Israel's top leader wished Christians around the world a Merry Christmas while noting that Israel is the land where it all began.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett posted his video greeting on social media. He said that Israel is an oasis of peace and tolerance for Christians in a region when they experience persecution.
Israel's Christian population is less than 2%.
Bennett's wishes extended as well to Christians abroad who comprise Israel's greatest segment of incoming tourists, particularly Evangelicals. With Israel's borders closed to foreigners at the moment, there are no pilgrims celebrating the holiday in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth which are usually teeming with tourists at this time of year.
Here is the full text of Bennett's greetings and video:
From the holy city of Jerusalem, I want to wish all Christians in Israel and across the world a Merry Christmas. It's here in this ancient land where our forefathers lived the stories we all read in the Bible. From the Galilee to the holy city of Jerusalem, right here.
You see the Land of Israel is the land of our common heritage, and it remains a beacon of religious freedom, tolerance and prosperity. In a region where Christians are routinely persecuted – there's only one place, one country that protects Christian life, where the Christian community is growing, thriving and prospering. And that's right here in the State of Israel.
We're brothers and sisters, and we're all united in our love for Jerusalem and our prayers for peace. So as you celebrate the holidays in Israel and around the world, I would like to send you all warm greetings from Jerusalem.
I also want to thank you for caring about us. We know that you're out there fighting for the State of Israel.
I'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.