By David Lazarus The Knesset passed a bill this week designed to protect Arab Christians who enlist in the Israeli army. The law, which includes an extended prison sentence for anyone who tries to dissuade a Christian Arab from serving…
By Aryeh Savir
Tazpit News Agency
Last weekend, Father Gabriel Nadaf (39), a Greek Orthodox priest from Nazareth, challenged a boycott against him and attempted to enter the Church there to recite a prayer and light a candle. He was accompanied by Israeli Border Police officers and supporters, who came to ensure his safe passage into the church.
Nadaf was excommunicated by the Orthodox Church Council after he expressed his belief that Christian youth in Israel should fully integrate into Israeli society, serving in the IDF or in the National Service. Since then, he and others, like Father André Alamiya, have been the target of virulent attacks from the opponents to this idea. For example, Father Alamiya’s tires were slashed last weekend, and a rag saturated with blood was placed at his doorstep in Nazareth.
Father Nadaf believes Israel serves as an anchor for its Christian minority and cares for its security, and from this he derives his commitment towards Israel. Since his excommunication from the Council, which is headed by Dr. Azmi Hakim, a member of the Israeli Communist party, he has been forced to move around with bodyguards. According to Nadaf, a coalition of Arab nationalists, Islamists and Arab communists have convened against him and his followers, and are currently waging an aggressive campaign in local and international media, as well as in social media and on YouTube. In one YouTube clip, Nadaf is dubbed “a Zionist agent, a traitor, insane, who pursues money and tries to enlist the youth in the army of occupation”.
Senior clerics in Greece have told the state in no uncertain terms that vigilance is required to prevent the antichrist from making a manifestation on new ID cards to be issued next year. The authorities must ensure that the cards contain no mention of the number 666, which in Greek Orthodox tradition is associated with the antichrist, the Church of Greece said in a statement.
“In no way should the ‘citizen card’ contain the number 666, either in visible or invisible manner,” the Holy Synod, governing council of the Church of Greece, said after a meeting between canon scholars, legal experts, computer specialists and government officials.
“The Church is obliged to protect personal freedom and defend the integrity of the faith,” the Holy Synod added.
State planners have pledged to take the observation on board, it said.
The new cards are to be finalised early next year.
In a lengthy declaration labeled as a message of “faith, hope and love,” dozens of Arab Christian leaders from various churches represented in the region denounced Israel as the main obstacle to peace and rejected the validity of the biblical link between the Jews and the land.