Jerusalem, 24 December 2001

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Greetings to the Christian Communities for the Holiday Season
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

On behalf of the Government of Israel, I extend warm greetings to the people of the Christian faith in Israel and worldwide at this holiday season.

In the spirit of our Declaration of Independence and as a democratic nation, the State of Israel has always championed religious freedom and guaranteed free access to its holy sites for members of all religions. The State of Israel always has – and always will – adhere to these principles.

The Government of Israel welcomes all those who have come here to celebrate Christmas. As the 4000 year-old People of the Book who have again returned to their homeland, we recognize the sanctity of this land to members of other religions, and will do everything in our power to ensure freedom of worship for all visitors to Israel.

During this festive season, symbolizing the yearning of the Christian world for peace, we hope that the new year will bring the victory of light and freedom, over the forces of darkness and terror, which threaten the free world today.

From Jerusalem, the eternal and united capital of the Jewish people, the city of peace, I pray that the coming year will be one of peace, prosperity and security for all nations the world over.