Get PJ Media on your Apple

PJM Lifestyle

Israel’s Embattled Pro-Israel Priest

An advocate of Christian army service ignites fierce opposition.

by
P. David Hornik

Bio

July 7, 2013 - 11:00 am
Page 1 of 4  Next ->   View as Single Page

PJ-embattled priest-1

There’s a movement afoot to encourage Israeli Christian Arabs to serve in the Israeli army. The movement is led by a group called The Forum for Drafting the Christian Community. It includes Christian army officers, soldiers, and businessmen.

At the helm of this forum stands Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest in the town of Yafia near Nazareth. For his efforts, though, Father Nadaf is under fierce fire from elements of Israel’s Christian Arab community and its Arab community in general.

Arabs are exempt from army service in Israel except for the small, non-Muslim, Arabic-speaking Druze and Circassian communities. Some Bedouin Muslims also volunteer to serve. Israel’s Christian Arab community numbers about 130,000, or about 10 percent of the larger Arab community that is mostly Muslim. For decades, Israel’s Christian Arabs more or less subscribed to the Muslim Arabs’ ambivalent-to-hostile attitude toward Israel as a state.

But those were the days of pan-Arabism, an ideology that sought to unite the Middle East’s diverse Arab communities under a common, secular, Arabic-speaking banner. Eventually pan-Arabism succumbed to today’s Islamic trend — and one result has been severe persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East and their massive flight from Muslim-majority countries.

That leaves Israel’s Christian Arab community as the only one in the region that is actually growing. Father Nadaf, in recent statements to Israeli media (see reports here and here), shows an appreciation of the reality:

We want young Christians to become totally integrated into Israeli society, which also entails shouldering their fair share of the burden of national service. Our future as a Christian minority is intertwined with that of the State of Israel.… We feel secure in Israel…. Most of the young Christians here view Israel as their country.

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (14)
All Comments   (14)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
"Last month a newly released poll found 54.7 percent of Israeli Arabs saying they’d prefer to live in Israel than in any other country. Yet, at the same time, 58.6 percent were favorably disposed toward a third intifada by the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and 58.2 percent toward an intifada by the Israeli Arabs themselves."

This reminds me of those polls of Egyptians shortly after the Muslim Brotherhood came to power showing that the majority of Egyptians showed support for religious freedom AND the execution of Islamic apostates.

Why do our leaders continue to think we are dealing with people who think anything like us?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here is where you need the Wisdom of Solomon. What is the point? To make Israel the light of the nations . The opportunity ro unite the three Abraham faiths in Israel has never been greater than now.
As far as Hasidic Jews you must leave them alone to practice distance from Babylon as they remain faithful waiting for the messiah
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haredi_Judaism
Christians have their Messiah and Islam has their prophet as well as Jesus and Mary and are eager to embrace the pleasures of Babylon and attempt to resist the sins of Babylon but the temptations are great for their children. Military service give their children the structure to resist temptations so they can have blessed lives.
Then I will marry the great harlot becoming my 5th wife and slay her harlot master or at least get him to run away with tail between his legs not in a day but in time so I could first have my honey moon with my 5 wives and the walls of the great city will fall before my eyes , God willing
One has to sound alittle crazy to take on such a mission for God that drove wise King Solomon wacko with so many wives and his concubines must have been an escape to strange freedom to get away from hen picking wives
But my wives unlike his serve in to perfection
more latter as i enter the great city today proclaiming myself as husband of the Babylon harlot I tame her with Divine Love as she enters willingly into this marirage contract I believe
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Christian Arabs of the older generation hate moslems. They just cannot admit it publicly. They fear their kids will be shunned, ridiculed, and even murdered for serving in the IDF
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Arabs are exempt from army service in Israel except for the small, non-Muslim, Arabic-speaking Druze and Circassian communities. "

Actually the Circassians are non-Arab Muslims. They are originally Caucasian and have their own language and distinct culture. The Druze are indeed non-Muslim Arabs. Or non-Arab Muslims. Or any other combination of the two - depends on who you're talking to and who they're talking to and where they live... Some times and places it's better to appear Muslim and at other times and places it's better to appear non-Muslim - that's how you survive a thousand years as a tiny minority in the Middle East. Anyway their religion is related to Islam, but is extremely different from it and not inherently offensive to other religions (though power struggles and retribution for offense might occur every now and then). According to their faith a Druze should be loyal to the country he lives in, so while originally they too were exempt from military service, in the 50s their leadership asked for Druze men to be drafted like the Jews.

The regional Christians are no doubt the biggest suckers of the Middle East. They thought Pan-Arabism will save them, but even after its utter failure, as they are driven out of their ancient homelands by their Muslim Arab "brethren", they still focus so much hatred on Israel. Pathetic. Ironically most Christians in the Middle East are not even Arabs, but Copts, Assyrians, Maronites etc. People talk about Jewish self-hatred, which is indeed a grave problem, but I've heard from a young Israeli Christian, who was indeed about to volunteer to the army, that some Christians support Hamas (!???). Even though Hamas has practically cleansed the Gaza Strip of Christians. Is that sane? What do they think will await them if Hamas ever succeeds in taking over Israel? Apparently to them the Arab cause overrides even their most basic instinct of self-preservation.

