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October 4, 2013 5:27 pm

“‹Christians in Israel Declare Renewed Identity and Bonds to Jewish State

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St. Gabriel's Greek Orthodox Church in Nazareth, Israel. Photo: Berthold Werner.

JNS.orgLeading Israeli Christians gathered at a Jerusalem conference to declare their own identity apart from Arab Muslims, and their support for Israel.

“We are not Arabs,” the group declared. “We are Christians who speak Arabic.”

Participants at the conference—titled “Israeli Christians: Breaking Free? The advent of an independent Christian voice in Israel”—said their history, culture, and heritage have been hijacked by Muslim Arabs in the region. They said they feel a closer affinity to Israel and the Jewish people, which their culture and religion originally derived from.

“The Christian public wants to integrate into Israeli society, against the wishes of its old leadership. There are those who keep pushing us to the margins, keeping us the victims nationalism that is not our own, and of a conflict that has nothing to do with us,” said Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox Priest and advocate for Christian enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces through the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum, Israel Hayom reported.

Another theme at the conference was a reassertion of Christian identity in the region. Speakers blamed the Arab Invasions of the 7th century for gradually erasing their identity. A former Israeli Christian paratrooper, Lt. (ret) Shaadi Khalloul, said he has lobbied the Israeli government to recognize his community as Aramaic Christians, referring to the majority language spoken by Christians and Jews prior to the 7th century Arab invasion. Aramaic is still spoken by isolated communities today. Khalloul calls his group “B’nei Keyama,” which means “allies” in Aramaic.

“The typical Christian student thinks that he belongs to the Arab people and the Islamic nation, instead of speaking to the people with whom he truly shares his roots—the Jewish people, whose origins are in the Land of Israel,” Khalloul said.

Israel has one of the few growing Middle East Christian communities. According to the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics, there were 158,000 Christians living in Israel in 2012, constituting 2 percent of the population, up from 154,000 in 2011.

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  • Father Gabriel Nadaf has become a beacon of logic, light and common sense among the hundreds of thousands of ARABIZED Christians in the Middle East & North Africa.

    It took the shock and trauma of being humiliated, terrorized and slaughtered by their so called Arab brothers and sisters in Islam for the Christians of Israel to wake up to the very simple TRUTH that Muhammadan Islam has been (from 1400 years ago) and continues to be their worst enemy sanctioned by the god of the Muslims Allah in hundreds of Quranic verses.

    Father Nadaf is reminding his fellow Christians that the Jews were NEVER the enemies or persecuters of Christianity (it was always the other way round.

    That the whole foundation of Christian theology is based entirely on the Hebrew Bible. That their mentor Jesus was a Jew; his mother and siblings were Jews; that all twelve apostles were Jews and the first church was entirely filled with Jews.

    In the whole Middle East and Asia, in Muslim countries that cover almost 11,000,000 square miles of the land surface of the Earth the only state that does not in any way shape or form discriminate against Christians is Israel of 8,000 sq miles

    That Islam is NOT only the enemy of the Jews and Christians but also of Hindus, Buddhists, Agnostics, Atheists, Pagans, etc comprising currently 80% of humanity that is NOT Muslim.

    I wish Father Nadaf a long and successful life

    IQ al Rassooli
    Kafir & Proud!

    • Adam

      Well said friend.

    • Miri

      Spot on!

  • Joseph Silver

    We need to strengthen these communities, and make them feel we want to work with them, for our mutual benefit.
    And one simple, relatively painless way, would be to change the name of Aramean Christians, presently registered as ‘Ashuri’ (Assyrian), to ‘Nozri Arama’i’ (Aramaic Christians).
    My personal thought is that ‘Ashuri’ was originally chosen because it didn’t look like ‘Aravi’ (Arab) at a quick glance (‘Arami’/Aravi’). I mean when glancing in a person’s Identity Card, for security reasons.
    With today’s computerization, that should not be a problem.
    But I want to reiterate: Christians can and should be our allies. And as moderate Moslems (and they also exist) see pro-Israeli Christians prospering and warmly welcomed to the Israeli ‘table’, they might also get on board, and anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish Moslems will be further marginalised and weakened.
    We have to start rewarding our friends and punishing our enemies; and make no mistake – all the anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli Moslems are enemies.