Ambassadör Ilan Ben-Dov kommenterar Margot Wallströms anförande i riksdagen i samband med utrikesdebatten förra veckan. Utrikesministern kommenterade bland annat religionsfrihet i Israel:

Last week, during the Foreign Policy debate in Parliament, Foreign Minister Margot Wallström criticized Israel among other things with reference to alleged lack of religious freedom.

In this respect, the following has to be stated in the clearest possible manner: never before in the last 2000 years did any place in the Middle East enjoy religious freedom greater than that upheld and guaranteed by the State of Israel for all faithful irrespective of their faith.

All religions in Israel – Jews, Muslims, Christian, Druze, Circassians and Bahai as well as other creeds – enjoy full religions freedom without any conditions, limitations or restrictions as laid down in Israel’s Declaration of Independence:

“The State of Israel…will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion…it will guarantee freedom of religion…it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions”.

The Swedish Theological Institute in Jerusalem which represents the Church of Sweden – one of the most hostile and anti-Israel of religious organizations – enjoys the full freedom to work with no limitations in Jerusalem, the capital city of the Jewish state. This is a clear, obvious, indisputable manifestation of a pluralistic democracy – namely to be open and tolerant towards the other, the ones who are against you.

In this respect, blaming Israel for curtailing religious freedom is a blatant distortion of reality.

133 000 Swedes, that have visited Israel in 2018, can attest to the open and pluralistic character of its society.

It is saddening that people who claim to fight anti-Semitism try to taint the State of Israel while distorting realities on the ground.

Ilan Ben-Dov
Israels ambassadör i Stockholm

Publicerad på ambassadens hemsida 21 februari 2019

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