Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu published this on his YouTube site on Christmas Eve:
“From Israel I wish Israel’s Christian community, and Christians everywhere, a very joyous Christmas and a happy New Year.
I am proud to say that Israel is one of the few countries in the Middle East, maybe the only country in the Middle East, where Christians are truly free to practice their faith openly, freely, to celebrate Christmas and other Christian holidays.
The state of Israel is a beacon of liberty in a Middle East plagued by oppression and extremism. Here everyone can practice their faith, because in Israel, religious freedom is sacred.
It is my fervent hope, my fervent prayer, that 2016 is marked by greater security and freedom for all Christians across the Middle East. May the coming year bring blessings of peace and prosperity for all humanity.
So on the behalf of the people of Israel, on behalf of the Israeli government, I wish all our Christian friends a very merry Christmas.
And also, I invite you – come to Israel! Thank you!”