Christmas in Bethlehem
Christmas in BethlehemIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The Foreign Ministry has launched a probe into the posting of a Facebook message by the Israel embassy in Ireland that said if Jesus and Mary were alive today in Bethlehem, they would probably be lynched by local Arabs.  

Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, "We all agree that it was improper, inappropriate." He said Tuesday that it wasn't clear who posted the message.

The post included a picture of Jesus and Mary accompanied by a message saying, “A thought for Christmas ... If Jesus and Mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians. Just a thought ...”

The embassy removed the message a few hours after it was posted and issued an apology, saying, "To whom it may concern, an image of Jesus and Mary with a derogatory comment about Palestinians was posted without the consent of the administrator of the Facebook page. We removed the post in question immediately. Apologies to anyone who may have been offended. Merry Christmas!”

In its rush to apologize, the Foreign Ministry made no mention of the fact that the Palestinian Authority's Minister of Prisoners said in November that Jesus was "the first Palestinian and the first [Islamic] martyr in history." 

Similar statements have been made in the past by PA officials and propagandists. These statements carry clear a anti-Semitic message, blaming "the Jews" for killing Jesus, who was himself a Jew, as were his disciples, while mendaciously claiming that Jesus was a "Palestinian" millennia before the term even existed. No denunciations, by Israel or other countries, are known to have been issued, and the PA certainly made no apologies.

The Foreign Ministry also did not mention the fact that Christians have been violently and sadistically persecuted in the PA, and that areas under PA control have seen massive emigration of Christians. In Bethlehem, the Christian population reportedly went from a 60 percent majority in 1990 to a 40 percent minority in 2000, to about 15 percent of the city's total population in 2008.

International human rights lawyer Justus Reid Weiner, who teaches at Hebrew University, told the Jerusalem Institute for Global Jewish Affairs that, under the PA-Fatah regime, Christian Arabs have been victims of frequent human rights abuses by Muslims.

"There are many examples of intimidation, beatings, land theft, firebombing of churches and other Christian institutions, denial of employment, economic boycotts, torture, kidnapping, forced marriage, sexual harassment, and extortion," he said. PA officials are directly responsible for many of the attacks, and some Muslims who have converted to Christianity have been murdered.