Father Gabriel Naddaf, Israeli Greek Orthodox Priest: Christians in the Middle East
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: About how many Christians are there in Israel, and where do most of them live?
Father Gabriel Naddaf is an Israeli priest of the Greek Orthodox Church, and an advocate for Christians in the Middle East. He has been a judge in his community’s religious courts and a spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
Father Naddaf believes that the Christian community should integrate more into mainstream Israeli society. He is in favor of recruiting Arabic-speaking Christians into the army, police and national service. On August 5, 2013, he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who ordered the establishment of a joint forum with participation of the government and the Christian community in order to promote the recruitment of Christians into the IDF and national service, and their integration into national life.
Father Naddaf has received the support of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, members of the Knesset, and other officials for his steadfastness and unwavering support for encouraging young Christians to integrate into the general community in Israel.
His activities and the work done by the Christian IDF forum have brought the recruitment of hundreds of Arabic-speaking Christians into the military service and, especially, the national service, in spite of the threats he has received and the boycott campaign waged against him by Arab leaders in Israel.
Father Naddaf was in Madrid recently to participate in a ceremony organized by the Jewish Community of Madrid to show their support and solidarity with the Christians of the Middle East and Africa. He spoke with us about the Christian community in Israel, and their dire situation in the rest of the Middle East.