Israel’s largest daily circulation newspaper, Israel Hayom, carried in its weekend edition a moving story regarding the growing group of “Arab” Christians from northern Israel who are increasingly identifying with the Jewish state.
The newspaper was covering a conference where Greek Orthodox priest Father Gabriel Nadaf reiterated his position that “Jews and Christians are of the same covenant.”
Father Nadaf also again took issue with the term “Arab Christian,” noting that Christians were present in the land long before the Arab Muslim conquest. “We are not Arabs,” he said. “We are simply Christians who speak Arabic.”
The priest and those siding with him have faced fierce opposition even from within their own communities, and have received many death threats. Nevertheless, as Father Nadaf noted, “we have broken through the fear barrier,” and many more “Arab” Christians will now start taking a stand for Israel.
Also speaking at the conference were retired IDF officer Bashara Shlayan, who recently formed a Christian political party in Nazareth, and Shadi Haloul, who represents the Christian Maronite community in Israel. (Israel Today interviewed Haloul in our latest magazine issue - CLICK HERE to read it.)
These brave Christians have been at this now for a while, and Israel Today has covered their activities on several occasions.
What is encouraging to see is that the mainstream Israeli press is really starting to take notice and spread the word to average Israeli Jews that they have a new ally.
Israel Hayom’s conclusion was that Israelis “must embrace these courageous people. …We must help them, improve their circumstances and integrate them into our society. And, most important of all, we must guard their lives with ours.”