President Shimon Peres visited St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church in Jaffa on Thursday, extending Christmas greetings to Christian communities in Israel and around the world.
"I hope that Christmas will bring with it tidings of peace in the Middle East and throughout the entire world," Peres stated.
Addressing turmoil in the Middle East, Peres said, "We are currently experiencing changes that have yet to reach their hoped-for fruition. We must do everything in our power to bring about change for the better, an enlightened world, and a world of peace and understanding. All religious leaders must preach, and advance toward, peace and the prevention of war."
The president added: "The State of Israel will continue to protect the holy places of all faiths, be they mosques, churches or synagogues, so that all believers will feel free to worship, believe and uphold their faith at their holy places."