Hooray!, Israel formally recognizes Israeli Christians as Arameans and not Christian Arabs, as they antedated the great waver of Islamic conquest that swept the region 1,400 years ago. Yet they survived as a distinct religious and linguistic minority. This is a credit to Father Gabriel Naddaf, a Greek Orthodox Priest of Nazareth and current and former IDF Christian serving officers and enlisted personnel.
Financial Spots noted the change in Israel’s Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) in this brief article, “Israeli Christians Officially Recognized as Arameans, Not Arabs;”
Earlier this year, Israel took the first step in recognizing the nation’s Christians as an independent minority. Now, local Israeli Christians can register as a distinct ethnicity, as well. Lumped together with the Arab population for centuries, Israel’s Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) has been instructed to now recognize the bulk of the country’s Christians as Aramaeans, the actual ethnicity of most of the region’s Christians prior to the Arab Muslim conquest. “The existence of the Aramean nationality is clear and obvious,” wrote Interior Minister Gideon Saar in his official directive to the PIBA. Saar noted that local Aramean Christians have a distinct “historical heritage, religion, culture, descent and language” - all the conditions necessary to be recognized as a national or ethnic group. The change in the national registry will be by request for those Christians born into Christian families or clans and who can speak Aramaic.
Father Gabriel Naddaf with Arameans, Israeli Christians
In an Iconoclast post about IDF Christian personnel celebrating Christmas in December 2015, we wrote:
Father Gabrief Naddaf, a Greek Orthodox Priest from Nazareth refers to the 165,000 Arab Christians in Israel as Israeli Christians. We have followed his Zionist efforts urging Christians in Israel to volunteer for the IDF. He is the head of the The Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum. When founded in 2012 there were 40 Christian volunteers in the IDF. There years on there are now over 102. This past Monday he met with IDF Christian volunteers at a Forum sponsored Christmas party. Naddaf spoke at the UN Human Rights Council in September 2014 on behalf of UN Watch telling this questionable UN body dominated by Organization of Islamic Country members that “Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians are Safe.” In fact it is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population is growing and has full rights of citizenship. As noted in this Breaking Israel News report:
While Christians are often persecuted for their religious beliefs in the Middle East, to the point of kidnapping and wholesale murder in the case of the Islamic State, Israel’s Christian population is free to worship as it wishes. It is also one of the best-educated populations in the country.
Kol hakavod to Father Gabriel Naddaf and Israel Christian now officially Arameans.