Of course, I assume there are many more Israeli Christians who support Israel than Christians who support Hamas, but indeed they are afraid to speak up for the reasons you mentioned in the article, so indeed I have no idea what are their numbers. And it's not just the Christians. Generally pro-Israel Arabs are afraid to speak up. A few do and usually suffer the consequences.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
You're right about the Circassians, an oversight on my part.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr Hornik your appraisal of father Nadaf is right but you miss the big picture of Israel slow and shaky identity construction.Israel is still very much a mosaic of identities confronting each other : look at the jewish majority rift between orthodox who despise the state, despise the army , but take the social allowances checks from the state , and the rest of the jewish population.The real problem is that as long as the jewish orthodox are dodging their obligations as citizens of the state, the others communities will not commit themselves to to the army nor to the State.The good example must come from the jewish majority where all citizens of all sex should serve either an army service or a civil service of the same length. Also note that here are serious manpower shortages in the israeli army.At the very moment of iranian existential threat towards Israel it is a deep shame to see that a large sector of the jewish population still clings on despising the state and the army.You should also write on that subject.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Orthodox Jews serve in the army and are devoted to Israel. You're talking about Haredic Jews, which Westerners usually call Ultra-Orthodox.

The Israeli identity of the Jewish majority is not under "slow and shaky construction". The Haredim are a small minority and quite a few of them are not in reality as anti-Zionist as they presume to be theologically. Most of them don't serve in the army for now, though there's some political process going on right now to change that, and the noisy ones hold demonstrations and pull all kinds of crap, but there are many less noisy ones too that the media rarely mentions.

Outside the religious divide which does exist, much of the other divides are largely fabricated or exaggerated. I can go into details, but don't want to bore everyone.

In short, Israeli identity among Israeli Jews very much exists for a very long time. Foreigners who visit here can't tell the difference between the 'confronting identities', as you put it - we all seem the same to them, except the Haredim, of course. Business journals abroad, when trying to explain the Israeli technological success or advise people on doing business with Israelis, come up with a complete set of distinct Israeli characteristics, which are different from other people's distinct characteristics. You see, business publications, unlike academic wet dreams, focus on practical reality. They, and regular tourists, see the obvious, what's right in front of their eyes, rather than indulge themselves in outdated realities from decades ago, multi-culti delusions and wishful thinking, so they never describe Israeis as a 'mosaic of confronting identities'.

Anyway, I think your post was an attempt to divert attention from the subject of the above article and instead turn the focus of the discussion to an attack on Israeli Jews. A common tactic.

If the Arabs don't join the army it's not because of the Hearedim. It's because they identify with the enemies of Israel. The Haredic issue did not prevent the Druze and Circassians from asking to be drafted because that was never the issue. Most Druze and Circassians are not anti-Israel - that's the issue. If the Haredim will now be drafted like all other Jews it won't inspire most Muslim Arabs to volunteer because the Haredim are not the issue - the issue is them being anti-Israel. If more Christian Arabs now volunteer it has nothing to do with the Haredim setting an example. It has to do with the fact more Christians now realize that in Israel they can still have a future, and that Arab unity is a lie.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
The ultra-Orthodox are a big and separate subject. They should serve in the IDF, but I don't think that if they were to do so, the non-Jewish sectors would be impressed by it or influenced by it.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
The correct answer is a middle road. Conscription casts a wide net and infuses any military organization with a certain number of misfits, misfits of what ever sort, who have to be weeded out.
Weeding out misfits in combat is hard.
The other, intermediate, option is to actively recruit volunteers, thus growning the number of Christians in the services in a controlled manner. The voluteers, especially upon completion of service, creates a Christian Veteran community further enhancing the effort.
At some point conscription could work. I think a generation or two.
Finally, Jewish Israel needs to seriously consider efforts, subtle efforts, to create a Judeo-Christian view of themselves....God created both of us.

ta
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, if the goal is the destruction of Israel as a Jewish State, then de-segregation, radical egalitarianism, affirmative action, secularization, multiculturalism, diversity promotion, and demonization of "Jewish Supremacists" as hate filled bigoted oppressors who are benefactors of "Jewish Privilege" is the way to go. Just look at European Christian nation states and the Left and the minority groups...to see the strategy at work.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
May God bless and protect Father Nadaf.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
David, as we well know, the minority populations are indeed a thorn - and then some - in our sides. Not only that, but the Arab fifth column leadership (and in the Knesset too!) agitates to open rebellion, yet little is done to rein them in.
Talk about biting the hand that feeds them, but their animus is so deep, so visceral and it is non-quenchable.
This is precisely why it is impossible to live in harmony with those who seek Israel's undoing. The area of national/army service is indeed a volatile one and it comes from many sides. It is duly referenced herein and must finally be nipped in the bud - http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/05/22/the-inquisitr-interviews-adina-kutnicki-the-reality-of-life-for-an-israeli-patriot/

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is a remarkable story of Middle Eastern Christian life. I couldn't help but notice the Coptic Christian support for the Military takeover in Egypt. The future of Christians in the region has probably not been as dire since the days of the Roman persecution. I would mention the colosseum and large African members of the cat family, but that would be Islamophobic and we can't have that, And we wouldn't want to give them ideas in any case. .
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
View All