Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered to play tour guide to Christian pilgrims in a message relayed from Jerusalem, whose recognition as Israel’s capital by US President Donald Trump has split global Christian opinion.
A Christmas video on Twitter showed Netanyahu against the backdrop of East Jerusalem, an area laden with Jewish, Christian and Muslim shrines that Israel captured in a 1967 war and which Palestinians want as their own future capital.
In the message, titled “Merry Christmas from Jerusalem, the capital of Israel!” he described Israel as a haven for its 2 percent Christian minority because, he said, “We protect the rights of everyone to worship in the holy sites behind me.”
Netanyahu named several Christian pilgrimage sites in Israel – including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in East Jerusalem’s Old City – which would take visitors “in the footsteps of Jesus and the origin of our Judeo-Christian heritage.”
“For those of you who come to Israel, I’m going to take a guided tour. In fact, I’ll be your guide on this guided tour,” Netanyahu said. This would happen Christmas next year he said, without going into the logistics.