Netanyahu's Christmas Gaffe: Blessing Christians for Serving in 'Jewish' Army

Prime Minister commends Christian citizens for defending country, stops in the nick of time from uttering 'Jewish' state; Peres, in his own Christmas message, urges peace.

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Haaretz
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Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his holiday blessings to the Christian citizens of Israel on Tuesday, in which he stressed the importance of the community's contribution to the Israel Defense Forces – accidentally stopping just short of uttering the word "Jewish" state.

The video, released on the prime minister's official channel, was widely distributed to Christian communities around the country. Calling them "loyal citizens", Netanyahu commended the efforts of those active in recruiting Christians citizens to serve in the army.

The prime minister stopped himself in the nick of time from saying the word "Jewish" and instead quickly said "the state and our society."

President Shimon Peres issued his own holiday blessings, wishing the Christian community a Merry Christmas accompanying a youth choir with a rendition of Jingle Bells.

"It is my pleasure to bring you the greetings of the whole people of Israel, a holiday for one religion is a holiday for the whole county," Peres said. "As a state, we are responsible for your safety, freedom and holy sites and for your feeling as free and equal citizens that carry with them the hope that unites us for peace and a better world.

"The Lord is doing what he can but we must do what we need to do, to follow his wish and our destiny, to live in peace. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year."

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