Attached photo credit: Avi Ohayon (GPO)
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, today (Sunday, 30 December 2018), in Rio de Janeiro, met with Brazilian Christian friends of Israel. During the event the post office of the Brazilian state of Amazonas launched a stamp (see attached) that had been prepared by Christian friends of Israel from Manaus in honor of 70 years of Israel's independence.
Following is an excerpt of Prime Minister Netanyahu's remarks:
"My wife Sara and I are delighted to be with you in Brazil.
We have no better friends in the world than the Evangelical community, and the Evangelical community has no better friend in the world than the State of Israel.
If you are a Christian in the Middle East, there’s only one place where you are safe. There’s only one place where the Christian community is growing, thriving, prospering. That’s in the State of Israel. Because everywhere else, if you’re a Christian, you have to be very careful, or you have to leave. Not in Israel. You are pour brothers and our sisters and we protect the rights of Christians as we protect the rights of all religions.
But this isn’t only a matter of justice, and it’s not only a matter of value. It’s a matter of the deepest sympathy in recognizing our common traditions, our common heritage.
Israel and Jerusalem are one. And Jerusalem, from the time of King David, 300 years before King Hezekiah, was the capital of our people, has remained the capital of our people, and will remain the united, eternal capital of the Jewish people for all time. You don’t need this reminder because you know our history, and you know our common roots.
Our histories are intertwined, our faith is intertwined, our values are intertwined. And so every time that we dig with a shovel in our land, we find ancient synagogues or ancient churches. And sometimes we don’t even have to dig.
And when you come to Israel today, you see a country that welcomes you as brothers and sisters. You see a country that values religious freedom. You see a country that is pride of our past and carries our values to the future. You see a country where the ideal was that every person is born in the Image of God. This is the original idea of equality, in the ancient world, thousands of years ago.
These are the values that produced our modern civilization. And they’re anchored in the faiths that we hold dear. These are also the faiths, the values that create the future. Israel is seizing the future. We now have an opportunity in Brazil to seize it together. President Bolsonaro says, 'We are brothers,' he says. We are brothers, and we are going to seize the future together.
You know that President Bolsonaro’s first name in Hebrew is Yair, which is also the name of our son. But Yair means something in Hebrew: He who brings light. And I think that we have now an opportunity together to bring a lot of light to the people of Brazil and the people of Israel. This is an alliance of brothers.
So I want to invite all of you next year in Jerusalem. I want to invite all of you to come to Israel, next year, it’s only two days away. We shall welcome you with all the love and warmth that we reserve for family. You are part of our family and we are part of yours.
I look forward to seeing you in Jerusalem, my brothers and my sisters."