"A thought for Christmas... If Jesus and mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians. Just a thought..."
That was the message posted by an Israeli official to the Facebook page of the Israeli embassy in Ireland this week. It took only a matter of minutes for the post to raise such an outcry that the embassy was forced to delete it and issue an apology.
It is arguable if such an idea is correct or not, but the fact is that many people in Europe (and maybe the US) have forgotten the Jewish background of Jesus and his earthly family.
Everywhere you go in Europe, you are constantly confronted with two Jews - Jesus hanging on a cross and Mary with a baby in her arms. In restaurants, bars, and of course churches, there they are. And yet, a majority of Europeans no longer remembers that these two iconic figures are part of the Jewish people.
A year ago when Palestinians put on a provocative performance depicting Joseph, Mary and Jesus in front of an Israeli checkpoint near Bethlehem, nobody made a fuss about that. But the truth is that the family of Jesus is not a Palestinian family. They are a Jewish family.