While Middle East Muslim leaders were gathered at UN Headquarters in New York late last month to lambast Israel, a local Christian cleric was addressing a different UN forum - the Human Rights Committee in Geneva - to set the record straight on freedom for minorities in the Jewish state.
“Every five minutes, a Christian is killed in the Middle East because of his faith,” noted Father Gabriel Naddaf before a largely unsympathetic audience.
The UN Human Rights Committee has made a habit out of focusing disproportionate attention on any and all claims of misbehavior by Israel, all in service to its favorite pet project, the Palestinian nationalist cause.
But Father Naddaf, who had been invited to speak by “The Face of Israel” organization, was not deterred, declaring boldly that “Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christians are safe.”
The cleric from Nazareth continued by insisting that “leaders of people, seekers of peace, end your witch hunt of the only free country in the region.”
Father Naddaf pointed out the hypocrisy of those who claim to champion the weak and dispossessed, and then turn around and defame Israel.
“It is time the world woke up to the fact that those who want to destroy the Jewish state are signing the death warrant on the last free Christians in the Holy Land,” he said, reminding those gathered that Christians and other minorities across the Middle East are today living under Muslim persecution unprecedented in modern times.
Father Naddaf is the spiritual leader of a growing movement in Israel that encourages young Christians to voluntarily join the Israeli army as a first step toward fully integrating into Israeli society.
The Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum sees national service as a duty for all who would claim the rights of citizens, and increasingly recognizes the strong historical and spiritual ties between the region’s indigenous Christian population and the Jewish people.