Deri, Herzog promise religious freedom won’t be cramped by new government

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Appearing at an annual Christmas/New Years reception for Church leaders in Israel straight from the swearing-in of Israel’s 37th government, new Interior Minister Aryeh Deri promises that the government will protect religious freedom, and “will work for all citizens, regardless of religion, race, and sex.”

“As interior minister, I promise to continue helping the Arab community in Israel as I’ve done for decades,” he says at the President’s Residence event.

President Isaac Herzog says freedom of religion and the rights of minorities will always be protected in Israel. “This commitment goes beyond politics,” he says. “It goes to the very heart of who we are as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Herzog singles out Christian communities in Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza, saying, “All of these communities deserve to prosper and flourish, and to practice their faith fully and freely.”

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