Christian leaders in the Holy Land are urging their constituents to get involved in Israel’s upcoming national elections. And the call is being answered, with some going so far as to become candidates for Knesset themselves.
The Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land under Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal issued a statement this week encouraging local Christians to help improve the situation and make a positive impact on the Middle East conflict by exercising their right to vote in Israel.
Noting that they are “deeply concerned about justice, peace, and equality in this country,” the Catholic leadership said that “in order to progress towards these aims, we call upon the voters to go out and vote in the upcoming elections.”
The desire to make a difference at the ballot box is probably even greater among Orthodox streams of Christianity, which make up the bulk of a new movement seeking greater integration with Israeli Jewish society.
One of the leaders of this movement, Shadi Khalloul, has even become a candidate for Knesset with the Yisrael Beiteinu Party.
Explaining his decision, Khalloul told The Jerusalem Post, “Christians see themselves as part of this state. They want to live here, and they want the people speaking in their name to improve their situation here. As Christians, we don’t have any other state.”
Khalloul admonished local Christians to resist traditional tendencies to vote for Arab political parties, which do little but provoke conflict with their Jewish countrymen.
“Christians don’t want their representatives to incite against the state all the time, to undermine the state, to curse the state that protects them,” he explained.
“The only party which has free Christian representation that can deal with the tough problems and the needs of Christians in different fields is Yisrael Beiteinu, because Shadi Khalloul is there and he has worked all his life for strengthening the cooperation with the State of Israel and the Jews. This is what I will do, God willing, and with the help of Jesus the Messiah,” he concluded with a bit of electioneering.
Israel Today has reported on the activities of and interviewed Shadi Khalloul numerous times in the past, in particular regarding his leading role in last year’s successful campaign to have Israel officially recognize local Christians as Arameans, rather than Arabs.