Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Christian Arabs say Israel only country worth fighting for

Israel And Stuff
July 3, 2013

So, what has Israel’s Muslim Arab Knesset members so upset?

Growing number of Christian Arab youth are joining the Israeli army, openly identifying with the Jewish state.

By Ryan Jones

Arab Christian residents of Nazareth who proudly serve in the Israeli army and encourage their children to do the same are coming under increasing attack, and Israel is starting to take notice and come to their aid.
Elinor Joseph, was born 1991 into a Christian family from the Arab village of Jish, is the first Arab woman ever to serve in a combat role in the I.D.F.
Elinor Joseph, was born 1991 into a Christian family from the Arab village of Jish, is the first Arab woman ever to serve in a combat role in the I.D.F. – Photo courtesy IDF Spokesperson Office.
For a number of years now, a group of Nazareth Christians who are officers in the Israeli army have been actively recruiting young local Arabs to follow in their footsteps and serve the Jewish state.
Though not an officer himself, one of the main figures in this movement is Greek Orthodox cleric Father Gabriel Nadaf. Late last month, the Greek Orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem, acting on demands from Muslim Arab members of Israel’s Knesset, threatened to fire Nadaf.
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Interior Minister Gideon Saar immediately called the priest to convey their support and offer their assistance.
On Wednesday, Israel’s Attorney General’s Office announced that it had opened an investigation into the activities of the Muslim Knesset members who pushed for Nadaf’s dismissal.
Hanin Zoabi Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Arab MK Hanin Zoabi – Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
“It’s unacceptable that Arab MKs should think that they can be Trojan horses in the Knesset and send letters of incitement against a Christian priest who encourages young Christians to enlist in the IDF,” said Likud MK Miri Regev during a Knesset Interior Committee hearing on the matter.
Many Arab politicians vehemently oppose Arab participation in Israeli national service for fear it will legitimize the existence of the Jewish state (which pays their paychecks).
Meanwhile, the pro-Israel Arab Christians of Nazareth are becoming increasingly bold in their stance, and even dared to hold a public gathering late last month to toast the achievements of their new forum whose goal is convincing more young Arabs to join the army, as reported by Israel’s Ma’ariv newspaper.
“We chose to hold the conference to demonstrate that nothing will deter us,” forum spokesman Moran Khaloul told the newspaper. “We don’t live in Syria, where Christians are not allowed to speak…or in Iraq, where churches are bombed. We live in a Jewish state, which is democratic and free. As Israeli Christians we see ourselves as part of this state and not as part of those who oppose it.”
Khaloul said that until now, many in the community had been too afraid to speak out, but that was going to change. Many are now even referring to themselves openly as “Israeli Christians.”


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