UPDATE: Israel Today was contacted by Christian leader Shadi Haloul to request that we break with mainstream media norms and stop referring to himself and other members of the community as "Arabs."
Haloul explained that if any ethnic label is to be applied to the indigenous Christians of Israel, "Arameans" is more suitable than "Arabs." Indeed, as Haloul and others have pointed out repeatedly, Christians were in the land long before the Arab Muslims invaded.
Haloul was previously interviewed by Israel Today and spoke of his effort to revive the Aramaic language and help give local Christians a new, or rather renewed identity separate from that of the Arab Muslims.
The 17-year-old son of Greek Orthodox Priest Gabriel Nadaf was beaten in Nazareth over the weekend, presumably as retribution for his father's work to encourage young Arabic-speaking Christians to join the Israeli army and become loyal citizens of the Jewish state.
The boy was hospitalized with head injuries.
Nadaf has received numerous death threats from local Muslims in the past. But the culprit in the severe beating of his son appears to be a supporter of the radical left-wing Arab Knesset party Hadash.
Nadaf has been the target of much outrage from Arab Muslim members of Israel's Knesset, who typically use their high position to deride and delegitimize the state that pays their generous salaries.
In response to the attack on his son, Nadaf told Israeli television that "while I am trying to further integrate our youth into Israeli society, extremists are trying to further divide Israeli society by inciting hatred against me."
The beating of the boy had crossed a red line, said Nadaf. "My wife won't leave the house, and my other son, just 15-years-old, refuses to go outside for fear he will also be injured."
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon met with Nadaf over the weekend and reiterated the Jewish state's gratitude for the brave stand taken by he and other Arabic-speaking Christians. Danon called on Israeli authorities to put an end to the incitement against Nadaf by Arab members of Knesset.
"From words have now come deeds," said Danon. "Father Nadaf and his family, as well as other Christians who want to serve in the IDF, have been made to live in fear."
In a previous interview with Israel Today, Nadaf said he had always just taken it for granted that one can not claim benefits offered by the state without also being willing to serve. He also pointed out that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians can fully practice their faith freely.
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