Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks at a news conference with U.S. President Barack Obama in Jerusalem, March 20, 2013.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he stands with Christians in Iran.
“We stand with you, brothers and sisters,” he said. “The world stands with you.”
The supportive statement comes after Iran’s foreign minister tweeted a “hypocritical” tweet days before Christmas.
“A very happy and peaceful Christmas to all. May Christ’s universal message of peace be embraced in the coming year,” he said.
Netanyahu says, however, that the Christmas greeting is hypocritical because Iran has been ranked as one of the world’s harshest persecutors of Christians.
“I wonder what the Christians jailed this month in Iran would think about that tweet,” he said in a taped message posted on his Facebook and Twitter pages.
In Iran, house churches are considered illegal and government security raid the churches regularly. Many of the worshippers and leaders are imprisoned, while bibles are confiscated.
“Imagine praying quietly in your home, surrounded by your family—and all of the sudden, armed thugs burst in and drag you away to prison. They torture you merely for practicing your Christian faith. Welcome to Iran. Saying ‘Merry Christmas’ while jailing Christians in your own country is the height of hypocrisy,” Netanyahu said.
This is not the first time that Netanyahu has brought awareness to the persecution of Christians in Iran.
In October, he told Christian journalists to investigate Iran’s treatment of Christians.
“Profile the brave Christian leaders jailed for practicing their faith. Sit with the families, the school teachers jailed for years merely for converting to Christianity… Call out the lies of President (Hassan) Rouhani, who promised in 2013 that all religions would ‘feel justice’ in Iran while so many Christians live there in constant terror,” he said.
“Some world leaders are willing to ignore this repression and seek to appease Iran, but I am not one of them,” Netanyahu added. “I think that how a country treats religious minorities is a very good indicator of how it will treat its fellow citizens and its neighbors.”