It sometimes seems as if the UK media truly can’t help themselves. Not only do news sites fail to acknowledge the undeniable truth that Israel is the only state in the Middle East which fiercely protects the rights of their Christian population, but they also insist – every holiday season – on repeating false narratives suggesting that Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ’s birth, are hampered by ‘the occupation’.

However, some UK news sites go even further, and suggest that Israel is actually oppressing its Christian population.

One of the more egregious examples of this entirely erroneous claim can be found in the British tabloid Daily Express in a report published on Dec. 26th.

daily express

Remarkably, Israel is atop their list of worst places to be Christian this Christmas, ahead of Syria, Iraq, N. Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Gambia.

To see the absurdity of their decision to include Israel on the list at all, note how the worst persecution they could find ‘in Israel’ is Christians being told (by the Palestinian Authority, let’s remember) to “tone down their Christmas celebrations”.  In Syria and Iraq on the other hand, the next country on their list, Christians face ‘abduction, torture and murder’ and ethnic cleansing by ISIS.  Whilst 100s of thousands of Christians have been forced to flee ISIS-controlled territories in recent years, the indigenous Christian population in Israel has increased 300 percent since its founding.

In fact, quite tellingly, the Daily Express failed to note that the PA had to beef up security in Bethlehem, and ‘tone down celebrations’, due in part to intel indicating that Salafists affiliated with ISIS may launch an attack.

Contrary to the message conveyed in the Daily Express article, Christians are thriving in Israel – a country which represents a beacon of religious freedom in a region awash in intolerance and extremism.

(See important update to this post here.)