Netanyahu Joins Trump's 'War on Christmas': Israel Is a Country That 'Says Merry Christmas'

The prime minister sends greetings to Israeli Christians and those celebrating around the world and offers to give guided tours to Christians coming for a visit

Issa Kassissieh rides a camel wearing a Santa Claus costume in Jerusalem's Old City, December 21, 2017.
AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a Christmas Eve video on Twitter, sending holiday wishes and making a point of stressing that Israel is a country that “says Merry Christmas.”

“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,” Netanyahu says in the video, which was filmed outdoors in chilly Jerusalem. “I’m proud that Israel is the country in which Christians 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.”

Netanyahu's Christmas message

The video was posted on Twitter, U.S. President Donald Trump’s social network of choice, and Netanyahu’s words were reflective of Trump’s insistence that under his watch, Americans could “say Merry Christmas again.” Trump proclaimed victory over what he and others in the right wing have characterized as the “War on Christmas” – a secularist “assault” to universalize the holiday season and downplay the holiday’s Christian meaning.

Netanyahu added a tourism sales pitch to his Christmas wishes, offering up his personal services as a tour guide to Christians who want to come visit Israel next Christmas or another time in the upcoming year. The Prime Minister said he’d personally take them to visit holy sites and walk “in the footsteps of Jesus and the origin of our Judeo-Christian heritage.”

Jerusalem's Santa spreads Christmas cheer...On a camel