Middle East:
Christianity faces being wiped out of the “biblical heartlands” in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report.
The study warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group.
And it claims politicians have been “blind” to the extent of violence faced by Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, it says, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”.
It warns that converts from Islam face being killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Iran and risk severe legal penalties in other countries across the Middle East.
The report, by the think tank Civitas, says: “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree.
“A far less widely grasped fact is that Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers.” …
The report, entitled Christianophobia, highlights a fear among oppressive regimes that Christianity is a “Western creed” which can be used to undermine them.
State hostility towards Christianity is particularly rife in China, where more Christians are imprisoned than in any other country in the world, according to the report.
Sounds like this would be the perfect time for another press release from the Presbyterian Church condeming Israel. Oh, wait.